Working on: revising Worth Searching For
I finished revisions! I didn't really have too much to change, but there were still some areas that badly needed work.
Is it weird that I was excited about having to retool an entire episode in this story? Managing information just makes me really happy I guess! (Is that why I like baseball so much? So many stats!) There's something so satisfying about making a story the best it can be, and making sure it falls in line with future stories so that the whole body of work flows as a harmonious whole.
So upon taking another look at the Caxton Bank chapters, I realized Isengrim's role in the whole thing just wasn't working. In earlier versions, when he learned their granary had been destroyed by a Monocerous, he was angry at them for not fighting to defend their village from the creature, not understanding that they were farmers and not warriors like his Werelupe pack, and initially refused to help them, believing that they were weaklings who deserved their fate. Terra had to give him a crash course on how kings are supposed to actually protect their subjects, and how he shouldn't be pushing them around and making them afraid of him, and then abandoning them when they need him.
Problem is, that worked with Isengrim's initial, not-very-well-thought-out personality, but not at all with the personality I actually discovered he has as I continued to write him (yes, characters work that way). Isengrim isn't stupid, he's an excellent leader (hence why he's the Werelupe King), and he is naturally a very protective, generous, selfless person. But at the time of WSF he was also extremely xenophobic and had a huge chip on his shoulder from all the antagonism he and his Werelupes got everywhere they went. So his anger at the Caxton Bank situation should stem from taking out his frustration on the peasants who label him a monster and a tyrant, and it's up to Terra to explain to him that he's just perpetuating the cycle by acting in exactly the way Werelupes have been stereotyped. Isengrim will have to let go of his anger and pride to actively foster peace between his Werelupe pack and their non-Werelupe subjects.
I'm also feeling quite pleased that I seem to have grown as a writer even in the two or three years since I last revisited this story, as I keep finding other places that need polishing or sometimes even altering. For example, I cut out an entire conversation between Isengrim and Terra at the end of chapter 16, because while it was cute, I realized it just didn't add anything to the plot or their character development, and did not really wrap up the whole episode in a way that drove home the important lessons learned. I think their new conversation at the end of the chapter does a much better job of that.
Also, I had a lot of fun playing up Skoll's being a manipulative jerk to Pharazon. It's so dreadfully confusing when someone who is manipulating Pharazon brainwashes him about someone else being manipulative who isn't, turning Pharazon against Isengrim and even ultimately Terra, all to gain Pharazon's trust for nefarious purposes. What a toe. *maniacal cackle*
(And I think that gives a subsequent story a lot more emotional impact... but I'll talk about that one when its time comes.)
I'll start putting chapters up soon!