My beta reader was taking a bit longer than normal on this particular piece of work, and while I was a bit worried about it, they have a very busy life.
Yeah, that wasn’t it (though they do). Nice try on my part.
She gave me some high level feedback explaining why it was taking a bit longer.
There will be a bit of a delay in releasing Knight of Valor.
She noted I needed to tighten my beginning. Doable within my original release date timeline.
More than that, I needed to flesh out my hero in the beginning. She thought he felt flat. I cringed a little, knowing why she was saying it and where it came from.
I wrote this book over four years ago. It was one of three books I completed when I first got back into writing, and the only one I loved the characters enough to try to salvage. The other two are now buried on my hard drive and are not fit for human eyes.
But I loved Sir Marcus. I wanted to do him justice. And through him and his story, and I pushed myself to do better as a writer. His story helped me learn a lot about finding my voice, plot and character development, and even trusting myself as a writer.
So, I’d set Knight of Valor aside for a while and work on other things, become a better writer, and tackle this story again.
During the process, I read a whole bunch of craft books. And you can see their influence on the story. One of them was how to write a romance hero…and I did Sir Marcus a lot of disservice. Granted, he overcomes the bad writing advice towards the middle on the book, but it takes him a while.
At the time, they were telling romance authors that romance readers wanted alpha heroes. Don’t even bother writing anything else as it won’t sell and an agent won’t want it. So I changed him.
And he was no longer Sir Marcus.
Don’t misunderstand me. He is neither meek nor mild. He was not the “chosen one” and forced to do anything. He saw evil, and if there was a chance he could destroy that evil, he had to try. He dedicated most of his life training to do just that.
But he’s still a genuinely nice guy. The kind of person who’d come over and help you fix your roof because he heard you were having trouble without being asked. You’d share an ale afterwards, and that would be all the thanks he’d need or want.
Punch a kid or kick or dog? You don’t want him to see you do that.
Kill a village to fuel a evil spell?
Time to run. Fast.
So, I need to let his true personality shine through the first half of the book as well as the second. No easy task, that.
Oh, and I need to fix a plot hole, tighten up my pacing, and remove a few loose ends from earlier drafts I missed. And this is before I get back the full list of revisions.
I see why this is taking a bit of time to get back the beta read. I also know I sent this out for just this reason.
I am literally on my eighteenth revision of this story. Yeah. Eighteenth. That I’ve counted. The first draft and several subsequent ones (no idea how how many four, maybe five?), I didn’t number and track. I am really close to this story, and I’ve put a lot of work into it. I can sometimes lose the forest through the trees. So I need more help on this than most.
It means a lot to me. I really want to get it right.
So, this is going to be a large revision, not a small tighten-things-up late game revision.
And that’s okay. Sir Marcus deserves the best story I can give him.
Yes, it means my entire plan for the year needs to change.
Yes, it means I will not make that April publishing deadline.
Both are okay.
I want to give you the best story I can.
Delaying the release date until June or July gives me the time to make it the best that I can right now.
You deserve that, and so does Sir Marcus.