After completing the first draft and having a “complete story”, I had asked several people to read it and give me their thoughts. I also decided to let it sit for a while and then reread it myself to see what I thought.
Here’s what I thought.
- The story was too depressing. The ending was too negative. Although I had tried to make the story end with what seemed like a major defeat that was actually a major step forward for Lirak, it was too subtle and in rereading it, even I thought it was a major downer.
- There was too much variation in the rivalry between Lirak and Jerok, his brother. I needed to really heighten that tension.
- There was too much of the “invulnerable main characters” thing going on. And not enough sacrifice to hang some key second book plot elements off of.
- There wasn’t enough development of Lirak’s unique abilities.
- There was too much gratuitous sex. Yeah, I think there was one such scene in the book, but that was too much. Mayrie’s trauma was simply too great to be overcome that simply. The sexual tension was just going to have to keep building.
So, anyway, I have addressed some of these with a new draft. I still need to go back and work on the Lirak-Jerok rivalry, and I have a couple of loose ends that I need to either wrap up, or foreshadow for the next book. But I like the new version much better. Besides the improved ending and the better development of Lirak, the scenes I have deleted were rather boring ones, and the scenes I have added are quite dramatic.
I’m getting pretty close now. Really close. The end is in sight.