I finished the first run through of my novel around this time last year and to my surprise had found the first full write through of the story, all 120,000 words, give or take a couple of less motivated moments, incredibly easy. My test readers liked it and I was hugely satisfied with the story itself. But, and here is the but, in terms of structure, pace and time spent getting to know the characters at the beginning, it was lacking. Even I knew that before I listened to my critics, I just didn’t want to face writing the whole thing again. I was so pleased that in six months I’d written a whole novel, I didn’t want to accept that the creative process of finishing a fantasy novel takes much longer than that in reality.
But face it I did. I’m working on the re-write at the moment, and as much as I love my story, revision is tough. It is satisfying to be shaping my story, tightening my writing and injecting more tension and conflict into the piece, giving my characters more personality and giving my readers (hopefully) more reason to love them in the same way I do. I carry these people around with me everyday, and they feel real to me. I want them to feel real to my readers too. But it is hard going over something that you are so proud of, and butchering it into something better. My usually flawless motivation is being tested at this stage. I don’t think it helped that I used the novel opening as my major MA project, so the association of the piece with university deadlines and stress has been hard to shake off.
But I persist because I love this story and this is something I really want to do. I think I remember spending moments of my childhood visualising myself writing a novel; it is all so long ago and vague in my memory now. I can see myself holed up on an island with only my computer and a beach for company for months at a time. Whether it has always been in me, or whether I discovered it late, I have a burning a desire to write a story that, hopefully, others will love as much as I do. To see my book amongst the shelves of writers I admire would be a true accomplishment, and I can only hope that is the direction I am moving in.
I am nearing the end of part one of the novel re-write at the moment, which has become a much-expanded version of the previous part one. Some new scenes give more heart to the settings and the characters, and the mysteries of my world are becoming much clearer and fuller. This version feels much more complete, much closer a representation to the ‘real’ version I see in my head.
The words are flowing, the patterns are forming, and the Aethera are coming into their own. Book one is truly taking shape.