Lets get the bad news over with first- Empire won’t be ready for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
The good news? I’m giving myself time to make it the quality it deserves to be! I continue to be amazed at the improvements made as I work on it. I don’t want to submit something that isn’t truly a breakthrough novel. Empire will be, eventually.
I used to fear editing. I made such drastic changes that things began to warp into all the wrong shapes. I’m completely thrilled with the editing process I’m using with this work.
I always had a feeling my writing was more suited to novel-length works. Reading what I wrote this summer has confirmed that to me. I tend to be hyper detailed. I have to know a scene and character backwards and forwards- something that makes writing shorter works harder to create to my satisfaction.
There are a few scenes I want to rethink. The ending fourth of the work especially needs some scaffolding and resolution strengthening. Overall, the book is much better than I could have dreamed.
That said, the more I work on it, the more I realize it won’t be for everyone. I expect more than a few low scored reviews from people that don’t like how passive my main character is. I also think some people will find it a bit slow. I’m prepared for that, but it’s the story. I could try to make it more attractive to a mass audience, but I would have to change things that are important to me to do so. I will write more action-packed stories in the future, but that’s not this book.
As I read and edit, it also becomes clearer to me that this book is about fear. Not just regular fears- spiders, heights, clowns, etc- but fear of action. Fear of taking steps to change the things that make our lives harder. Fear of looking past the things we can’t change and to the (perhaps smaller, but still very important) things we can.
As I work through this very important year in my teaching career, I have to balance my paying job with my writing. Empire will be finished soon, but I want to do so in a manner which lets it be all it can be, while not ignoring my other responsibilities in life. I’m sad it won’t make this contest, but it wouldn’t win in the state it’s in right now.
I want this work to be the highest quality I can provide at my current ability level. That is way more important than meeting a date for a contest.
Check back for more updates.