The two pages for Lawful Evil have kicked off the next crisis. It is about a slow reveal, the circumstances surrounding an event more than the event itself. I was tempted to have my protagonist force herself into the scene but it felt a little histrionic, so I went with delaying things a little bit. It’s not a dedicated, documentary but I try to avoid the lazy cliche, even if it does move things along a little faster. So long as you have and understand the obligatory scenes and conventions, then you have the freedom of how you get there.
I am pleased with my progress on the book. It will be the longest book to date, but it’s necessary and I always toss away 10% or so in the process of transcribing it from longhand to the computer.
I cut a chapter from Until She Sings. It was pleasant enough, but it didn’t progress anything, just sort of floated there so I took a few elements from it and put them into the following chapter instead, which gave it a lot more intensity without too much meandering. I was not expecting to cut anything but after contemplation, it felt the right thing to do. Your scenes should turn, a book is patterns of ink on paper or bytes on a screen but it should still move.
I am now 27 chapters into the edit, so roughly a third of the sixth draft which is good progress. I will be proceeding with it regularly because the sooner that I can pronounce this work finished, then I can start having conversations with my agent about selling it to a publisher. Doing the hard work now means that there is less work for a publisher to do, which makes it an easier sale for the both of us. There are so many routes to being published, some faster than others, but you have to find what one works for you. My hypothetical path has led to a higher level of craft for me, even though it has taken longer to get to the point where I can even contemplate my books in print.
I’ve added colour to some characters, shown a bit more of the history and personality without having it overwhelm the story. They’ve mostly been taken care of by actions, reactions and descriptions but it never hurts to expand on them so long as it does not derail the story or overshadow the protagonist.
Although that was how Until She Sings came about. So, previously I had bullied a supernatural urban fantasy romantic horror -comedy called Great Things through to two drafts. It had some good elements to it, a concept that I may return to some day but overall it didn’t really hang together. However, one character intrigued me and after a moment of clarity, rewrote the whole thing to feature about her. No supernatural or magical elements in it. It was a learning experience for me, that I’ve used to frame subsequent works and my approach to them.
I am currently reading A Headful of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. It’s unnerving and powerful, combining multiple viewpoints, textures and a healthy awareness of tropes and preconceptions. He makes explicit some of the gender politics as they relate to the ideas of demonic possession and does not forget to involve and disturb the reader as he does it. Each chapter is a masterpiece of unease and his voice is almost invisible, disappearing into the characters, as it should be.
Thank you for reading