I've been so happy to be getting my writing life back in order. If you didn't notice, I managed to kick-start the blogging efforts once again (yay, blog!) and I've been working toward getting some of these Works in Progress off of my "To Be Completed" list. Part of that has included my excited announcements and notices that The Dragon Queen, Book 2, is coming right along and will be out soon.
So, yeah.... Scratch that bit.
No, don't worry, I'm not not going to get the book out. It's not the end of the series; I love the story and the characters too much for that. It's just that what I've got isn't working. I mean, last time I did this with Book 1, I spent hours reading aloud to the family, then I went and spent hours revising based on that reading, and then later they'd beg me for more reading. This time, with Book 2, I've spent hours reading aloud to the family, and they haven't asked me for any more, and I also haven't gotten to the revising yet, days later.
"It's not bad," my beloved bride (with whom I celebrated our fifth anniversary yesterday--yay, us!) said. The cool thing is how honest she can be when it comes to my work, and I appreciate that. "It's not bad" is actually pretty good, coming from her. It's just not -- well, it's not good.
I'm not even considering putting "not bad" anywhere close to my beta readers. Sorry. Thus, it's back to blank pages for this one. Oh, I'll keep some of what I've got, but I'm gearing up for my first large-scale rewrite since Cataclysm.
Again, it's not bad. The plot lines, both main and sub-plots, have been pretty well thickened in, and it's a story line that I think everyone will like. I've got an overwhelmingly pleasant array of characters, some returning from the first installment and others brand new. It's not a problem, then, with the plot arc, or with the characterization, or with the scenes.
It's the tone.
Dragon Queen is told from the point of view of an 18-year-old girl. She's jaunty, she's naive, she's snarky. It's supposed to read in a fun, fun way. Oh, it'll have dark points in the story, coming soon -- y'all have no idea of the level of evil I'm planning on putting her and her subject elves through later in the series -- but not yet. Not in Book 2, at least; she's still just figuring out the depth of the resistance against her. In Book 2 she's supposed to sound like the same person she was in Book 1. Even later in the series she'll sound like a stressed-out, almost-defeated version of the person she was in Book 1.
Problem was, I wasn't the same person writing this manuscript as I was for Book 1. Or, to be accurate, I was the same person, but I wasn't in the same place, either physically or mentally. I'd gone from having a day job and a house and a community that I loved to--well, kind of the opposite of that. Some day, perhaps, I'll tell the full story of what we went through while I wrote Book 2, but now isn't the time, so you'll have to just take my word for it that my mind was in a dark, dark place. Thus, my writing has a dark, dark tone that might make Poe proud. It's not jaunty at all. It's not snarky at all. In fact, when the humor comes, when it comes at all, it's mean and biting, not snarky.
I realized in the reading aloud that all my characters sounded like Prince Charming on a bad day, in fact.
So--yeah, Alyssa needs a break. I'm gonna work on another project for a few weeks while I follow my beloved's advice and re-read Book 1, and then it'll be back to Scrivener for me.
Sorry for the delay, but the end result will be worth it!