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Muffler's Ministry: Redraft Plans

Having spent a lot of the last couple of days discussing the second draft of The Muffler's Ministry with my son, I now know what needs to be done!

His as usual annoyingly expert opinion confirmed a couple of concerns I had about pacing issues and set my mind at rest about others. He also raised a few characterisation problems that need resolving, particularly given what happens. It was oh-so-clear in my mind but didn't come out that way on the page.

I'd also written a short story A Muffler's Reconciliation, which raised a few issues of its own.

Having mulled over his thoughts, I've developed a plan for the next draft of my book. This will be a more significant reworking than I've usually needed, but it'll be worth it as I'm pretty excited by the world I've created, so want to do it justice. I'll start this work later in the week, and I'd anticipate it's likely to take me to around the end of October at the earliest. Given I'll need at least a couple of months to approach agents, then if I end up self-publishing it, that's likely to be in early 2021.

To provide an audit trail to see if I end up doing what I thought, here are my current plans to improve the pacing and the world.

Part One (The Ministry) needs quite a bit of surgery. The first half doesn't need much, but the second half is way too long – all world-building, no plot. It also sets up characters that I don't use for a while, and won't be really important until the second novel in the series. So that's going to be almost entirely re-written, cut to around half its length, and reframed so that it feeds more directly into the main plot.

Parts Two and Three (The Community, The Oracle) will be structurally unchanged, with just some detail of events improved. That will be more straightforward. It's the final part where it gets interesting – and the short story too.

Some of the cut world-building from Part One has a natural home in the first half of Part Four (The Adversary), which needs to spend a little more time in the build-up to the big finale. There's also half of the short story I'd written that would be more effective here, after a little re-purposing.

That means that the final part is going to get a bit too long, but luckily it can be split neatly into two, so we get a new Part Four (The Company) which contains most of the changes, and Part Five (The Adversary).

The final chapter in Part Five was originally called The Cocoon, but it's clear that this semi-epilogue chapter is overly complicated and unsatisfactory. In fact, it and the other half of the short story would serve better as the opening of the next book in the series, so that's where they'll go. There will be a new final chapter called The Island to wrap things up, which will also need a tweak to how the prior chapter finishes.

That leaves me without the short story I'd already written. Oh well, at least it has a new home. I've a few ideas of other short stories, but not sure which I'm going to pick as yet.

At least I have a new cover, as you can see above, and this is pretty close to the final one – assuming I self-publish.

That just leave the topic of the relaunch of my older novels. Well, that will be in the back-burner while I finish off The Muffler's Ministry. I've completed the rework of A Vision of Unity, and part one of A Division of Order, but there's still a long way to go, and I only have one of the short stories ready for Mutterings of Consequence. At least I have my new Amazon KDP and Draft2Digital accounts ready to go.

I reckon given the extra work needed on Mufflers and the speed of rework so far, that I'll be ready for a complete relaunch around mid-December, at which point I'll do all of them together. A birthday treat for me! It's likely to depend upon external issues, like any new Covid restrictions giving me even more time to work on them!

I guess I should be getting on with it...

[Update 24th September 2020]

I have the new short story planned out in my mind at last! It sits neatly between the new ending of The Muffler's Ministry and before what will now happen at the start of The Muffler's Mission. It's called A Muffler's Mourning. Only a little ominous...

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