With three tales of Hokage the samurai now out there in the world (visit www.heroicfantasyquarterly.com to have a read) I have been at work on a trilogy of novels to explore Hokage’s world in greater scope and detail. I unambitiously describe the project as a cross between Shogun and The Lord of the Rings.
I recently pooled the notes from my excellent beta readers and am now roughly 1/4 of the way through the first major revision of book I. (Book II exists as a complete outline and III exists as a partial outline.) If all goes well, the current draft of the novel will be finished before the 2013 – 2014 school year begins and my free time vanishes like a gambler’s paycheck.
Revision has been a challenge. Going into it, I felt rather adrift — as if I hadn’t gone through the whole thing several times with Windwalkers. (Even now, roughly one year later, that work seems grueling to me. I’m extremely lucky to have had a top notch editor in Henry Snider, who prodded me to fix problems large and small and definitely helped transform Windwalkers into a better book than it was when I handed it to him.)
Furthermore, many of the comments I got from any one beta reader were echoed by another, or several, but some were directly contradictory. And, while the feedback was extremely helpful and unnervingly accurate, it’s been tricky trying to solve the various problems folks have pointed out to me. I’ve also found that, because I have a writer’s ego, I have to process the comments and digest them until they seem like my own observations that some other very clever people were willing to reiterate for me. Once it seems like it was my idea all along I have a much easier time of incorporating it into my work. It is, admittedly, rather silly, but that way it feels less intrusive to me — I’m not doing someone else’s writing, I’m doing my own.
In any event, the process certainly has served to reinforce in my mind — if it were at all necessary — the value of good beta readers. I can’t be certain that I’m implementing the changes as well as I ought to be, but I am completely confident that the book will be substantially improved when I finish.
Then, of course, there’s the small matter of the next round of revisions and edits and, assuming I survive all of that with my minimal remaining sanity sufficiently intact, looking for someone who’s willing to bring the thing to life in print.
So, if you’ve given this a read and you’re with me, wish me luck! I’ll happily take every little bit that I can get my karmic fingers on.