I screwed up. That's a hell of a way to start off a blog, isn't it? Those three words sum up things perfectly, though.
As some of you may know, I've been working on a book entitled 'Funeral With a View'. Early feedback was positive, and after performing much needed clean-up (tightening up the prose, fixing dialogue, eradicating over-descriptive passages), I sent it to several betas. Once again, feedback was mostly positive...but a few glaring chinks in the armor were pointed out.
ALL MY FAULT, and thank God for beta readers! They're super important for someone working on their own, like myself, and I always try to gather a slew of them. Never know who's going to catch what, or whose experience will ultimately reveal a big mistake. While the reactions to the book have been strong (several readers expressed very powerful emotional reactions to certain events in the story, but that's a good thing. Reactions, even negative ones, mean you've created characters people can get invested in), there are issues that need to be addressed.
I will not put out a book I'm not happy with, and I will not put out a book that leads people down a certain path in a ham-fisted manner just because that's the way I wanted it to go. It has to be organic, it has to breath.
Some scenes, although fun and engaging, serve no point whatsoever. They did at one point, if only in my head, but I screwed up in that I didn't push them to move the story on, or missed the opportunity to make them move things forward. If they don't serve the story, they must go. If they don't move the story forward, they must go. There is a character who plays a major part in the plot that needs to be reinvented. They need more page time, more realistic interaction and motivations to make their part real. My image of the character and how I'd executed them on the page ended up being two completely disparate things. I didn't get the point across. Can't have that, no way, no how. I. SCREWED. UP.
There is work to be done. It's going to take some thinking, it's going to take some planning, then it's going to take some time. When these issues were brought up (once again, THANK YOU BETA READERS FOR KEEPING ME HONEST!), I felt awful. Yes, I know it's a beta version, and having people find mistakes is the whole point, but I thought I was closer to the finish line than I actually was. But that's cool. Better to find a problem or two now than after someone plunks down money on it only to say something bad about it. Truth be told, this hasn't been years in the making. I'd written the original manuscript last year (did you know FWAV is actually my first book? No? Well, you do now.) in about five weeks, and I started to get into deep editing after Ghosts of Demons Past was published earlier this year. It hasn't been a day in, day out process, either. It may seem like a lot of time as the calendar turns, and there were recent periods where I did nothing BUT edit, but there were days and weeks when I didn't work on it. I'm a part timer, and I admit it. In the last few days a niggling voice has whispered 'you've wasted your time' in my ear. I punk slapped that voice in the mush. I no longer hear it. It hasn't been a waste of time. FWAV ain't perfect, but it's much better than it was. It's just not as good as it
could be will be.
So, I'd blabbed on my Facebook page that I was looking at a December release. That is simply not going to happen. Too much left to be done. I want to put out a product that makes people turn the pages. I want to put out a product where the reader laughs when I want them to, be upset when I want them to be, and get so invested in these characters' lives to the point where they can't help but want to put their own lives on hold so they can see how it all pans out. FWAV is a very emotional book, and I want the reader to feel every single emotion I'm trying to convey. Did I accomplish that? On many levels, yes. On all levels? No. But I can, and I will.
When will the book be out? When it's finished. There are many things in there to enjoy. The cast is varied and colorful (one reader, a valued and talented friend of mine, called the two main characters 'gold', and I lubs her for it!), and the story is an emotional roller coaster. I won't allow a few sticking points to mar the good stuff.
Annnnd I'm spent! Thanks, again, for reading. You win a no-prize for making it this far. =)
Take care, talk soon!