If you’re following this fairly sporadic blog, you know that I’m working on separating a pair of novels into their novella-length components. I’m doing this because they breathe better this way (that’s how they were originally envisioned), and because some editorial feedback has suggested the work is good at its core.
I’ve made it to episode 5, which is the first part of the second “novel.” (One thing you learn about this process is that the language you use when speaking of it has to change, especially when the primary person you speak about it with is you incredibly lovely, but also extremely literal wife. I cannot, for example, use the term ‘book’ in describing an episode, because she then thinks I’m talking about the original novel form).
Most of the work I’ve done so far has been shoring up connective parts, and then making sure the internal passages were consistent. But that’s changed now. Novel two, as I think I’ve mentioned before, gets more complicated. There’s quite a bit more intrigue, and my main character is finding the world he lives in is both structurally and politically far more arcane than he ever expected. I’ve determined that this complexity affects the repackaging considerably. While writing along I started getting worried about anchors I had been placing early in the novel, so I could use them later on. But packaging them this way means those anchors don’t get activated in a single reading of a single story.
Interesting conundrum. I mean, the anchors still need to stay in place I think, but the execution of the story around them needs to be done differently, given how I expect the reader will come to them.
Anyway, this is a long way of saying that I’ve spent the last two days reading the entirety of novel two, and rethinking the basic structure of the story as told in this new, episodic fashion. I’m learning a lot through the process, and I’m fundamentally changing some of my preconceived notions. I think, for example, that the second novel will wind up being two episodes, rather than three. And I think one entire plot line that was running through the first two-thirds of the novel needs to be moved completely to the back episode (now envisioned as episode 6). Doing this will give it more power, as well as streamline the telling of episode 5. And by streamlining episode 5, I expect the move will also lend power to that episode, too–kind of the literary example of addition by subtraction.
Yeah, I hear you…how about you add to the world by subtracting the whole thing?
And I say to you–nay saying doubter at the back of my mind–go away, forsooth, scat, stop bothering me when I’m having fun.