Sunday, June 30, 2013

Should Have Stayed Buried

A week ago, I started reading a book I finished back in 2005.  I had this idea of rewriting it from the POV of the main antagonist, and reviving her personal story arc as its own book, really delving into what it means to serve a dark god and then lose everything, including that god.

I refer to this idea in the past tense, as the reread completely killed my desire to go back to this story.

I think it's safe to say a lot of writers look back at their older work and cringe.  But reading this book was like checking off a list of how not to write a novel, and I'm flabbergasted that I ever thought this thing was good enough to be published.  Not joking at all here.  Prologue with all kinds of mysterious portents that's too vague for its own good?  Check.  First chapter starts with the main character waking up from a dream?  Check.  Main character looks in a mirror so there's a reason to describe her?

Gods help me, check.  And to go one worse, I spent half a chapter having a supposedly mysterious minstrel tell the entire backstory to an audience.  I'm kind of surprised they didn't fall asleep.

I also spent paragraphs describing things like the stone and wood a town was mostly constructed of, carvings on unimportant walls, and dozens of other tiny and irrelevant details.  The word count is over 177,000, and it was hard not to start cutting things out while I read.  All in all, the whole thing is ridiculous, and I'd like to formally apologize to everyone who read it way back when.  After three days, I gave up on rereading the entire thing and skimmed large chunks, only reading the main antagonist's POV parts.

The thing is, it's not my bad writing that makes me want to give up on this idea.  It's that I'm not interested in working in this kind of world anymore.  The story amounts to what Jim Butcher called "sword and horse" fantasy, and writing that bores me now.  I don't think there's anything truly special or interesting about the world it takes place in, and while the history holds some good ideas, it's not enough.

Despite all that, I'm disappointed that I feel this way.  I thought I had something good.  I thought I would make this the second book I wrote this year, and even said I wanted to do so in an earlier entry.  But the thought of facing down this dull world, this black-and-white mythology, and dealing with these characters again . . . no.  Just no.

I'm done with this book, hopefully forever.  And now I'm wondering what I should work on next, since I still have another month before I can start editing The Accidental Warlock.

Next entry: digging deep and desperately in search of a plot.  Several plots.

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