Wrote the last of the four new "snake" chapters for Snaked.
I like 3 out of 4 chapters a lot. I'm hoping to improve the 4th one through diligent rewriting.
This improved the book quite a bit, and it was already my favorite book. I think it's a "good" book. Will it be seen as such? Not necessarily, but that won't change my opinion of it. It's my first grown-up book in a way, where the writing and the plot and the character and the ideas and the pacing all came together.
I have my own private scale on books. This relates to how well I can write, not a comparison to anyone else. It's not like a * rating. It's just my estimation of how far I have to go and how far I've come.
So when I started, I had the idea that on a scale of 1 to 10, a 7 or better is an acceptable book. One that is worth reading, that a person could read and enjoy. I felt that Star Axe and Snowcastles were in the mid to high 6's, and I got somewhat lucky to get them published. Icetowers was better crafted and was nearly a 7.
I figured an 8 was a decent book, one that could get published, one that I could hang my hat on. (In reality, 6's are probably often published, and 8's are sometimes not...depending on bias, who you know, luck, timing, that sort of thing. That's why an internal scale is useful.)
A 9 is a really good book, the kind of book that a reader might put down and immediately recommend to friends and family, add to their library, maybe reread some day. Most books on the market are between 8's and 9's. I see this as an exponential scale, in a way. That is, each 1/10th of a point is harder to achieve. A 9.5 and above is a "Classic."
So most writers might aspire to writing at least one 9 in their career. Like I said, this is all intuitive and may be bullshit, but it's something to measure myself by.
So when I came back to writing 25 years later, I felt that a 7 was my starting point.
In reality, I found myself at a 5, struggling to do better. By the third new book, I felt I was back to a 7. And then I wrote Led to the Slaughter, which was a good solid 8.
In a way, by writing Led to the Slaughter I had already accomplished my goal. To finish a book, and to feel like it was a good read.
So I've hovered around an 8 ever since. Tuskers was also a good 8, others are maybe slightly below that, but in similar territory.
Anyway, I think Snaked is a big leap forward. An 8.5 or so. This is an internal scale, but it seems to be holding over time, even after I've written a couple more books which I like. Snaked is better.
It's kind of a cross between Jaws and Earthquake, heh.
2 days ago