This character rebuild is taking some strange turns. Now my character has decided to introduce mathematical formulae into a fantasy novel. Why not?
I really don’t know if people are going to like this, but I’m enjoying writing it. I’ve never worked so hard on anything before, and I live with the constant worry that everyone will hate it, but I’m hopeful. I’m like comedian just before going on stage, hoping the jokes are funny…
Up at 6.30am stripping out and rebuilding a character. I wasn’t happy with his motivations for doing things, as he’s ended up not only unlovable but inconsistent. This will take a few days and has entailed a major shift in one crucial scene, where this character rather than someone else becomes the protagonist.
Interestingly I have just looked back at my earlier six novels. The names under which I saved them reveal how much revision I did: when I’m part way through the first draft the title is [novel a] 0.x, where x is the percentage in tenths I am through the draft. Each major redraft gets a new whole number, while minor revisions get increases of a tenth or a hundredth. So if I’m doing a complete major plot and character edit I change the name from [novel a] 1.34, say, to [novel a] 2.0. Much the same as software developers use the name to tell us the development status of the program.
So this is the last number for each of my novels (the number under which they were submitted for publication after all edits, including the publisher’s):
Across The Face Of The World 3.0
In The Earth Abides The Flame 2.0
The Right Hand Of God 2.0
Path Of Revenge 2.1
Dark Heart 1.3
Beyond The Wall Of Time 1.5.
And, by contrast, here’s the latest novel:
Silent Sorrow 8.55.
I estimate I’ve done more revision on this novel than I did for my fist six put together. I guess I’m coming to realise there’s a reason why big, complicated fantasies take so long to write.
Ransom Riggs’ debut novel is great. Read it. Nothing creepier than spooky children. I bought it yesterday because I was interested to see how carefully the photographs were integrated into the story, and was totally taken in by the charm and drama of the narrative. The photographs are clues, adding to the atmosphere of the novel, but the story could have survived without them.
There’s a real difference between a story that lurches forward (or, more likely, sideways) in a series of and thens, and one that is propelled by a sequence of therefores. This is definitely a therefore novel, and the tension drives you on to the next section. It’s a quick read but an enjoyable one. Until we read the sequel and work out what it’s trying to say (if anything) we won’t know if it’s a substantial one.
Read this review if you need convincing. It’s great when you find a good book!
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