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Good advice for writers. I've got a fundamentally useless story I wrote--a big one, six hundred pages--which had all the inspiration squeezed right out of it by doing the things this article says not to do. The final story is complete and thorough and completely uninteresting to anyone but me.
Fortunately it's not set in my SF universe, and can be safely locked in a cabinet or something until years after my death...at which point someone will dust it off and say, "OMG it's an unpublished Ed Hering novel!!!" (hopefully) and race to publish it. You know, like Heinlein's For Us, the Living. Something you wouldn't want to publish, but which will keep your estate in the black for decades after you're gone because people are that desperate to read something you've written.
I'm not exactly Heinlein, though. *sigh*
People who have read a certain rough draft of mine (call it "Novel #1") apparently don't hear it when I say, "It's a rough draft and it's missing about 1/3 of the story I wanted to tell." What I want to do is to add that 1/3 into the story and then run it by an editor, someone who can tell me what to cut and what to tighten up, someone who won't mind arguing with me about it. But I'm going to copy about 90% of the story verbatim from one version to the next. Once I get back into working on it, that is.
The current rewrite project (which ends up being Novel #4) is actually the third or fourth version of the story; but it'll be the last. Version 1.0 was high school trash, started when I was 15 and finished about a year or so later. Version 2.0 was much better, written in the mid-90s, but still suffering from a lot of serious problems. There have been attempts at rewrites since then, versions 2.1 and 2.2, both of which stalled; this one, at least, has actually made it to the big turning point in the novel and should now progress all the way to a proper conclusion...at which point it will be taken off the "to-do" list, permanently. All it will need then is editing.
So once these two are dealt with, the next project is to do something about Novel #2. It's set about 200 years after Novel #1, and it has so much wrong with it I'm not sure where to start. Well--start with fixing the "whodunit" portion of the novel, because it's too haphazard, but there are other problems I want to fix.
#4 is set between #2 and #3; Novel #3 is the end of the big story that ties #1, #2, and #3 together. My aim is to set it up so that you don't need to read all the books, as each one contains a complete story; nor in any particular order...but if you do read them all you leave the last novel with no unanswered questions.
Then there's #5, 6, 7, and 8. #5 is set in the period immediately before #1 and will probably be an anthology of short stories with a central theme.
#6 is a few grains of the first novel I ever wrote--meaning that some of the characters are the same, and a few of the situations come from the original work. But since the original work was total shit (first novel, started when I was twelve) #6 is obviously not going to resemble the original story at all. It's taking me some time to figure out how to tell the story, though, because it's complex and big, but it'll be a good read, I think.
#7 is not actually necessary. I make references to things that happen in #7 throughout the entire ouerve so this will be a paean to the fans, if any: "Hey, I remember reading about that in XYZ! Cool!"
#8, finally, is probably a trio of novellas under one title, and contains the stories that are set in the earliest years of the setting. More stuff I refer to in #1, 2, and 3, not necessary but fun. People who wonder, "What was it like on XX when YY happened? How did ZZ go down?" will read this one.
Oh: I've also got some "scribbling, bibbling, bibbling, scribbling" which could eventually lead to #9 and #10, set in the far future (like 5000 AD) and looking at the interstellar society from two different angles.
So it's kind of scary to consider how much of this stuff is rattling around in my brain. This is the first time I've really laid it all out like this, and when I come to realize that I've basically got ten novels worth of material to write I start to feel a little daunted.
I suppose I ought to get cracking.