Yup. Not a revision. A rewrite.
What this means is that there will be massive changes to many scenes, though I’m keeping the key points with Doriel and Maple. Their arc is, overall, the same.
This also means a number of subplots will vanish, along with about half the characters mentioned.
Malcom is gone. So are all the boys who joined Maple’s group with him. Thilda is gone, and so is the merchant Callio flirts with on the way to Oasis. The Oracle is still there but she’s undergone a radical transformation.
Why is this happening? Because as I looked at the first fifteen chapters, the ones I hadn’t rewritten at all when I first published this on FictionPress.com, I discovered there were scenes that needed to be rearranged in those first fifteen chapters that I’d intended on rearranging after I’d gotten some feedback.* But rearranging things in the beginning had repercussions that spread through the rest of the novel. That required looking at the theme of the story, and that showed me that I had some redundancies in what was, when I posted it, a first draft.
In getting rid of the redundancies, I started to become terrified I was falling into an eternal rewrite.
So, I did a technique Holly Lisle mentions in her How to Revise Your Novel course. I set aside all the notes, all the cards, everything I’d been using to organize what needed to be done. I got out a pen and a piece of paper and wrote out a new outline, start to finish. (Update: there’s more to it than this. I highly recommend going through the course to get the full technique.)
After I finished, I looked at what I’d written and what was left in my outline. All the parts I loved, all the parts readers on FictionPress had mentioned as loving, were there. Everything else fell away.
So, this has become a rewrite. This means a shorter novel. It also means better focus and, I hope, a better story. Not to mention, I can take this opportunity to make sure it’s set up for the next book in the series (yes, this has become a series).
That makes me very happy.
As for the timeline, because of this new approach, I hope to have this book published on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., in September of this year.
Yes, I’m behind schedule. I don’t like that, but I’m convinced these changes are worth it, and I’m very excited now about publishing this book.
*When I first started posting on FictionPress.com, I did so because I thought it was a site for critiques. It’s not. With one exception, I mostly got fans, which was more than fine. It gave me a lot of encouragement and was my first taste of being an indie-author. However, it also meant The Castle in the Story was pure, raw draft. It wasn’t until I was fifteen chapters in that I realized that raw draft was irritating me, so I did a half-hearted edit as I went.
I’ve since learned that you never show pure, raw draft to anyone. Not unless you’ve improved to the point where you can pull a Harlan Ellison and write a story in public based on a trigger from the audience.
Not there. Yet.