Well this first novel (Beyond the Southerly Weepers) is almost wrapped. I have two to three more chapters in total, and then I’ll be leaving the post-apocalyptic land of Cal behind for fresh waters. After this last chapter all that remains are two battles at two different locations, a talking monster, a betrayal, and a desperate dash to save a loved one… and then it’s done. It’s a little scary to think about.
I’ve got the next story almost ready. It’s in its’ embryonic stage at the moment, but it involves an alien abduction and a drug kingpin (female lead), and a plot to destroy the Earth. I won’t give away too much, but I’ve had so much fun envisioning her world. With any luck I can pull it off even a tenth of what I can see in my head.
Anyway, for those of you who have finished a project or are in the midst of their debut project here’s why I’m choosing to let Beyond the Southerly Weepers sit for awhile at its’s wrap.
At the end of this writing processes I’ll have finished a draft, and there will be a lot of work left ahead of me. It’s like a mirage in the desert. You think you’re a dune away from salvation, but it’s just a trick of the heat, and in reality you’ve got a lot of work left to do (and you’re going to need more than a little luck and ingenuity) if you hope to survive. After the last word is written I’ll have to go back through and weed out erroneous strands that once meant something to me and now do not.
There are so many of those. There was a time when my story had Kiddow (the Protagonist’s daughter) start showing signs of psychic ability. That’s still a thing, but it was making my story very hard to write and develop at the pace I wanted, so I decided that when I get to the second book, which is much more focused on her and Thompson anyway, it might be a better subject for that story instead. So when the last word is written on this draft there are many such examples that I will have to find and rectify.
Once I’m done with that, I’ll solidify my final outline and start rewriting and revising key scenes. Then I’ll have to look at the bigger picture again and make sure it’s coherent, and then it’s time to start polishing and adding layers. I’ll have to back certain elements with better research and add a whole layer of dialogue that was a bastardized version of California-English. I let that go about midway through the book, but god was it fun.
This is an example of what I foresee, but there will be unforeseen things I ‘ll have to manage as well. These are tasks that, daunting as they may seem, do not frighten me half so much as leaving the project for a couple months. But my writing group (NCN) recommends a little distance when looking at revision.
They say if I take a step away, I’ll come back to the project with fresh eyes… which I think means I’ll be able to come back to the project a little more objective, and not be so attached to things that perhaps weigh down the story negatively. I can see that.
They recommend a six month period, but I’ll see if I can give them three. I have a break in the Fall while I’m waiting to transfer to my CSU, and I can’t imagine a better way to spend the semester than to spend it with Thompson and crew. That being the case I’ll still have time to take a step back for awhile. Much as it pains me I want to do what’s best for this story because I love these fucking characters so much that they truly deserve a better writer than I, so I’ll be damned if I don’t give them my best you know?
Thanks for reading,
PS-What sort of challenges are you facing in your project at the moment? Doesn’t have to be just writing. I’m a writer because that’s what I do a few times a week between work, school, and everything else… but I’d consider myself a storyteller fist. And storytelling is by no means limited to the written word, so when I say project I mean anything (writing or not). So talk to me!