Friday, May 2, 2014
As many of you know, I recently finished drafting the second book of what will hopefully one day be a series of twisted fairy tales. SUMMON is the story of Carina, a runaway noble girl who accidentally pulls Excalibur from a cliff and has to prove -- to herself and the people of the kingdom -- that she's worthy to lead them.
I had a lot of fun drafting it, and was blessed to have personally interviewed someone who has a similar background to Carina, to help me gauge the character's emotional growth. When I finished the draft, I knew it wasn't perfect, but I felt pretty good about it. So I sent it to a couple of Alpha Readers -- my amazing CPs.
This week, I got their notes back, and I have to say I'm not entirely sure what to do with them. The responses have been drastically varied in so many ways. Things my interviewee said were spot on according to Carina's emotional arc were causing disbelief in my CPs, and things I loved about the characters were coming off as creepy or downright mean. Things that I meant to simply be accepted by the characters and readers were seen as huge revelations that required more time to digest.
You would think that the more you write -- draft, revise, work at this art -- the better you'll be at it. Would you not? And yet, this book is turning out to be far more difficult than its predecessor. I knew from the beginning this would be a hard story to get right. I had forgotten that while drafting. Drafting, for me, is very quick. I don't edit, I don't think, I just write. Of course, this makes revision a rough road, and I'm re-learning that now.
There really isn't much of a point to this post, except to vent a little. My CPs are amazing, and I know they're pushing me to be awesome. When they read this, I hope they'll understand that I'm grateful for their brutal honesty, their snark, and their poking holes in my story. Because I'd much rather take it from them -- people I know and love and trust -- than from strangers.
So here's to revisions, folks. May it be as painless as possible, and make the story the best it can possibly be.
Author of YA and MG speculative fiction. Gryffindor. Mommy. Fangirl. Wandmaker.