I’ve had yet another writing epiphany that builds on the last one I had, and it means still more work, but it’s work that will make things better.
Previously, I realized I hadn’t given my heroine an underlying desire that wasn’t driven by the main plot. I rewrote the first book to weave that in, and it really took the book up a notch.
Yesterday, I finished going through another draft of the second book in the series and figured it was just about done. Then I drafted some potential back-cover copy, and I realized that there was a plot element I highlighted in the cover copy that wasn’t actually in the book all that much. There’s a scene in which they talk about this being a potential danger, but nothing comes of it.
That means I need to fix the book. Yeah, it would be easier to rewrite the cover copy, but without this element, the book sounds less interesting. There are no stakes (there are some stakes in the book, but they only become clear when you know who the culprit is, so explaining what’s at stake would spoil the mystery). This morning, as I was brainstorming about how I should deal with all this, I realized that I had the wrong underlying emotional story for the heroine. It was the opposite of what it should have been, based on what I added to the previous book based on my last epiphany, and when I shifted the perspective with that in mind, it gave emotional stakes to the big-picture stakes. It was like all the light bulbs went off at once.
This means yet another rewrite, but if I don’t get the first couple of books in a series right, readers won’t keep up with the rest of the books. This is when I need to make the readers fall in love with the characters and want to read more about them, so I need to get the characterization and emotional stories right.
I really should have written the back-cover copy up front. That’s what I usually do because it’s a good way to test the plot and see what the selling points are. If you can’t make your story idea sound interesting in a few paragraphs, you have work to do, and the things you highlight in your sales copy should be things that play a prominent role in the book.
I guess it’s good that I keep learning and figuring out new things this far into my writing career.