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Avoiding the "Just one durn thing after another" danger in your book or series.

(First test for possible cover)

Traumatic days at the keyboard.

I decided I needed a rest from short stories, sci-fi or otherwise, a couple of months ago. So I resurrected the book that started me off, many moons ago – a medieval fantasy-style saga called “Realms of Kyre”.

I re-edited the first book, and had it all prepped and proofed; 380 paperback pages, cover sketched out. So that was okay.

Then the second book in the series… I re-read and re-edited that one. 408 pages. Then drastically cut it back to just 350 pages, with a very appropriate finish. And had the proof-reading done.

But I started looking at the later ones - six in the series so far, with a (brilliant) climax. And started working on them as well. They're all written; just need titivating, I thought. But with the re-editing and re-theming, it was messing up the book lengths, and climaxes.

So Book Two had three different possible end-points, The one that made book-lengths more similar to each other was fine, but I didn’t like it ending at that point. The original ending point was much better - my editor (Chris, my wife) said so, too.

(Test design for cover)

BUT – I got to remembering what I read in an advice book once – You must keep up the pace, It must be towards the protagonist’s target. Every scene must add to the central theme. Or, however well-written the scenes are, they become “Just one durn thing after another”.

So that’s where I am – Re-starting through the six-book saga, doing more detailed synopses of each chapter and book. And figuring how and where I can trim it down by around 400 pages, and focussing much more completely on every scene being directly, or at least recognisably contributing, to the theme, or the protagonist’s character, rather than some peripheral aspect of the location/environment/characters. I had whole chapters that are - if I dare tell myself the truth - irrelevant to the main story, and self-indulgent.

I almost wish I hadn’t started – it’s very slow going, and I look like having to cut out a lot of scenes I love and will really miss.

But… got to up the pace and stay on target…

I’ll be glad to get back to short stories when all this is sorted.

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