Yesterday I came to a painful realization. Much of the material I have written over the last few weeks may need to be discarded, in particular the latest fifteen pages for chapter 17. It just doesn’t seem to work.
Writing it is less an exciting endeavor and more an exercise in tedium. Not enough happens in these chapters so I either need to spice up the sequence of events or combine them into one. The latest chapter, for which I have written a fair amount, just doesn’t seem to be coming together. I have conversations that run for several pages, as many as seven some times. Dialogue is of course an important plot driver in fiction, and the dialogue here is crucial. But it runs too long. I don’t want this book to consist of conversations that last fifteen or twenty pages. That’s not high fantasy and adventure.
What really bugs me is there just doesn’t seem to be the right kind of build up for my conclusion. I am on the cusp of a major set piece, the most elaborate series of action sequences in the novel and the centerpiece of the entire story. Everything has been building up to this. This is where the characters have their arcs settled, where the villains are done away with (until the next book) and the set piece to end them all takes center stage. A battle between two dragons. The build up to that better be damn good.
Also, there is often a lack of suspense. One of the driving forces to the action is a character needing to be rescued, yet there isn’t enough mention of him and there aren’t any little tidbits that make the threat seem genuine. You know how it goes when a character you love is in jeopardy and you go through page after page wondering if they’re still okay. It is a nail biter. As it stands now, there isn’t much of a nail biter here.
I’ll need some further time to collate this novel, because most of the material we have up to now is really good, and there is plenty of this latest attempt I can and will keep. But it’s just not ready to be put to the page yet. Something is missing. Funny thing is it may be the smallest little detail that strings it all together, something that once found it will seem like it was there all along.
Maybe I wasn’t quite ready to come back yet. Maybe it has just been an off week. I don’t know. But I do know that if I don’t have fun writing it, people probably won’t have fun reading it. It will take a bit to get that spirit of fun back, but when it comes, I will finally finish this draft.