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Writing

10K – Old Habits Die Hard

The biggest editing challenge I had with Book 1 was that in the first few drafts, the plot didn’t kick in until about the 30,000 words mark. The whole first third of the book was nothing but world building with my characters reacting to things, which didn’t make for a great reading experience. I needed to chop large passages and re-organise everything to help the book feel pacey and exciting from the beginning.

With Book 2 I knew I couldn’t possibly make the same mistake as:

a) I had done all the heavy lifting of the world building in Book 1

b) I had planned the story ahead of time to ensure the story would be well structured.

So imagine my surprise when I reached 10,000 words on Book 2, and realised the book so far was – you guessed it – nothing but world building and my characters reacting to things.

What the hell happened?

Book 2 takes place in the world of the alien refugee camps, and it’s a complex world that needs explaining and building. I dramatically underestimated how much I needed to set out up front in order for the story to make sense and hang together.

But, at least I caught it early this time – and it’s fixable.

So far, I’ve moved a large chunk of Act 2’s action into the opening sections, which has helped it enormously. Cal and Droov are no longer just looking at things and describing what’s happening. They are now mixed up in the world of the camps from the get go: making friends and enemies and generally making a mess.

This change will likely make this whole first section of the book a bit longer, but it should mean that Cal and Droov are actively involved with this new world, and they discover everything through their interactions, rather than just by having everything described to them.

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