No, I'm not moving across the country again. :P
However, as that blog entry shows, I'm a big fan of making big changes when a story isn't going the way it should. As a plotter, this is often how I figure out how things are supposed to go. Granted, it still boggles my mind that stories tend to feel like I'm figuring them out rather than making them up, but I can't explain that and don't care to try.
As important as changes are, there are times when I don't expect to make them. Like when I think a book is close to done and I'm moving toward trying to find an agent. When I know the word count and I'm struggling with putting together a good query, when I'm waiting to hear back from betas and fix whatever needs fixing, that's not the time to consider huge changes to a book, right?
Oh ye of little faith. Or rather, oh me of little faith. As per usual, things have not gone quite as planned.
Here's the thing: I know I'm not great at writing antagonists. It's a long-standing weakness of mine - hell, I dropped The Accidental Warlock in part because I felt the book pretty much didn't have an antagonist. But I thought I'd conquered that issue with The Book of Lost Runes. I was wrong.
One of my betas is one of my best friends; we've known each other since 2000 and have shared a ton over the years. She's read more of my books than anyone else. And one of her chief complaints about BoLR was that the bad guy was weak, didn't seem threatening, stuff like that. So after my usual bout of "I am a horrible writer" that comes after most criticism (I only felt like that for an hour or so, so I'm clearly getting better), I started thinking, and I realized that she was right.
Frantic planning ensued.
It's a weird thing, sitting down to edit a story and knowing that chunks of it will remain mostly the same while other chunks need massive revisions. Replacing a minotaur with a politician involves significant work. Go figure. :P But I created a villain who has a much more personal stake in all that's happening and a more interesting reason for starting it, who's a lot more devious and has prepared multiple backup plans, and who interacts better with my main characters. He's also more fun to write, which is always a plus.
The whole process has been more than a little nerve-wracking. While I of course saved a version of the book so I wouldn't lose anything if Operation Antagonist Replacement failed, it's still a massive undertaking for a book I thought was nigh-ready for submission. I plowed through the whole thing in eight days, and went back and added more tonight, in preparation for another run-through over this coming week. I think everything works, but all praise to my beta readers, who will surely let me know if it doesn't. ^_^
In the end, just about anything's worth it if it leads to a better book. And I really do think I've made the story better now. Which is all that matters in the end.
On another note, in regards to that other blog entry: I've been in Washington for a little over six months. I've met new people and I get together with my friends regularly. I'm close to family and see them pretty often. And I'm nearly done with five weeks of training at my brand-new job, which is already the best place I've ever worked and pays me better than any job I've ever had.
Making that change was one of the best decisions I've ever made.