The second Act in the First Light Chronicles is finished. I've been waiting three weeks to say that. It feels really good.
When I started the first novella, Freeground, I had no idea that I would write it, edit it, and have it in print in my hands within six weeks. It was a fantastic ride from beginning to end and I enjoyed every step. There was no stress, I knew I liked every bit of it and there weren't many refinements to put in place after. The only thing I was unsure of was if anyone else would like it. I'm proud to say that everyone who has read it has liked it, some of them even love it and I've even heard someone say; "I need to see this on television, or in a movie, somewhere, I just need to see it." That kind of compliment hit me so hard my knees were weak, I swear. Especially when writing it was such an amazing experience.
This time was different. The second Act in this story arc features a lot of dark moments, where the crew is tested in a very real way. I found I had to learn more about my characters, put them through their paces and find out how truly well fleshed out each one was. There was some development, I wrote 70 pages, I scrapped 20 pages, wrote 30 more, scrapped another 10, then wrote 40. It wasn't a matter of going back and deciding; 'nope, that's not well written.' It was a matter of trying a direction and finding out that it didn't take the story where I wanted it to then retracing my steps and starting over again from wherever I took a wrong turn.
Making that kind of decision, to write for hours then realize that you have to start over, do it differently, really tests whether or not you are working on the right story, and your resolve to get it right. I can say that this is the right story, that my resolve is solid. When it was time to figure out where I went wrong, it took seconds. When it was time to stop writing and make some notes on what I needed my reader to see and experience before I blazed another trail, I did, and when it was time to cut entire sections of the work out and paste it into my scrap file (from which nothing has ever returned), there was no question in my mind that it was the right thing to do and there were no regrets.
Now it's finished, and it's bigger than the first Act, it strives to be more and it tells a story that I hope everyone who reads it will enjoy half as much as I enjoyed writing it. It's sitting in the first proof reader's inbox right now, and I hope he gets to it soon. Again, I loved working on this too much to know whether it's any good. It's like looking at your own child, they're always beautiful, you're naturally biased.