So, after procrastinating like mad (my specialty), I finally got around to reading the first book of the trilogy that I wrote back in November. Several things stood out to me. The first was that the human part was pretty well developed and pretty interesting. That reflects what I was told by the generous people (of which there were at least three, if I remember right); they continued reading to the second book because they cared about what happened to the humans and their various struggles. For lack of a better word, they seemed human. The bits about the humanoids dragged painfully through most of the story, because I was telling it from one perspective and until the end, he didn’t actually do much. This could have been avoided if his world was developed a bit more, but as it wasn’t, it was him sitting around until he had brief bursts of activity. The squids were worse, and I realized why by the end of it. Except for the bits which were plot relevant, they might as well have simply disappeared. I mean, okay, most of them are more like worker ants than individuals, but it doesn’t go quite that far. There has to be some sort of society, and I know there isn’t the faintest trace of one, because I didn’t come up with it and it’s not like it’s just going to appear because I want it to. By the end of the third book, I’d grabbed in a number of squids about whom nothing had ever been said before because I needed to get my words down, and I think that in a rewrite, most/all of them should be pulled back to the first book so that the reader can get a look at the actual world from their perspective.
But something really hit home about how this is really, really not a first book type of thing unless I was just stupid-lucky and it was stupid-good. (And for the record, while I’m sure that eventually I’m due an attack of stupid-lucky, I don’t think this book is even close to being stupid-good. I think the idea is really interesting, but I don’t know that I articulated it well). For the sake of clarity, I opened up a new document before I started doing anything with the first book. I wrote down all the characters who should have at least semi-important story arcs. For the first book, there are 19 characters on that list. I could whittle down a few (I could get rid of some of the squids, forex), but I’m not getting the list down to a dozen, I know that. And that’s just the first book. In the second and third books, whole new worlds and characters are introduced. Because I don’t want to think about it, I’d put a rough guess at about three dozen characters by the end of Book 3 which are supposed to have storylines and whose actions are in some way relevant to the grand scheme of things.
Do I think it’ll be a great book/series one day? Absolutely. I’d scrap it if I didn’t think it had real potential. But underneath the crap, I can see that there’s something real there. Once I flesh out the 19 character arcs (in just a couple of sentences, mind. Where they are at the beginning, the middle, and the end is all), I’ll figure out how the squids live when they’re not busy attacking or dying – which is really all they were good for during the books as is, and I’ll figure out more about the humanoid setting, too. And then I’ll start the rewrite. I plan to be ready to start rewriting by the middle of February.
Where are the other pieces at? Well, I gave Just a Glimpse a read, and I struggled through it. I like the idea behind it, but the gem is even more distant than it is in the trilogy. And that makes me a little sad. I haven’t read either of the two 50k ones yet, but I plan to.