[Note: This post concerns my first novel, THE REFLECTING STONE, which is nearing completion. This posting is not related to the last posting, which concerns the hypothetical novel to be used for the Parallel Writing Project. That plot is totally unrelated.]
I'm getting back into my first novel, THE REFLECTING STONE. I reread the first half yesterday. I hadn't read it since I wrote it, and I didn't remember some of the new twists and turns I put in when creating the 2nd draft. So, I really had a sense of reading it "for the first time" and it was quite interesting to have that experience. Usually I work so much with my manuscripts that I virutally memorize them word-for-word, and even after taking some weeks off I go back to them with virtually the same sense of them that I had while working on them. So, this was quite a pleasure, a chance to actually read and wonder just how a chapter might end -- I really didn't know!
When I wrote the 2nd draft I focused on shortening the chapters and putting a lot of twists and turns in to keep things moving, focused, and surprising along the way. It all makes sense, nothing is there that doesn't fit the storyline exactly, yet I used misdirection to suggest things were going one way when suddenly they went another way, or otherwise the MC ran into snags a lot more quickly than he was anticipating. It was a lot of fun to read an escape scene where he went to great lengths to extricate himself from the dungeon only to find himself surrounded again by the enemy by the end of the chapter. I suppose it wasn't fun for him, but as a reader I had a distinct sense of tension, release, heightened tension. Virtually every chapter succeeded with this in a way that was satisfying to read.
This evening I'll read the second half of the novel, then starting tomorrow I'll reflect and make some decisions about what to keep and what needs to fixing. Most of this is to a point where I could just edit it and be done with it, provided I want to keep the storyline as-is. I might want to tighten it up a bit, or try another approach. Also, I'm still debating on the prose style. I put a lot of effort into developing a tight and fast-moving style. It works well overall. I can still see ways to edit on the micro-level, tightening even more. I rewrote the first scene some time ago using a different style, and reread that yesterday as well. It's really good, but it is a different style. So, there are lots of questions as to exactly how I want this to read, but one thing is definitely clear: the story itself is very close to complete at this time. I can definitely see where my hard work over the past year and a half has resulted in a well-developed and intriguing story. I certainly hope it finds a publisher, since it is a compelling and worthwhile novel, IMHO, which is the reason I have continued working so long with it.