Edit - this was of course supposed to be the 03/03 check in - changed it.
I finished my first edit of my first novel last Thursday. Now what? Do I keep editing, or just trash it?
I wrote that first novel in 2010, as part of NaNoWriMo. It was my first fiction really, so I was both surprised and pleased at completing what seemed a half decent story.
However - since then I have read a lot more about how to write, about things like character development, and dialogue, and setting, and structure. I wrote two more novels, first one as a sequel to #1, and then for the second chose a different theme, a Fairy Tale one. I wrote about 80 flash fictions since then too, and still am doing them. I read about Mary Carroll's storyboarding and her "W" flow of falling and rising action, of Acts and Turning Points. I read Larry Brooks' Story Structure series, a similar approach. I read a lot of other articles about structure and design and plotting, then settled on a variation of the "W" storyboarding. I found that structure worked quite well for my second and third novels. Not sure why, maybe because it's a good structure for me, maybe because I made them fit into it, but it worked.
As for novel #1, as I said, I felt it needed more to it. I wrote it before learning about how to design and structure a book, and find adding that after the fact is difficult. Or maybe there's just not that much to work with. When I went through it, I found that the turning points weren't that exciting, there was no big 'battle', the main goal changed a few times. I've gone in now and boosted some areas, changed the focus here and there, added more to the sub-plots, done a bit of scene shuffling, but still it's just an OK story. I do like parts of it, the overall plot is interesting, I like the characters, but it's not something I'd be ready to publish.
The conundrum is, what now? Do I keep at it? Do I pull it apart, focus the goals of the characters, build up the few key parts to be better turning points and shuffle the scenes back in? Or, do I leave it as a learning exercise, stuff it in a drawer, and start editing #2, the sequel?
Advice appreciated folks.
Status update - I missed the Wednesday check in, so this is for the past week:
- Editing - I finished my first editing pass of novel #1. For this pass I printed it out, went through with pen in hand, did some minor restructuring, and typed the changes in via Scrivener. A nice feeling of accomplishment. Sort of - see above.
- Writing - Did a story for Flash Fiction Friday, Little Bones. Not a lot of meat in the story, but I think it could be a good start. It's on the same theme I had with a previous story on a portal.
- I've watched Season One of Once Upon a Time, and now I am halfway through Season Two. Interesting blend of two worlds, and a lot of double characters. Some obvious bits, some subtle bits. Gives me some ideas of things I could do - and not do - in my Fairy Tale Folk stories.
- Finished my second read of Cool Water, for my book club tomorrow night.
- Courses - finishing up Astrobiology - last week. Starting one on Aboriginal Worldviews and Education. Interesting course, I may not do quizzes or assignments, but I will at least watch lectures, to help with my background in novels 1 and 2.
TBD - clean the house, buy nibbles and wine for the Monday night book club. Keep writing. Find something to edit.