Lessons from the Writing Process: Book 3

The time is rapidly approaching to turn over book 3 of the Azellian Affairs to my editor. This is quite a landmark for me, considering this book has taken me quite a bit longer than I expected. Some of this was due to the vagaries of life—when one is a mostly self published author working with a small vanity press, things in life sometimes happen that cause delays in publication—but a large portion of it was because it took me a while to write the book. 

I actually wrote the first draft of book 3 in November of 2017. The first draft didn’t take very long—I wrote the 100,000 draft over a six or seven day period of time. However, that first draft was really quite rough. As I’ve shared before, one of the difficulties with having an entire series in my head is making sure I’m not stuffing too MUCH information into each story and thereby losing the audience. This is particularly tricky in the case of a science fiction/world building story. I’ve lived with these characters since I was in my teens, so I know them and their world quite well. The reader doesn’t live in my head to know it without my conveying it to them. When I handed book 3 to my editor in the summer of 2018 to do a developmental edit/first overview, her questions gently showed me that I had jammed WAY too much into the story. 

So I tore it apart, essentially re-writing it, separating out perspectives and narrowing the focus considerably. A few things happened as a result: 1) the story went into directions I really didn’t expect, taking on a richness and depth of human experience that surprised me, although on the highest levels it didn’t change much in terms of theme 2) I realized that the higher level story I’m telling has two very distinct parts. There’s the human/drama/romance element, as told by the main character, Tamara, and there’s a very science fiction element that I’ve been hinting at for the past two books. There is a very complex, involved culture that I’m starting to reveal, with some fascinating beings who are catching my fellow sci-fi fans’ attention. 

There is, as always, the spiritual/consciousness element that comes through on both sides—but this meta-theme doesn’t affect either the sci-fi or the romance threads, at least not enough to cause me to completely change direction. The romance and sci-fi threads, however, are quite distinct and very different in terms of marketing, creating a bit of a dilemma. 

Where  this is all taking me? Do I change the main character? Do I write a related offshoot story that is more sci-fi and less romance/drama? Does it mean the current story will evolve and change into something else? Each of these paths has a particular consequence—change is inevitable, but not always welcomed (one of themes of book 3, actually). I don’t know yet. This is being revealed to me in every moment as it is being revealed to those who read what I write. I’ve learned over the past four years and the publication of two books—I can’t rush whatever is being written through me. I can only listen, write and produce and hope that what I am putting out can touch those that read it in the highest and best possible way.