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May 26th, 2006

My Book

I finished rereading my fantasy novel yesterday, and then last night I found a slightly revised version that was roughly 800 words longer.

The main thing I notice about it, five years later, is that it seems rushed. You know how the Harry Potter movies sorta feel like they're racing through the plot and only hitting the high points? That's my book. It's entertaining enough, but overall seems rather superficial. It lacks depth. The 800 words I added (changing the background of the protagonist Lyonne a bit) does help -- makes it a more personal conflict for her -- but it's got a long way to go.

The problem for me there, of course, is how to deepen it? The Harry Potter movies feel rushed 'cause they cut out about 40% of the story. In my case, what I have is all the story I wrote, so it's not like I'm leaving things out.

I have some ideas for ways to address it ... I'm thinking of going through for each named character and writing up a bio sheet, so they can get more background and personality. I need to find some way to make the villain more interesting, too. While he gives the main characters of the story quite a pounding, I'm not sure he's a strong enough threat as written to warrant the lengths the various characters go through to fight him.

In short, the story feels like a prologue, rather than the "main event," but I don't have a main event to follow it up with. I don't have any epic "THE story of Ethangea" (or even just "THE story of Lyonne") to tie this into, I just don't think that way. I kinda wish I did ... that would give me a framework to put this story into.

EDIT: It occurs to me that Lyonne is part of the problem ... she hasn't quite gelled into a real character for me yet. I simply worked out the elements required for this plot, put them into a character, and called 'em Lyonne. I need to either work on her to flesh her out, or come up with another hero who speaks to me more.

ANOTHER EDIT: Something I remember doing (or at least intending to do, whether I actually got to it or not) is going through and chopping out any block of elvish that was more than two sentences long. I came up with a serviceable elvish language and in my rough draft had fun writing stretches of dialogue in it, but realized later from a story point of view that most readers were going to skim over that anyway -- so it didn't actually add anything. While it would be nice to think that 20 years from now there will be clubs of geeks speaking to each other in my elvish, frankly I don't believe it. There is only one Professor Tolkien, and I am not he.

-The Gneech

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