I’ve been working since September, putting a “final” polish on my six-volume epic heroic fantasy, The Black Ring. I had thought, when I last worked on it in February 2015, that it was finished and done, but I decided to go over it one more time. And most of it is okay, but some of it is not.
At the moment, I’m in the middle of chapter 108 in volume six. I last worked on it a little over two years ago. And these few pages are a mess. Descriptions are incomplete, out of place, contradictory, or impossible to visualize. Characters are not responding to suddenly being someplace strange, or suddenly in an altered physiology, or are just standing and talking without doing anything. It’s depressing and frustrating, because the last time I read these pages, in February 2015, they seemed to be just fine, and I thought I was done with them.
Some chapters go smoothly, with just a little polish needed. Others take more work, dealing with wording and phrase order more appropriate to non-fiction than to story. The first pages in many chapters need more work, if there has been a change of scene or time. But the few pages I spent six hours on yesterday were especially bad. I guess I must have been very tired when I read it two years ago. I have since learned that when I feel tired, I should take a brief break. Or even a nap.
But then, too, I’ve learned a lot since then, and I keep on learning. My voice is becoming more distinctive, and more consistent. My style is becoming clearer, and more consistent, and is different from what it was. It’s easier for me to distinguish between text appropriate for non-fiction and that which works best with fiction. So I shouldn’t feel bad about those pages not having been written well, the way I see them now. I should feel good about being able to see that now, and being able to set it right before anybody else reads it and decides to stop right there. Like I did.
But it is still depressing, and frustrating, and exhausting.