Considering what my blog post was about last week, you'd think that I'd remember. But nooooo.
This week I've got queries to send out, two books I'm editing and another that needs a full overhaul. A few years ago (for NaNo, of course) I wrote a novel. I was so excited about it that I started writing the sequel in December (*wince*) and finished the third in the series about mid-year. I'm now working on number five, and the middle three are pretty good. Not perfect yet, but getting there.
The problem is that the first book is a disaster. When I wrote it I thought it was great, I was excited about the characters (who show up in later books) but there was just something...wrong. Three years later I'm still working on book 1 and it's not there yet.
In the second rewrite I decided I needed to personify the antagonist, which brought in another story-arc and complicated the story some more. It was already too complicated. So maybe I was following the wrong MC, except that I already had eight POV characters and adding another one...
I decided I should be following the little sister, who was already a POV character. The story took off on a tangent and got even more complicated. But at this point I could see that there was a good core.
There were three main storylines at this point, and six POV characters in a book that's less than 70k. When I started this most recent rewrite I knew I had to make some hard decisions. The problem is, I love these characters and in order to get a good view of what's really going on they're all necessary. Another part is that one major storyline starts twenty years or so before the story begins (which might end up being another novel later on, but I can't think about that right now). I already cut out three unnecessary POV's (although not the characters) and two sub-plots that just made a hash of the whole thing.
OK, so here I am with a gordian plot, and I'm afraid that the only way to unravel it is to take a sword to it.
There are four main plots: Ilin, Kobi and their family, Erinyo/Alit/Samok, and Lord Motsu and his family. All four intertwine. But the Kobi/Alit storyline is the least interesting of the four and Ilin could take most of that which would take the storylines down to three. Erinyo is there for most of Lord Alit's scenes, which should consolidate the plotline even more. So if I remove the Alit/Kobi plotline I can still make the story work.
With that taken care of I'm down to six POV characters--Ilin, Shadyel, Erinyo, Samok, Lady Inata and Lord Motsu (Father and daughter) so all the plots are represented--finally, no one is peripheral. These are also the main characters.
Another plot/complication is removed by taking Kobi out of the situation. Her "story" can be introduced later without any problem, which also means that Samok isn't a main player any more. The story is now down to two major plotlines and five POV characters. I don't want to take Lady Inata out, but she only has two POV scenes anyway so I can leave her in. Her father, on the other hand, is the secondary villain, and while he only has three POV scenes those scenes could easily be split between Inata, Erinyo and Ilin.
So four POV characters and two major plotlines, if I can make this thing work.
Don't know whether to feel relieved or irritated.
If you caught the historical/mythological reference, let me know in the comments or on my Facebook author page (LaurenRitzTheWriter) for a chance to win either a novel critique or a copy of one of my books.