Thursday, October 28, 2010

First Thoughts

So I read the first two hundred pages last night.  First thoughts?  I'm pleasantly surprised by the quality of writing.  I don't remember using some of the phrasing I used, and some of it is really pretty good.  I like a lot of the lines I used.  I don't remember any off the top of my head, and I really don't have the arrogance to quote myself, but trust me =P I was surprised at how effective some of my phrasing is.  Also, even though the story was continually changing, I can see how easily I can change what came before it to fit with what was newly defined as the truth.  My rough draft reads like some really bad books I've read, honestly.  Which means two things - those people were good enough to get published, and so am I, and that it needs a lot of work.  Like, a lot of work.

The negatives?  My story is going by way too fast.  These characters are spilling their life stories after a few days of knowing each other, and while that makes sense in the context of my story, it just reads like it's going by way too fast.  I have eight main characters, a rather ambitious undertaking for a first time novelist, and now only that but each character has at least two chapters to themselves.  That number needs to be a lot higher to do the things I'm trying to do.  I need - and I hate to say it, because my fiance tells me this all the time - to iceberg it a little.  I just got to Gwenye's first chapter, and in her head she's telling us everything about how she feels, more of the past that I really need to reveal right then.  It's 200 pages in, sure, but it feels too soon.  Like, maybe a book too soon.  I don't know, is that a dangerous thought?  My book is currently just over 100k words, and I'm thinking, to make it effective, I need to double that.  There's probably a better way to do it, and I need to find it before I start editing.  I'm reading, and it feels like this is only an outline, the building blocks for a story that hasn't been written yet.  Maybe if I pick only a couple of characters this first time around, and save the others for the second and the third books?  I don't know if I need to just scrap this shifting point of view thing completely and start over. 

I'm still in the middle of reading the thing, so we'll see what I think of the next chapters and the ending, but for the first half I think it's going by way too fast.  It's the middle of the book, they're supposed to be on a journey that's going to take them at least a month, and they're only three or four days in by page 211.  That's a problem that needs to be fixed, and I'm really hoping it isn't by adding more words.  What is it, fantasy novels are very hard to sell over 120k?  I would believe it.  Maybe I just need to learn how to tell my story effectively within that restriction.  I'll try to finish it tonight, and I'll post my final thoughts about the story itself tomorrow, before I start actually going in and making changes. 

It's going to be a good time, folks!  I hope you're all having great mornings, and are about to have great afternoons.  See you tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Without TV, the Internet and even (God forbid)Sports Illustrated, your characters, immersed as they are in a common journey and spending every waking moment together are naturally going to confide in one another, tell each other their life stories to not only pass the time and ease the discomforts of their undertaking but to feel each other out to see if they can trust each other and depend on each other when the chips are down. People in perilous undertakings really do become a "band of brothers." You don't need 100,000 more words, you just need to show WHY they are doing what they are doing. If you make the dialogue plausible you strengthen your story. Right??