I adore the plot, love the way the returning characters have changed and grown, and how they are also very much the same people they were in TLGW, and I think the story is tight, just the way I like it. Unless your name is Tolkien, Asimov, Rowling or Homer you probably shouldn’t be writing winded and wordy works of fiction. So this is not an issue of length for me. I’m not trying to make it longer.
- I could add a mysterious stranger. I’m thinking an additional chapter somewhere, before the rising action really takes off. In TLGW this function is played by Shark, who only has a brief appearance in the story but is pivotal.
- An action scene might help. I am hesitant to add action scenes “just because” even though readers really like them. I believe action scenes should further the story, but sometimes you need something like that to keep the reader keyed in.
- Flashbacks have helped me in the past. There are several flashbacks in TLGW, and that can give great insight into what a character is thinking. My thoughts right now are for the bad guy (actually, in this story it is a woman) to have a protracted flashback. This might give the reader a little more insight into why she is doing all these horrible things.
- Maybe it is the ending. I finish the novel with Butch talking with someone about the why and reason of the events they go through in the book, but no real clear resolution is found other than the world is messed up. At first I liked that ending because the world is messed up, and sometimes good people get caught between different factions of evil pulling in different directions. But perhaps I need a tidier resolution. Perhaps.
There is one other thing. It might be the title. I have yet to decide its title. For the entire time I wrote it was simply “Butch Gregory 3” but titles like that only work for Iron Man and X-Men movies. Right now the title is “How Great The Darkness” but I don’t know if that will last. Perhaps I’ll feel better about after I title it officially. However, my experience is that often the title gets changed or adjusted during the publication process.
Writer’s neurosis and self-doubt might also be at work here. I find that letting go of a manuscript is one of the hardest things I ever do. This is true whether it is a novel, short story, poem, or sermon. I want to hold on to them like children, and never let them go.
I need to make a decision this week so I can get the project finished, hopefully get it published, and then get back to my retro-scifi stories. They have been on hold until this is complete.
puzzle image from radicallychristian.com