Or I should say it’s for a colossal pain in the rear (but I’ll get to that in a moment).
Reverie is the second book in the Malcolm Stone series. It’s actually where the series started. I started writing Reverie in 2009 (maybe 2008) and finally finished the draft in 2013. This book is where I really got to know Malcolm and his family. I started the story with Malcolm’s wife dying from suicide. There was a dark depressing period planned to be in the book and at the time (as a new writer), I just didn’t feel like I could write the section with enough feeling. So, I ended up skipping that part (which has now become Dissonance) and moved on to the place where Malcolm starts attempting to put his life back together.
Over the course of the years I spent writing, my style changed. I found my voice and started to gain confidence in my ability to tell a story. As the draft continued, the story shaped and morphed around it’s characters. I discovered Malcolm was holding on to too much anger and grief over his wife’s death. He needed something traumatic to have happened in the past. Thus the abuse and trial for her death was born. I figured the combination of the two events would leave enough emotional scarring to have Malcolm be the way he is. After I finished the draft, I sent it out to a beta reader. She came back with several suggestions and compliments. I was still unhappy with the first ten or so chapters, but I hadn’t finished the first book in the series so I assumed I would just have to adjust those chapters to work with the ending of the first book. Reverie went to the back burner and I started working on Dissonance.
Now that Dissonance it nearing completion, I decided to take a look at Reverie and see how much work actually needed done on it. I hadn’t opened the book except for character name reference since 2013. Last week I decided it was time to dive into working on it. I already had notes in my outlines for changes and that it started getting “good” around chapter 15. Meaning from that point forward I would just have to make minor changes. Last Thursday night, I sat down and started reading through it and discovered I hated the book. It was just plain awful. There are some scenes and a few salvageable chapters, but for the most part my “completed” manuscript, was going to have to be completely reworked. (Which is why R is for a pain in the rear).
It’s not the story that is essentially bad, but instead the way it was written. As I said, while writing the last several chapters of Reverie I found my story telling voice and got to know my characters very well. This relationship between my voice and knowing my characters has grown. I have a better idea of what Malcolm has gone through and how he makes his life changes and how he deals with the baggage he carries around with him. Knowing this will (hopefully) allow me to bring depth into his characters and several others that seemed relatively flat.
The only fear I have now, is am I going to feel the same way about Dissonance after I let it sit for a while? I hope not. Once I get the final critiques back, I am going to do at least one more full read through (better order another set of proof books) and adjust as needed.
*Yesterday evening after work, I drafted a full high level outline and timeline for the story. Hopefully, that will help with the redrafting of Reverie