Okay, so I haven’t taken part in NaNoWriMo (although my daughter, Ness, has, despite her computer crashing on Thanksgiving).
What I have been doing is editing MERLIN’S BLADE in a serious way during November, so I guess you could say I’m taking part in NaNoEdMo, National Novel Editing Month.
The changes are the result of professional feedback from L.B. Graham , S.D. Smith , and Stephen Lawhead … L.B. and S.D. read all of Merlin’s Blade and gave some great constructive feedback. Stephen only read a small portion of my work, but his input is still incredibly valuable, as one might guess.
Here are the big changes:
- A New Beginning … ! I’m bringing back about two and a half chapters that I had previously cut… This will allow for a more natural beginning to the novel and will solidify Merlin’s relationship with Garth. This will then help the reader understand what follows… No fear … this section still has plenty of action and suspense, and even includes a completely new introduction of my primary villain … Morganthu!
- Less Poetry. Oh well, it has to be done… I have 70 lines or so of poetry in Part I, about the same in Part III, but over 250 lines in Part II… I just have to trim that down a bit to give the center of the book more momentum… But never fear, I will either move this poetry to future books or else publish it online… Most of it is orignal Celtic prayers and songs I have written, or Celtic scripture I have “translated”.
- Internal Polish. This is to clarify some minor points that caused confusion. Lots of little things here that will improve the reading experience.
- Name Simplification. Okay, so it was high-time to make the pro-nuns-ification of the names a lot easier… I have simplified the spelling of a lot of the names, come up with a pronounciation guide, as well as a character and location glossarry.
- Name Historicization. Stephen Lawhead suggested this to just make absolute certain that my names are historical. This went hand in hand (if it were possible!) with simplifying the names… The vast majority were already 100% historical, but upon further research, I did have to alter or completely change some of the names. One side-benefit from this research is that I have a completely new, historical and story-based explanation for the name of the High King’s bard, Colvarth.
Overall, MERLIN’S BLADE will be much stronger after this draft , and I am deeply indebted to those that have given me feedback… My sidebar now reflects my progress on the editing.
Those of you who have a copy of my book, I will (if you are interested) make the new draft available to you electronically. At the least, the new beginning of the novel could use some feedback.