Revisions have kept me from my blog of late, but in the grand scheme of things, ’tis better to produce a pretty book than not. Especially if you’re an author.
Lately I’ve been looking forward to getting the sequel to Abyss of Chaos underway. This might seem strange since Abyss isn’t due out until September and there are still a myriad of hurdles that book must clear before I can turn my attention to its The Philosopher’s Game. The thing is, the larger percentage of my revisions on Abyss go to the extreme learning curve I’ve had producing my first novel. I imagine, right or wrong, that book 2 will start with a basic sense of narrative, whereas book 1 started without. You’ll look at the two excerpts included below and see what I’m talking about.
I know that I shouldn’t complain. Some authors spend their lives revising one thing and still shrink away from the idea of sharing. That won’t be me, but I still want my work to shine.
Below are a few examples of me reinventing the wheel of Abyss, and thanks to Pavarti and Veronica for their instruction.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may remember this paragraph:
Jerusalem, 1146 A.D. The sound of a thousand charging men thundered deep beneath the city of Jerusalem, obliterating the millennium of silence held fast inside forbidden catacombs. Though the invaders were only two, the labyrinth of impossibly high columns and archways created an illusion of sound that exponentially multiplied their number. Al Qays Aasimah came to an abrupt halt behind one of those broad columns, and after a moment, the echoing specter of thousands lifted. The Chamber of Light fell silent once again.
Now it reads like this:
Jerusalem, 1146 AD: Al Qays Aasimah gasped for breath as the chase came to a halt, though his footfalls thundered on inside the echoing space. Backing into a broad column he used his tunic to mop sweat from his forehead in a quick swipe. His feral eyes darted left and right as the sound of charging feet faded, and a blanket of silence settled upon the maze of columns and archways deep beneath al-Masjid al-Aqsa.
Neither style of narrative is intrinsically more difficult than the other, but articulating the difference in narrative is tricky. My gut says the second is more commercial, but the only true experts on writing commercial fiction are those few authors who are raking in the cash. (Though there is no shortage of folks claiming to espouse bullet proof advice there either.) Further, sometimes we revise an MS to within an inch of its life, only to snap right back to the way it was in the first place. Why? Because our definition of “good” was always malleable. Just when you think you know what “good” is, along comes someone who challenges your assertions and he/she makes a killing at it.
The point is, I’ve come to the conclusion that revisions are never-ending not only because of the scope of writing a novel, but also because the variables used to measure its success are porous by nature. With the entire industry falling apart and more great authors turning to self publishing, what constants are left?