A few weeks ago, feedback came back on the first novel – which, for the purposes of this blog, I’m calling ‘Moon’.
The reader’s comments were incredibly generous, detailed, and ended with (a paraphrase that doesn’t do justice to the feedback) “this ending doesn’t work, but you can fix that.” More encouragement and discussion has followed. I’m thrilled that the plot I envisioned seems to arc, instead of plummet. I’m very happy that the themes resonated. And now that I look at it, that ending wasn’t an ending – it was the start of something else. So I’ve severed those scenes that are no longer part of ‘Moon’s’ story and stashed them elsewhere. Nothing is ever lost.
And now I’ve plunged back in to revising. I’ve added several items of note to my proofreading rosary. Most surprisingly, a lack of affinity for the difference between further/farther when I’m writing quickly. Those folks who suffered my red pen when I was a copy editor back in the day are now cackling with glee.
I outlined several new endings and am working through these. One thing I’ve noticed already is how the different ending paths inform each other, and give me options for paths and choices (and paths not chosen) earlier in the novel. My main character in ‘Moon’ has to make a lot of decisions, at the end, very quickly. The choices she’s made early impact the later decisions. As they should. So, revising the end? Means revising everything. Game on.
Because I spent February and some of March working on a novel set in an entirely different world, I’ve gained a lot of distance on ‘Moon.’ I lack patience with its slower bits, and am easily annoyed by devices I set up that now, clearly, waste the reader’s time. So the added benefit of getting started on a new novel, after finishing the first pass of ‘Moon,’ was this: more clarity.
The rough part was pulling my brain, and my language, back to the technical details of ‘Moon,’ when ‘Arrow’, the second novel, uses a vastly different lexicon. That friction has, I think, its own benefits. I am much more aware of the lexicon of ‘Moon’ now too, and am able to pinpoint moments where I’ve mis-named something while I’m writing, rather than on edits. That’s pretty cool.
What have I learned in the process? So much. For starters, don’t break out new technologies and characters in the conclusion. Don’t forget to check for the smallest of dangling plot threads. Draw on your themes, they’re a strength. One last thing: further = physical distance; Farther = metaphorical distance. This is me, rolling my eyes at myself.