At the end of April I received back the developmental edits for Cleansing River, but since then my progress has stalled and I find myself in the position of having not worked Cleansing River for over a month. Now you might assume that this is because I was disappointed by the comments from my editor, that they meant Cleansing River was a terrible book. But this is not the case.
My editor was very complementary about Cleansing River, but identified several issues that are holding it back. Issues that need addressing, and are severely holding the book back if I let them be. I agreed with everything my editor identified, but the problem was that I wasn’t entirely sure exactly how to solve them. Some of the issues involve me not explaining certain events or book concepts properly, things that need to be set up properly from the start or else severely hamper Gerda’s story.
Basically the book is around 80% of the way there but for some reason this final 20% seems so much harder to work through than what has come before. So I hid, I stuck my head in the sand, neglected my book and focused on my other job and my family. However, although I haven’t been consciously working on Cleansing River I think my subconscious brain has been working on it. I woke up this morning with a plan fully formed in my mind.
Part of this plan is inspired by attending the UK Games Expo last week, (reigniting my desire to write an RPG in the world I have created) but mainly realising I need to focus on the basics, making sure that journey times across Gapone are consistent, or solidifying the rules of Shifting (nearly there but several details missing or glossed over). I am still nervous about the sheer amount of work involved in taking this book to where it needs to be.
This week I have 1 full day of writing time, and I can hopefully grab another 2 sessions during the week. My first task is drawing a map of Gapone, complete with travelling times. My next job is to put Cleansing River through something called a story grid. Basically working out exactly what happens in each chapter and thus deciding where I need to put more detail in. (One of the key recommendations was for more of everything. More insights into Gerda’s mind, more worldbuilding, more consequences and more showing why things have happened.)
I have a lot of work ahead of me but feel confident that I can do this. I just need to keep going.