To the point of this post however, I really wanted to chat briefly about TSS. It's times like these that I can actually be grateful I'm not a published writer with a reputation, deadlines, and so on. I've been thinking a lot lately about my writing, to the point that I seem to have confused myself. I need to stop thinking about what I should be doing so much, and just write what I enjoy. Some of you might have seen my blog post describing my reasons in shelving The Sometimes Sword indefinitely, and while I still think my reasons are warranted, I think I may have jumped the gun in deciding to move on.
Those of you who have read any or all of TSS know that there is a lot left to do in order to make it a smooth, cohesive novel with a satisfying middle and ending. Part of the reason I felt like it was a waste to continue on with it was the the sheer amount of work that needed to be done to it, and not knowing where to start. It's overwhelming to look at a 400 page book and try to figure out what's wrong with it and how to fix it.
Like I said above, I am so glad I'm still an amateur, in that I can change my mind when I need to and go back and forth between books without a publisher telling me I'm a moron. As of right now, I am once again picking up The Sometimes Sword, but in a different way. Instead of trying to fix existing material, I will begin stripping away entire sections that aren't up to scratch, then rewriting them the way they need to be. This will include the entire ending, and the first few chapters of the book for sure. I intend to rebuild them from the ground up, altering the very framework of the book in the process. This will mean a lot of material going into cold storage, and even more brand new material added in its place.
First order of business is demolition. I am planning a time with my alpha readers to sit down for several solid hours and take the book apart. Becky and I did this to a small extent a few weeks ago, but I want to dive deeper and identify the good and bad. I want go over specific sections and determine what needs to be chucked out. If it ends up being whole chapters or the entire last half of the book in the trash, so be it. (If there are sections that have a good premise, but are written badly, we will create a framework in which to rewrite them.)
Next I want to begin arranging scenes that might be good (but in the wrong places) into a different story, establishing a recognizable arc, character and plot wise. I want to examine theme with everyone, and make some diagrams for fluctuations in character development and conflict. One of my main focuses in doing this will be to establish a defined moral, or why the story is significant. (Why should the reader care about this? What will they take away? etc.)
As far as my new book goes, I am still going to continue work on it as I can. I am excited by some of the ideas and characters I've created, but I can't let TSS die. I've worked too hard, and my readers have worked to hard to not meet my goal of submission by January. So going forward, I will have two projects, but TSS will take precedence.