I’ve finally reached the final couple of scenes of my latest ripsnorting sci-fi action novel, Sun Chaser, and so it is time to get jiggy with it. The Longman dictionary defines this as dancing with a lot of energy, but that isn’t exactly what I mean. I’m going to rejig the start of the book so that it better flows into the climax of the novel. I have scenes, at the moment in the current version, where characters are doing some pretty stupid things for no easily discernible reason. Now that I know where the book is heading, secure in the knowledge that I’m not going to change my mind about that for the umpteenth time, I can make those seemingly stupid acts make sense in relation to the climax, and I can give the characters motivations that stem from where they are destined to be at the end of the book.
It’s actually very tempting to go back to the first two books in the trilogy, Galaxy Dog and Iron dart, and rewrite them a little bit to better reflect where I now know the whole trilogy was going. After all, Dennis Meredith rewrote a published novel, and a big publisher bought Andy Weir’s self-published sci-fi story The Martian, then had an editor work on it before republishing it. Also I don’t hesitate to fix typos that I discover, so why not?
I think the reason I don’t want to change the first two books is that I like that neither I as the writer, nor Knave, Altia or Jay as characters knew what they were in for. I think the book would start to read like they were following their destiny rather than blundering about sometimes, the way real humans do, if I rejigged the first two books. But the current book, that’s open season. It’s time to make these experienced characters seem like they know what they’re doing a bit more, like they are skilfully shaping events, at least some of them, rather than just reacting to them.
Chandler’s law is; When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand. I would, of course, flip the gender and make it a woman, just to subvert my instincts and make the story more unpredictable, realistic and interesting, but following this law is still introducing an essentially random event. Once you know the end of the story, you can work out who the woman with the gun was working for, why she was there at that place, at that moment of time, and start making the novel less random. That’s the place I’m at now with Sun Chaser, and as this is one of the final passes before publication it means this swashbuckling slice of space opera will be hitting virtual bookstands soon. Watch this space, Or, better yet, read the first two books now in preparation.