Sunday, June 2, 2013

Rewriting/Novel Expansion

I have a problem - an overabundance of imagination.  While this is usually a good thing for a writer, the problem comes from always re-writing my work.

Oh sure, I don't always go into the computer and hack out large parts of what's been done and then spend countless hours putting new pieces in, but that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about it.  I walk my dogs several miles four days a week, and I bike to work(5(+) miles) a couple of other days a week, and I use that time to run through ideas.  This is great when my imagination uses the time to come up with something new or expound upon ideas that aren't yet whole, but that's not the only place my mind goes.

I have two works right now that I'm thinking about seriously reworking.  The first is almost a given - Canidae.  Having re-looked at it, I now know, painfully, that it needs work.  I let the first part of the story - the part that's supposed to entice the reader with a mystery - be very shallow and give up the ghost far too easily.  Then, in the second part of the book, I got overly ambitious and went way too far in the consequences of that mystery.  I'm going to have to go back in and pare down the second half while figuring out how to expand the first half.  I'm not a big mystery reader, so that will be challenging.  Paring down the second half will also be difficult since I liked each part of the action, but it just seems a bit much.  Better to make it small enough that the reader doesn't say, "Okay, next Gate to Hell...oh wait, there are over 150 pages will the heroes screw this part up?"
(We only need one villain...the second one has to go)
My other idea is both painful and exciting.  The most recent novel I completed was challenging at times.  I was very proud to finish Schism, but I've started wondering if I cut it off too short.  The last act seems a little rushed, and I've been contemplating splitting it into two separate acts.  That way I can really show the consequences of a second civil war without rushing the conclusion where, hopefully, the country comes together.  The last act is over 40,000 words as it stands, and I'd probably add about 20,000-25,000 by splitting it and expanding on each idea.

The problem, of course, is it feels like going backwards and can be tough psychologically.  After finishing a novel, I like to feel like it's done.  However, I also know when it needs work, even when I'm loathe to admit it.  Sure, I could just publish it in the form it's in now, but that's the way an amateur does things, and if I want to be taken seriously as a professional, I have to act like a professional...even if that means polishing stuff I thought was done.

I haven't made a final decision on Schism, but I have on Canidae, and I'll start re-writing it down the road once I've started publishing my first few works.  I just need to let it breathe so I can put forward my best efforts.  I only hope I don't have too many more of these bursts of inspiration - they can really be taxing.

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