Updates, updates, updates!

First update: Yes, I am still here. I haven’t been abducted by aliens, or swallowed by giant sandworms, or blinked into an alternate dimension. It’s been a while since I’ve posted mostly because I wanted to make sure I had enough to say, and now… I finally do.

I don’t want to build these updates up too much, of course. It’s not like I’ve landed an agent (wouldn’t that be nice), but I do have more to say than: My brother is still beta-reading for me; I’ll do edits once he’s done.

So here’s the second update: I need to make some MAJOR REVISIONS. My brother, whose help is indispensable, called me up last week and was like, “You definitely want me to be honest, right?”

That’s a “yikes” moment–but one that I would much rather have coming from him rather than in countless rejection letters.

The long and short of it is that I’ve made my characters so unlikable that he didn’t want to finish reading the story. He had to force himself to finish Part One. Ouch, right? Well, yes, but also not surprising. I started planning this story in 2019 and then dove into the biggest part of writing it during COVID. And, like a lot of people, my faith in the human race was at an all-time low during the pandemic.

And it shows. At the time, writing that way was cathartic. But the end result was just way more nihilistic than I really intended for it to be.

And that’s not what I want to put into the world. I’m all for holding up a mirror to society and showing both the good and the bad of what makes us human–but in the midst of COVID-19, I seem to have forgotten the “good” parts.

Now, however, I’m approaching the book a little bit differently. (Because who wants to read a story that’s nothing but complaining about the worst of humanity?) Instead, I’m going to focus this story more on being a love letter to all that I love. When writing, I think it’s important to hold that aforementioned mirror up to society, yes, but I also want the story to be about some of the other things that make me happy. If I work all of those various ideas into the book, I should end up with more relatable characters who will have the reader eagerly turning the pages because they care about what happens to them.

That’s the goal at least. It’s a big edit, but, as the old adage goes: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”

Other updates: My brother pointed out some other inconsistencies and areas that need improvement. One involved doing some research on blood. (You should have seen the look on my fellow librarians’ faces when all of these blood-related books started coming in for me. I think they’re all convinced I’m a vampire.)

Summer Reading is also coming up, which is a busy time at the library, but I’m hoping with enough planning ahead and to-do lists, those programs won’t take away too much of my time and energy. With luck, I’ll have a second draft of Part One done by August.

Key phrase: “With luck.”

So there we go: A goal, a plan, and a whole lot of hopeful thinking. Onward and upward, my friends.

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