I don’t use this blog much anymore, and I know there’s maybe four people out there who will read this blog post about my everlasting struggle to write A Book.
Here’s where the book is currently.
I took a few months, starting in November 2016, to re-write book 1. I say book 1. I have always wanted this to be my Fantasy Series. Originally it was a trilogy. Now it is not. That’s because I took a woodcutter’s ax to book 1 and chopped it right in half. I added a POV character – the character who should’ve been the main character all along, really, and who fits like like a puzzle piece at the center of the story. I added an opening act that wasn’t there before; it lets me introduce the main cast and run a few little subplots that have ended up spiraling into not-that-bad elements of the larger plot.
I finished the re-write in early February (I think). Since then, I took a few weeks to let it sit and molder; I then re-read the book and left my extensive comment/highlights etc (Google play is wonderful for this. Export the book as a mobi from Scrivener, upload it to google books, leave my comments, bingo bango).
I had hoped to be Done with the rewrite by now, and querying agents/publishers etc. I am not that done. I haven’t gotten past the first quarter of the edits. And I definitely haven’t even given it to any of my friends (or my wife, for that matter) to help read and edit.
Part of that is because, like I said, I wrote what essentially became a whole new opening act (20,000 words in its own right). This is all rough stuff, compared to the relative polish on the rest of the story. And the POV character I introduced – her chapters are good, and fun, but they’re first drafts. Her last chapter in the book is strong, but her first few are flimsy as balsa wood. I’m rewriting them now, chipping the rough marble off the statue-in-progress.
I want very much to be a published author of science fiction and fantasy. And I am not necessarily happy with where I am as a writer – I keep plugging away on this novel/series, but I should really be writing some short stories to get my name in some mags, but if I’m working on those then I’m not working on the Novel/Series…and it’s frustrating, too, knowing that someday after continuing to work hard and practice writing I will be a better writer. I am decidedly my own worst enemy, when it comes to writing (and everything else, I guess).
(Part of this frustration/desperation/etc is external. I do not make much money, and while I’m not broke I also ain’t exactly rollin in the megabucks. I don’t have a ton of free time, either. So there’s always these sneering capitalist goblins on my shoulders, prodding me with truly reprehensible self-doubts – you’re not making any money off your writing, so why bother? Listen, I know that’s stupid, and I know those are unreasonable self-doubts, but it’s hard to block the goblins forever and always. And it’s not just the money thing – your writing isn’t revolutionary, it’s not life-changing, nobody will care when you do finally finish this thing, your time would be better spent on X Y or even Z! It’s all in there rattling around like beetle carcasses in a Home Depot bucket).
Anyway. This is all Part of the Process. Like the 76ers and the Democratic Socialists of America, I need to Trust the Process. At the end of the day, the blood/sweat/tears have made my writing better, have made my book better, have made my story better.
Oh, and I changed the title. The Song of Steel felt a little…empty? Generic? With our new main POV character comes a new title, all about her: The First Empress. Hmm, could still use some work. That’s okay. I’ve got time.