Draft One, Deeper Into the Murk
I’m not one of those people who can let a book draft sit for terribly long. Okay, wait, no. That’s a lie. I can let it sit plenty after I’ve edited the crap out of it, but otherwise it pokes at my consciousness for days until I fix what needs fixing. We can’t always be as disciplined as Stephen King, and if we all wrote the same the world would be boring (or… something?). When I finished Indigo & Ink, I was in the zone, so I decided to keep going.
The draft, at one point, was almost 125K, and that worried me. My goal was originally 120, and I’m hoping the very final one will be even a little slimmer. Words don’t matter so much as content, true, but a more slender book has a better chance. (And yes, 120K is slender to me!) At this moment it’s about 119,500 words, and is comprised of 50 chapters (I would say the chapters are that way because I planned them, but I didn’t; still, the symmetry nut in me is insanely glad to end in a nice, round number).
Editing this time around was quite curious. Because the book essentially has a novella folded into the mix (a bit like baking a good cake) I attacked it in two parts. I edited everyone else’s story, then went after Dev. Dev, as I’ve mentioned a thousand times, travels through eight hells in the course of the book. And I made a big choice. I changed all his hell chapters to the present tense. Most of the 5K that I lost was in those chapters, because they’re supposed to be terribly otherwordly and strange. I realized I couldn’t get Dev’s POV as close as the other characters, because the rules simply don’t apply. And for whatever reason, present tense can really add distance. I think it works. We’ll see what my beta readers have to say.
So, overall impressions now that the book is at this state:
Things I Love: I am very proud of the dialogue in this book. I only have a few characters who really go on at length, but the situation typically calls for it. The tension is palpable in the scenes they need to be, the language moves at a good pace, and it’s not burdened by too much description (which is an admitted problem of mine; I want to know the stitch pattern on the hem of a skirt, y’know?). I am also proud of the choice my heroine makes in the end. While the book has a sub-plot that verges on romance, I just couldn’t let it go too far. I let her do the talking.
Things I Loathed: Tropes, tropes, tropes. I’m writing fantasy. I am painfully aware. And there are some things I did because, well, it’s the genre. There’s one thing in particular that I’m still not entirely on board with but, well, it fits with the overall mythology of this world, and so… there it is. I can’t very well destroy all of the tropes (see the comment about the romance up there). Also, I feel that some of the political intrigue slacks a bit toward the end. But that’s probably because I had a hard time writing it. Also: the climax needs work, but I still need to think on it. We’ll see what the readers think.
Thinking About: The market. Worried that this isn’t terribly marketable. Telling myself it doesn’t matter, because if it’s written well someone will love it. Really, it’s a bit of epic fantasy mixed up with a dose of Lovecraft, a pinch of Dante, and a smattering of Mieville, set in an alternate world in a high Victorianesque setting. There are plenty of corsets, flying machines, and even some relations (if you know what I mean). All with a multi-POV narrative, and well, that squid I was talking about. (Doesn’t that sound like the perfect pitch paragraph…)
At any rate. What’s done is done. Now, it’s in the hands of those readers who will likely show me things I never noticed, and I can start the editing process all over again! 🙂