The revisions on Book Five are complete. I submitted the manuscript yesterday. I’m already into book Six. I finished adjusting the chapter sequence for story flow yesterday and made it into chapter three last night.
For the most part what I have been doing throughout the revision for the entire series is looking for redundancies and removing them. I have needed to amply some descriptions and made other minor changes to be consistent throughout the series. One can only do this while working on all the books. You see – when you write a series it is easy to forget some little details. That is why programs like Scrivener are probably an asset for writing longer works of fiction. But I composed this entire series using MS Word. Over the years I have edited it and revised it several times using either MS Word or Open Office. I could import it into Scrivener and sort of reverse engineer the story, adding in index cards for each chapter to help keep thing straight, but at this point that would take more time than necessary.
At this point I know the story very well. Since I wrote the first part of it almost thirteen and a half years ago I have read and reread it dozens of times. But what happens with revisions is that a part will be eliminated that impacts other parts of the story. One change begets a domino effect for every part that follows. Fortunately I’m not making major changes anymore. But still, I am finding small details that related to things that have been removed in prior revisions. This is a very good reason to revise and edit books while sober and undistracted. Lately I have been doing my revisions without listening to music or only playing music that I have listened to often enough hat it no longer distracts my attention – which means I’m listening to a lot of older stuff like 70’s music.
There may be a few things that will be tweaked as the books progress through substantive editing and content editing, but I’m pleased with he story flow and the story arc, the latter is difficult to do with a story that spans several books. There is a master plot for the series, of course. But I found it essential for the telling to maintain he integrity of the three main sections as originally composed. So, while there are pieces of story that help build toward the conclusion of the series, the immediate focus in to conclude the interim crises and conflicts.
The first second of the story I wrote was the middle part that now spans five books. As the entire series will be produced the lengths of the books and even the number of books may change. And so this 3500 page, ten book series may be presented as seven or eight longer books. Those are decisions that will be made in the course of substantive edits. But as the series has been adjusted and paced the first section comprises five books. Each book has an overall theme directed to the part of the story – in this case the One Pack section – as well as and individual book theme. The conflicts, climaxes and resolutions work the same way. There are major ones that span five books and also one that spans the entire series, but then there are conflicts that are resolved in a shorter span. I’m not sure this level of complexity to the plot could have been achieved had the series been composed in a more traditional way, one book at a time.
Some writers use outlines and have a great deal of structure from the initial planning of the story. Although I have composed books in that manner it is not the way I created The Wolfcat Chronicles. I developed the characters first, worked on some dialogue and then followed the characters around in their interactions. The first 413 page draft of One Pack lacked a good deal of detail and had gaping holes in the plot, however, the basic story idea was there. In revisions more things were explored, more conflicts presented and, as the story grew the complexity of the plot increased. Also the characters became more realistic with internal conflicts compelling their actions. Other, secondary characters were added in and eventually the story expanded to over 1200 pages.
In the course of writing The Last Wolfcat, which was envisioned as a three book series from the outside, the story was composed as the main characters were followed. At some point midway through composing the second book of that section, I was involved in editing a children’s book. My publisher at the time suggested I write a children’s book based on the wolfcats. His thinking was that it might be a quick way to get a book out with the basic character ideas. He was concerned that I was engaged in a never-ending writing project – and to some extent so was I.
I writing the ‘kids story’ I decided to do a prequel to One Pack beginning with when the two wolfcats, Ela’na and Rotor, were young. Although the story quickly evolved to be anything but a children’s book, I learned things about the characters that needed to be feathered in and corrected throughout the entire series that followed. And so, midway through the second book of the Last Wolfcat, I performed a massive revision to One Pack and completed Spectre of Dammerwald (the two book prequel) before continuing to tell the concluding part of the story.
Although I completed the tenth book I was never totally satisfied with how the book ended. I have since figured out why I had issues with it. The concluding part will be rewritten with this current revision and will tie into Fried Windows, a yet to be published book called The Power of X and an as yet untitled book that is the sequel to The Power of X. These books follow the Brent Woods character who appears in The Last Wolfcat and also give insight into Ela’na’s adventures on Earth and much more detail about th offspring of Rotor and Ela’na.
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