The Skein's taken a back seat for the last couple of weeks while I've been preparing the second draft of Perspective.
Thanks to some brilliantly detailed feedback from my son - it took us eight solid hours to talk through it - I came away with a list of changes I wanted to make.
Some things were clarifying issues that were obvious in my head but didn't come across on the page. This also affected some characters, so that their personal journeys through the stories weren't as believable as I intended.
There were occasions too where my story suffered from hero syndrome, where characters went along with Jemma too easily when they really should have been telling her not to be so stupid.
There was a character death that I really should have realised was unnecessary and insensitive (think Dr Culber in Star Trek Discovery). That plot strand definitely needed revising, and I'm glad I did - it's also given me a really nice character moment in the finale that was lacking before.
Most of that was fairly minor - the odd short scene slotted in the earlier sections, tweaks to conversations and one character arc. I even swapped the sex of one secondary character too which helped resolve a couple of small issues in the final section.
Most significant issues were in the last couple of sections, particularly in the run-up to the finale. Some character motivations came across as being necessary for the story, rather than being believable. I think I was so keen to get to the resolution that I didn't give the story, the characters, and the world, time to breathe. So there's some significant rejigging of the final chapters, a few major new scenes and the story generally unfolds at a much better pace.
The biggest change of all was the epilogue chapter. To use a technical term, the first version was rubbish. So I threw it away and started again. I'm much happier this time - I could tell it was working better as I felt quite emotional by the time I got to the end. It was a much more fitting way to say goodbye to the characters and world I've grown to know over the last few months of my life.
So that's it, the second draft is done. It's nearly 10,000 words longer than the first draft, but the story is better for it. It's ended up only just under the word count of my last novel, The Stream. It feels like the right length.
I'm going to take a break for a couple of days before giving it one more read through. My son's going to give the changes a look over too.
After a final polish, it'll be time to prepare it for submission to see if anyone else might be interested in Perspective. We'll see. I'm pretty pleased with how it's turned out.