Friday, August 7, 2015

Starting the Post-Beta revision for Mana Mutation Menace

I feel good about this draft. After splitting it off of Looming Shadow, adding a new arc to its beginning, rewriting everything that followed to reflect the fact that it is a separate new book, checking the rewrites, and then receiving affirming and constructive feedback from beta readers,  I feel like this book is nearing completion.
Mana Mutation Menace was originally the second half of Looming Shadow. I had this different plot arc in mind when I wrote it that stated Ceiha would be the halfway point. To my surprise, the plot that I began the story with resolved itself halfway through. Something else took its place. The result was a single book with enough content and plotlines for two (or three). I struggle with myself about whether or not to  break it up. I didn't want to create a cliffhanger and my mind focused on this particular set of objectives that needed to be accomplished to follow the ultimate series outline and within the number of books I had planned. In the end, I worked something out and both books are much better for it. Both are more focused and more concise.
Because Mana Mutation Menace was part of Looming Shadow, it has been revised many times. The one I'm on right now is only the second time for itself but more like the seventh or so time in the total life of this WIP. As I re-read it now, I am pleased with what has finally emerged. The plot has taken a precise shape instead of my vague ideas. That's the issue with starting out a story; you have ideas and events for those ideas but you don't have the nuts and bolts. How it's going to happen in that bottom layer is a mystery and now I can see it shinning. It will still need to be polished by the proofreader but in terms of plot and the characters developing through the plot, I like it.  My beta readers have been helpful in bringing this about.
Ever since the disastrous first chapter of A Mage's Power, I have lived in fear of something making sense to me, the author, but baffling and/or alienating my readers. I spent much of my non-day job and non-sleeping hours doing something that involves this fictional universe. Some days I set on this metaphysical, logistical, philosophical or magical mechanical problem and work it out in a way that is consistent with the established Rules of the Verse (Magic A Is "and should stay" Magic A). Because of this, I may be blind to the perspective of someone less knowledgeable about his verse than myself (i.e. everyone). One of the benefits of beta reading is that someone can point this out. They can also point out plot weaknesses or character failings that I missed. In fact, one of the betas IDed two trouble spots that passed under my radar. Finally, they can tell me whether or not it's good or not. A basic level of fun, quality, enjoyment.

As of this post, I am on chapter 6 of 18.

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