I think I need to allow myself to give up on books if they aren't working.
This is the fifth full rewrite of Faerylander (over 40 versions). I've split it into 2 books (Zombielander), and I now think I've got something.
But what a slog.
I'm not sorry I did this. If nothing else, I've learned something from each rewrite. I'm getting a sense of structure and plot and characterization and process that I could only learn through trial and error.
But the truth is, I could have written at least two or three other books in the time it's taken me to try to fix one book.
I like the ideas behind this series, I like the characters, I like some of the writing. And I have the added incentive of having written a couple of later books in the series which don't need reworking. (Another lesson learned--don't write a book further along in the series if the first book isn't working...)
Anyway, one of the main rules I had when I came back to writing was to finish whatever I started. It is too easy to write 3 or 4 or 5 chapters and give up. Or give up at the first sign of trouble. I wanted to avoid that.
But I don't think I have to worry about my finishing books anymore. I've done a ton of them.
I have become a better writer by writing. I can become an even better writer by writing some more.
So going backward, trying to prop up books that didn't pass muster the first time, is foolish.
So that's another lesson learned.
1.) Don't do continuing stories. It's fine to do a series, as long as each book is a standalone. As much as I like Tuskers and The Vampire Evolution Trilogy, they were hard to do. I'd say that each continuing volume was twice as difficult as the volume before.
Whereas, writing a series with the same characters but that aren't dependent on the previous book to make sense is much much easier.
2.) By all means, rewrite. But once you've set the story down, don't go changing the basic plot. Adding and subtracting are okay. Changing words is okay. But moving chapters around, changing the timeline of events, that's a no no. The whole structure falls apart.
3.) If the book does fall into that trap or requires changing in that way, it is probably better to give up on it altogether and go on to the next thing.
The trap is that it always seems like a easy fix but never is. You can't take the jigsaw puzzle apart once it's been carved.
Like I said, I'm glad now that I managed to save Faerylander, to improve it, to make it into two books.
But damn, it was hard.
1 week ago