I thought the first book was done. 88,000 words. I was happy. My son was happy. And then I started reading Jane Smiley’s Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel. And I am starting to think about our novel in new ways. Darn it!
I have always feared the characters were a little thin and the plot lacked something, and Smiley has given me some ideas of how to improve them. So I guess it is back to the drawing board with this first book. Not entirely, of course, but I am back to working on it. My son and I are supposed to be talking about it seriously tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes. Maybe he will convince me it is perfect the way it is — except we both know it isn’t.
What really made me start to doubt the first book was the way the second book is going. It is much richer in only 6 chapters than the first one is. The characters are richer. Of course, they are the same characters as in the first book, so they should be different. There should be growth. But I can see that I need to give them a better base in the first book. I am already seeing how that will strengthen the plot.
So I am happy that we know we have to do this revision. Glad that we discovered the need before we tried to send it off to an agent.
Wish us luck!