I’ve recently had the privilege of getting some excellent feedback on Gray Area, which I’d like to get released at some point. This is the kind of book where I really needed feedback, though, because it raises such huge questions and the goal is a book where readers might still be questioning how they feel about it a long time after it ends.
Having another pair of eyes really helps, especially when it comes to blind spots and oversights. Things I didn’t see on my own become a lot clearer when highlighted by a thoughtful reader, especially when it’s things I missed—and holy cow did I miss a big one. I’m taking those notes seriously, so I’ll act on most or maybe all of them. (For a couple I still haven’t figured out how they’d work, but they’ve got me thinking in some new directions which is a good thing all on its own.)
One of those changes involves changing up fully half of one of the two main story arcs, and I’m still trying to figure out how radical a change I can commit to there. This concerns a big reveal that currently happens at the end, and it’s been suggested that it should go in the middle instead. I tend to agree, except there’s an open question of whether that reveal should be complete—fully in the open—or if it should be one-sided. I’d prefer to go with the one-sided option, because that gives me the hope of making surgical changes that will still have a big impact but not require ginormous swaths of new text. The full open approach means basically the present-day portion of the last half needs to be redone to a much larger extent, and I don’t know how I feel about how the truth being fully out would alter the dramatic tension.
Most of the rest falls into the category of tweaks: especially at the beginning where the character arc needs a softer slope, a much more measured approach than is currently shown. I rather suspect I fell into the trap of sticking with the momentum of the original short story in that section, and I couldn’t get past that in my head. Beyond the beginning, there are opportunities to sprinkle some other ideas in that would help sand down the sharp corners and also fill in a few gaps I didn’t realize were there.
This will be an interesting project. The catch is, NaNoWriMo is coming and I want to be totally done with this—or else I’ll need to put it down for quite a while—before November. Preferably it should be a decent amount of time before November so I have a bit of a mental refresher.
During NaNoWriMo I’m going to continue the Paranormal Curio series, and I still have only a handful of ideas to throw at it. But I hope I have enough to come up with a strong narrative. The working title for the next book will be revealed in November.