Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Spectraland Saga: Origin Story, Part Five

Read parts one through four here:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

After I started composing the first draft of Book One in late December of 2010, I set a goal for myself: I would write an average of 400 words a day, no matter what else was going on in my life. If that meant I had to stay up late or wake up early - or both - then so be it. It sounded pretty daunting at the time. Apparently, though, the ideas just came flowing out, because somehow, I was able to finish an 80,000-word draft by the end of April 2011 (appropriately, Autism Awareness Month) - which was more like a 650-700 word-a-day pace.
It's not how fast you write, it's how well you write fast
Naturally, a lot of that draft was utter garbage. I had an entire chapter near the beginning devoted to how Joel got his job at Art's guitar store in the first place, which was kinda interesting - to me, anyway - but really had nothing relevant to add to the story as a whole. Basically, the draft meandered around a lot, and it took a while before Joel even got to Spectraland at all. My friend and fellow author Roslyn McFarland, who was one of my beta readers, said something to the effect of: "It's a little hard to tell where this book is going, or what it's about." My son, another beta reader, was even more direct. After I gave him the draft, a few weeks went by and he didn't say a word about it. So, one day I asked him: "Hey, uh...have you read the book yet?" Him, somewhat sheepishly: "Well, I started it, but...I got kinda bored."

Well, then! Quickly realizing that they were right, I went back and axed a good 5,000 words or so from the beginning of the book and rewrote the first few chapters. The result was a first act that moved along a lot quicker and firmly established the story as a portal fantasy (Narnia, etc.) and not some weird dissertation about how a teenage kid should go about finding employment. So, in the immortal words of Emmet Brickowski, everything is awesome now, right?

Next: Rewriting...Will It Ever End?

P.S. If you've read Book One (the final version), please take a few minutes to leave a review of it at its Amazon page here. Ditto for Book Two. Mahalo!

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