Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Spinward Fringe Broadcast 6: Fragments - What's Taking So Long?
Fragments has been the most challenging work I've ever engaged in. Before November, 2009 I scrapped the first half of the book, then I tried to start over during National Novel Writing Month. I did fairly well, completing more than half of the book again, but after much reworking and editing, I've scrapped that as well, keeping two concepts that are the core of what I'm doing now.
Why scrap the drafts? The first draft delivered something I feel has been seen in film, in this series already, and some of it felt like filler even though it wasn't. There wasn't a story worth telling there, it didn't have the punch and drive that I try to maintain in my work and it didn't even come close to surpassing the previous book.
The second draft has been scrapped for a broad variety of reasons, but something good happened while I was working on it, something important to the story and I'm carrying a few very important ideas forward. If I didn't do the work this book wouldn't be as well developed as it is now.
The mad thing about this is that the process I'm outlining here is something that happens all the time. Most books go through multiple drafts. Ideas get tossed aside while small details get brought to the foreground. What makes Fracture even more challenging is that it's the middle act of a trilogy and part of a major turning point in the entire series. Setting the stage for Broadcast 7 is important, but Fracture also has to have its own story, it has to be a worthwhile read on its own, and the version I'm working on now provides that, finally.
While hearing that I've scrapped two versions of this book is discouraging, I'm sure, there is a silver lining. The third version of this book, the one I'm working on now, is worth reading. It's the tense middle act of a three act play that presents drama on multiple levels, an interesting point of view, growth for more than one character, the products of over a year of geographical, government and warfare research. It's in there, and I finally feel like all these things fit together.
I'm writing the last 12 or so chapters and editing with hopes that I blow my editor's mind, then get it to all of you sometime before June. I'm not going to say for sure when this book will arrive simply because I've learned what happens when you rush a book out with the previous Broadcasts in the series. I'd rather take extra time and do it right the first time instead of being left with something I have to revise later because it needs polishing.
Thank you very much for hanging in there, if you liked what's come before, you're going to love this.