I'll tend to speak in generalities when discussing writing, but the truth should be obvious: I'm only speaking of my own experiences. Keep that in mind through the next paragraph, which is going to read like I think this is true for all writers. It might be; for all I know it is. But I'm only talking about myself. So: there's a moment in the writing of any story where you, the writer, "gets" the story. For some stories, this happens before the writing begins. For others, it happens during the writing or even -- sometimes -- after the first (or second, or third, or fifteenth) draft is underway.
It's a great moment. A fun moment. And from that point on, the writing will -- in general -- go more more easily.
Unless it doesn't, of course.
Why am I telling you this? Well, because I've had that moment recently in something I've been writing.
I sent this off to my amazing editor right around New Years. It went with a note which basically read: Hey, I know this is broken, but I don't know how to fix it. Tell me what you think, if it's ready for Prime Time or how extensive you think the changes are going to be to fix this.
Recently, my editor and I had a loooong talk about Animals. I think she was afraid to tell me what she had to say. Me? I was ecstatic. All her points were excellent and she really gave me something to think about.
And then, a few days later, I cracked it. Really cracked it. Figured out (I hope) exactly what needs to be fixed in order to make Animals be the book it wants to be. Needs to be.
It's going to be some work, though. Of course. I'd originally planned on releasing the book in the Spring of this year. That's obviously not happening now, but my informal goal is to get it out in time for New Years. If that doesn't happen, I'd at least like to have a copy of Animals in my hands by next Summer.
Let me tell you something: sequels and series are hard. Like: hard hard.
The Seven Markets was never intended to be the first book in a series. I believe I've written about this before, but it bears repeating: the book was originally going to be a short story. And I spent the better part of a decade returning to that story, writing a few pages, then throwing them out.
Then, sometime early in 2012, I realized Markets was a novel.
And I understood in a moment exactly what the book was. The rest, as they say, was secretarial work. Typing it up, in other words.
Glamour, by comparison, didn't know what it wanted to be. I had an idea -- of course -- but no details to go with that idea. I realized, somewhere around the end of Markets, that I had more stories to tell in this world. That Ellie's adventures were not done. So: series. Trilogy.
But I didn't "get" Glamour. I know there was something there, and sincerely hoped whatever it was would reveal itself to me in time.
So, when I figured out what sort of book Glamour was, when I figured out how it followed Markets and what it would mean to the world of the Market, it was like a switch throwing in my head. Right now I'm technically working on the second draft, but this version is so distinctly its own thing I don't need to go back to the first draft.
I don't think I need to go back to the first draft.