I made a significant decision today about how I’ve been approaching the writing/rewriting of book 2 (Tainted) in my trilogy (Lisen of Solsta). I’m going to let the forest be.
As those few who frequent my blog know, I’m writing a trilogy about a young woman named Lisen who believes she was born on Earth but discovers within a few pages of the beginning of book 1 (Fractured) that she is not human, and Earth is not her home.
What are now books 1 and 2 were once book 1 of a slightly different trilogy in which Lisen never spent any time on Earth. I invested a couple of years into pulling that book together. A couple of drafts made their way through my writing group. And then I changed everything.
The short of it is—Lisen went to Earth and then came back, and I broke up the big book into two books with a concluding volume still in the imagining process at the moment (though my notes are quite detailed and I do know how it ends). I worked on Fractured for a couple more years, continually refining until I was satisfied. Then I independently published it, both in paper and electronically, and entered it in a couple of contests, the results of which are still pending.
Although I have tackled (and achieved) perfecting the electronic version over the last several months, I’ve also had pressure from my solid block of a dozen or so fans who continue to clamor for Tainted. So I’ve kept at the reworking of the draft which, when I began, lacked any reference to Lisen’s Earth experiences and contained references to plot points which I chose to eliminate in order to make room for new, more productive twists and turns.
(It is truly amazing how many little tiny changes must be made in order to accommodate one added character. And the choices I’d made proved more complicated to incorporate than I’d imagined. Not complaining, mind. They’re good, and they’re worth it, but here’s where the aforementioned decision comes in. Are you still with me?)
Part of my process includes what I’ve come to call the read-aloud. (I recommend that all writers read their work out loud to themselves in a quiet room with no interruptions. Read it more than once. And perhaps more importantly—LISTEN as you read.) For some reason, in this mightily modified draft, I’ve done whatever I can to avoid the read-aloud. I put off writing for days because I have a scene awaiting that step.
Today I realized that I’m working with a draft that I’ve already vocalized multiple times. Yeah, I’m adding stuff and taking stuff out, but who cares in this draft. I’m going to be back to work on it at least once more (two or three times more for the newly added scenes), so why stress over it now?
Because right now I’m clearing my forest of old branches and laying down new seed. Which means when I’m done, the forest will have altered in ways I can’t see now. I’ll only be able to see the damn forest once the trees have settled into place. So tonight, three scenes went to the printer in one day (rather than the usual one scene in three or four days), and now I’m more than two-thirds of the way through. How’s that for progress.