I have learned through experience that when I struggle with a story as much as I have been struggling with BECOME lately, it means there’s something wrong.
It’s time to take a step back and try to figure out what and how to fix it.
And yesterday I might have come up with an answer. Maybe. Not sure yet.
I’ve always known that the structure of BECOME was going to be odd.
I really feel I need to include the background of the brothers’ relationship as adolescents. In the latest iteration, I’ve tried to do that through flashbacks, but that just interrupts the flow of the story and forces the early part of the brothers’ story to be very episodic–only the most important events can be included that way.
Then, of course, there are some important events in the protagonists early manhood. In part, because of the weight of those extensive flashbacks, I’ve been forced to keep those somewhat episodic, too. Because it’s already taken way too long to get to the inciting incident.
And, even then, there’s still going to have to be a major skip in the story because there are a couple of important characters who haven’t even been born yet. (That part, at least, has the possibility of being somewhat fluid. I could make some changes in who those characters are, though I’m not sure I want to. I’ve intended more to use that as a cut-off between the first and second books of the series–which, unfortunately, tends to end book one on something of a cliffhanger.)
The result of all of this is that I’m not happy with the story as it’s developed so far. And if I’m not happy with it, I can’t expect anyone else to be either. So, then, the question is what to do about it.
I think, though I haven’t made a final decision yet, that one answer might be to break it up. For example, I might just reconstruct the brothers’ early story–I have a lot more written than I’ve been able to include in those flashbacks–and publish that in novella form. Maybe certain other parts of the early story, too–in a separate novella. Then start this first part of the main story line much closer to that inciting incident and move forward.
I’ve got to think about this some more before I jump in. It’s an unconventional way to publish an epic fantasy. It’s not too unusual to publish prequels, but they’re usually published after the series is complete, not before. On the other hand, that’s one of the advantages of indie publishing–it allows me to try unconventional things when I think it’s the right way to handle the story. And I can always bundle the novellas together. Even include then with that first book.
Well, we’ll see.