So, I’d thought that I could get ‘Songbird’ book 1 ‘Hunters’ as finished as I could… but some feedback I got this morning made me think…
First, a little backstory…
I’ve been working on my manuscript for ‘Hunters‘ for a while now. To demonstrate that, here’s a picture of my file folder. When I started ‘Songbird‘, it was originally entitled ‘Gods & Monsters‘ as it’s WIP title.
That file was dated 29th June 2016. So, that’s 3 1/2 years ago.
It’s been a while.
Originally it was around 260k words. A huge piece of prose, but over the course of those years and through multiple edits (we’re talking about 7 or 8 proper edits, not counting the smaller chapter run-throughs), I chopped out about 12 chapters, and culled around 120k words. I got it to a point I thought it was as good to go as I can get it.
I’m sure a lot of you out there relate to this. You pour your heart and soul into the words you put on (electronic) paper. But you’re NEVER quite sure if it’s as good to others as it is in your own head.
So, I started to share it. Nervously.
Starting with my wife and friends, I let others peek into my new world for the first time.
It went quite well.
We picked up as many of the little issues as we could and spotted the continuity errors and logic issues. I cleaned up the things that people didn’t understand.
My wife said, “Wow! It reads like a proper book!” – which I took as good news.
Sarah said, “It’s a page turner, I just wanted to know what happened next!” – which I took as good news.
Chell said, “I think it’s brilliant!” – which I took as an sign that I was the next JK Rowling.
Matt (my brother) said, “I haven’t finished it yet… And I’m not telling you what I think till I’ve finished!” – which I took as…fuck, I don’t know how to take that! (Thanks, Bro!)
The biggest comment regarding the book had been that it started quite slow. This I understood because I had been worried about the leisurely build up over the first 10 chapters or so. I’m building a new world, with multiple characters (in different world locations) and a complex time-line to adhere to.
I’d gone with two particular rules…
Change chapter whenever a new character’s point of view is needed. Hopefully to avoid reader confusion.
Keep the chapters short and bite-sized. To try and keep the momentum going.
All that led to a large chapter count… but a low average word count per chapter. Which I was okay with.
This morning I got some feedback from a source that is NOT biased by being a close friend or family member. I can’t stress how valuable this was to me.
It was pretty good feedback too, so I was pretty happy.
She did mention that she felt like there was an issue with pacing. She also said it was possibly a subjective choice and seemed to be confined to the first 9 or so chapters (each character’s introductions) and then clears up. Still, it got me thinking today about addressing those concerns.
So… I have questions for the masses.
Are you guys and gals writing a similar multi-character story that needs to do world building in the early chapters?
And, if so, how are you guys handling it?
There is an option on the table to just ignore the feedback, maybe I’m happy with how it is. One of the first lessons that my editor mentor-ship taught me was… ‘It’s MY book’. My story.
But now I’m wondering…
Please feel free to chip in and give me your thoughts on the above questions in the comments below. I’d LOVE the feedback!
Love & Books