This morning I had to suffer through a seriously boring training session for a DNA software module that I will never use (yet I am somehow expected to write a manual for it even though I know absolutely ZILCH about processing DNA). I tried to pay attention and follow what was going on, but after about twenty minutes of listening to the analysts talk about quantifying something-or-others I finally gave up and succumbed to wandering-mind syndrome which led to me making a lot more notes for my Lucifer novel. At least I looked busy!
In the process of my quiet brainstorming I started thinking about the first novel I ever wrote. I ran across a hardcopy of it over the Thanksgiving holiday and sat down to read the thing. I wrote it about a dozen years ago, a Big Fat Fantasy novel which clocked in at about 170K words–and that was just “Book One.” It was very much a First Novel, a total wish-fulfillment piece with a main character who resembled myself to a degree that had me writhing in embarrassment as I reread it. However, I thought that perhaps it could be rewritten/edited to fix that and some of the other weaknesses. Perhaps take it apart and rework it, and make it better.
So, I took a day out and deconstructed it. (Deconstructing novels is pretty much how I learned how to write mysteries. I took several of my favorite mystery novels and took them apart, going through chapter by chapter. I essentially wrote out a synopsis for each one, then studied how the author worked in false trails and action and suspense and tension.) And in the process of tearing apart this first novel of mine I discovered something: It’s not… bad, but it sure as heck isn’t good. Lots of tropes, heavy-handed romantic overtones, cardboard characters, thin plots… you get the idea. But, the cool thing was that I could SEE this. I could see the weaknesses that I’d been oblivious to a decade ago. (Heck, even just a few years ago!) And, I could see ways that the book could be made Good, and Different, and–in my opinion–pretty darn Cool. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any realistic way to do this by just rewriting and editing the existing book. At the most I miiiiiight be able to salvage some scenes, but overall the darn thing would basically have to be rewritten from scratch.
Perhaps I’ll put that on my list of Books I Intend To Write.