The Plan for November (and the Revision)

Happy November, squiders! Or IS IT. (I don’t know. Just being dramatic.)

I went to the Nano kick-off party, as I said I might, and I got three years worth of stickers, talked to some lovely people, was a unicorn, and made myself sick by drinking coffee after 10 pm. I had thought I’d leave right at midnight, since I’m not actually writing, but no one else did and then I felt weird, so I hung out for an hour reading back over Book 1, and then I came home and couldn’t sleep (probably because of said coffee. I’d say I’d learned a lesson, but I so rarely try to drink coffee after 10 pm that I doubt it’ll stick).

It took me a few days to get all the way through the current draft (which sits at 116K words), but I am done now and ready to move forward.

My general plan goes something like this:

  • Read through story (done!)
  • Go through beta comments
  • Make revision plan
  • Do revision

I got through the chapter one beta comments and part of chapter two before I had to switch to Hallowed Hill, but I’m going to go back through them.

(As a side note, it amuses me that HH went from premise in late August 2021 to published in Oct 2022, where as I originally said I was going to write this trilogy in 1998, wrote the first draft of Book 1 in 2004/2005, and continue to still be having to poke at it, all these years later. Arguably it could be said that this is because I have improved as a writer over the past twenty years, though also arguably, a 50K Gothic horror novella is not as complex as a currently 300K+ high fantasy trilogy with many many characters.)

I did see issues, though, on my readthrough. That’s to be expected, or else I would not be revising it yet again.

There’s a fairly major plot point that the first step of is missing (probably got lost in the last revision). Weird vestiges of things I took out. A surprising amount of typos, even for me. And, of course, the disjointedness of the first part of the book and so forth.

When I ran the beginning of the book through the critique marathon, I did ask if people had suggestions on how to fix the disjointedness, and one of the suggestions they made was that one of the two viewpoint characters doesn’t have much internal conflict, so her chapters feel lacking, while that wasn’t the issue with the other viewpoint character.

One of the weird things about working on a story for so long is that things get lost. Things change. And some things get worse when you try and fix other things.

I was 14 when I created these characters. (Said characters were also 14 at that point, though they are not any longer.) I decided I was going to write the Trilogy because I spent a HUGE amount of time making up backstory for a character I was going to play in a Star Trek roleplaying sim. And then the ship only ran for a year and a half, and I was like, well, I put all this work in, and this is a really good story, so instead of, you know, moving the character to a different ship and continuing to play her, I was like, “The only solution here is to write an Epic Fantasy Trilogy and move everything out of the Star Trek universe since I can’t publish original stories there.”

As you do.

There are two viewpoint characters, Lana and Dan. Dan started off as an antagonist–I think he may have been supposed to be the main antagonist at one point–so it’s kind of weird that I included his viewpoint at the beginning anyway, in retrospect. As the story has evolved over the decades, he’s become an equal protagonist to Lana, so I’ve spent a ton of time working on him. Giving him an internal arc, making sure his actions–even the questionable ones–have forgivable motivation behind them, making him a complex character with flaws and strengths and goals.

And Lana, I just…didn’t.

To be fair, Lana has changed since the beginning draft too. (One beta, after the first draft, stated that she wanted to punch Lana in the face.) She’s less stuck-up, less braggy. As you can imagine comes from a character that a 14-year-old made to play herself, she had some Mary Sue-ish qualities. But I haven’t done very much character work on her because, once the Mary Sue issues were resolved (fairly easy, done by draft 1.5, if I recall), she was fine. Benign. Maybe even a bit bland.

But a bit bland isn’t going to cut it, not anymore. And worse, compared to Dan, she comes off as boring.

It was a slog to fix Dan, I’m not going to lie. But I’m really happy with him, in this most recent draft. He’s memorable, he’s sympathetic. No one who has read the most recent draft has suggested killing him off to put him out of everybody else’s misery.

(There’s still some work I’ve got to do, to still make him sympathetic for Book 2, but that is a problem for future!Kit.)

Lana should–knock on wood–be an easier fix. It’s really just a problem in the beginning, before she understands what’s happening in the plot. And she’s not moving from being an antagonist to a protagonist/love interest, because she’s always been that.

I’m hoping, as I go through the beta comments, an easy and appropriate fix will present itself. Otherwise, I have some vague ideas that I could poke out (though perhaps the most logical has its own issues, because it’s similar to some of Dan’s issues and I don’t want the repetition).

Wish me luck, squiders.

(Oh, and if anyone knows if there’s a way to change goals on the Nano site from word count to literally anything else, let me know. I put in a revision goal and wanted to do time, but couldn’t figure out how, so now apparently my goal for the month is 1500 words instead of minutes. Whee.)

(Also, they email me like every day to be like “Start Your Nano Project!” which is not going to happen, because if you select Nano it won’t let you change off the 50000 word goal.)


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