It’s been one of those weeks. <grin>
Basically, I had hoped to complete Past Tense – Book 10 of Schooled In Magic – last week, but a couple of points in the novel needed to be rewritten and a handful more needed to be tightened up before I send the manuscript in to the publisher. I’ve noticed that even-numbered SIM manuscripts require more editing than the odd-numbered manuscripts, so I’ll probably be indulging in the usual weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth before going to work and tightening up the manuscript still further.
But on the other hand, the whole affair has reminded me – again – of why I need beta-readers.
It’s actually been an interesting experiment. Writing two books that are linked together so closely, as I noted at the end of Infinite Regress – meant that I was restricted in several ways, none of which were easy to surmount. I got several comments that suggested that Emily had regressed, when instead there are a number of limits on her ability to act. And I got other comments about choices Emily made, some of which prompted me to do the first set of rewrites.
Obviously, as a character, Emily has grown and developed over the years since Schooled In Magic was first published. And yes, she has come a very long way since she entered the Nameless World – she’s a lot stronger, a lot more capable, than she was when she started. But at the same time, I don’t want to push her forward too fast. I don’t think it’s realistic for her to become Superwoman within 4-5 years in real time (particularly as Superwoman is a villain <evil grin>). And yet this has caused issues as a number of readers have urged that yes, she should move forward faster.
It’s always a problem writing a character with flaws. Plenty of readers will argue that those flaws are unrealistic, or that the character is holding the Idiot Ball at a certain point because those flaws blind them to reality. (And then there’s the opposite character, the Mary Sue.) But then, us – the readers – exist outside of the context of the book.
Matters aren’t helped, if I am forced to be honest, by my decision to tell almost the entire story from Emily’s point of view. There’s no way to show how (most) people react to her. And there’s a point, in Past Tense, where she gets something flat-out wrong, but it isn’t spelled out because that would destroy suspension of disbelief. I’ve hinted at it a lot, but some of the responses I got suggested that I didn’t hint at it enough.
Anyway, enough of me whining.
I’m hoping to start Fear God and Dread Naught on Saturday, Malaysian time. (I’d forgotten just how hot Malaysia is.) And here is a sneak preview of the cover.