So the last time I posted, which was over two months ago, I was just finishing up the edits for Talonshale. Remember that? All caught up now? Good. I hope you're reading this sitting down, because what I have to tell you isn't very pleasant. I sent the aforementioned, polished manuscript to my agent, and as it turns out, he wasn't exactly thrilled with the book. He liked the characters, liked the world and concept, but thought it needed a new plot.
Yes, you read that right -- it needed a new plot.
The problem was that Talonshale was a murder mystery, and like many murder mysteries, the main characters weren't seriously threatened until the murderer was unmasked. I'd structured the plot to move from clue to clue -- banking on the 'what's-going-on' factor to keep the reader turning pages. And as my agent pointed out, a book like this, for a market like this, should have more action and conflict and tension -- the plot should move from peril to peril. Aiming a murder mystery at teenage dudes wasn't exactly a bad call, I don't think -- it just wasn't the best call.
And I do want to make the best call.
So, like a good lil' writer-man, feeling slightly cowed and overwhelmed, I started working on a new plot. And that, of course, meant writing an entirely new book -- but in the same world with the same characters.
And what I found was that, actually, coming up with a series of escalating perils isn't so hard. What's stinking hard as hell, and what's had me tearing my hair out and wondering if writer's block might not be the myth I thought it was, is coming up with a series of escalating perils that isn't predictable.
Because once I took the mystery element out of Talonshale, I had nothing left but 'kids-in-danger'. Nothing terribly original or terribly interesting. I literally started writing the book three more times. Three additional first chapters, all of which felt plain and listless. (Oh, and did I mention that before the 350 page version, I'd written 170 pages on an entirely different 'adventurer's journal' version which I eventually scrapped? Yeah. So altogether, I've written over 600 freaking pages under the title 'Talonshale'.)
Anyway. In the interest of wrapping this up before I really start rambling and whining, I'll just tell you where I'm at right now, and let you get back to your lives.
But it's a version that I'm actually pretty happy with. It's first person present, darker and bloodier than the previous versions, and it has that feeling of building up its own momentum -- becoming one of those beast-like stories on the verge of breaking free and running wild of it's own accord. And you know, I reeelly hope it does.
Because right about now, I could reeeally use a story that writes itself .