I have been revising my second novel while procrastinating on writing a query for my first. Yeah, I know. But this whole query thing sucks. As does the rejection that goes with it. But here are three things I have learned revising so far.
I Fall Apart at the End
I had been clipping along with my revisions pretty well through the first half of the book. It was better written than the first draft of my first book, which I chalked up to the experience of writing and revising a whole book. Of course, I’d thought this was going to continue throughout the novel. Boy was I wrong. Once I got to the middle of the story, the writing got more . . . well, it needed work. A lot more work.
Revision progress slowed.
Then I got about 2/3 of the way through, and the writing went from rough to bad. Very bad. More like a glorified outline. There’s still dialogue and the like, but the transitions (which I struggle with normally) are beyond bad. Description seems to have been tossed out the window, the villain is poorly developed, and the heroine seems to be regressing rather than coming into her own.
I have my work cut out for me, but that’s what revision is all about. This is why it takes me so much longer to revise than to write.
As I have been revising this piece, I learned something about how I have been writing character arcs in my first two books.
My heroines both have external conflicts to resolve: escape from a necromancer to save her soul; escape slavery so her children will be born free.
Both of my heroes have internal conflicts: let himself find happiness beyond duty even after all he’s seen and done for a righteous cause; learn the humility, compassion and sacrifice it takes to be a good king.
I’m still not sure if it’s good characterization or not. I want my female characters to be perceived as strong, even if they need the hero’s help. These are romance novels. I need to find a reason to keep the hero and heroine together even if they aren’t two people that would normally be together. I also need to make larger than life heroes feel more human.
As I think through the many romance novels I’ve read, this seems to be a somewhat common theme.
I need to think more on this, but for the moment, I’m not sure I have a better solution.
My motivation has been flagging during these revisions. Some of that is due to a sick child. But more of it is due to the draining process of revision. It’s more fun to create, to let the characters come to life and see what’s going to happen next. It’s less fun to deal with character arcs and plot pacing. It’s even less fun to work through transitions, descriptions, and the like.
All are important. And the work isn’t ready for external feedback until all have been dealt with.
Time to pull myself up by the bootstraps and get to it.