So, as I mentioned before on my writing blog, I’ve taken it upon myself to “fix” The Stream series, starting with Discovery. Now I don’t consider the books to be “broken” and the fact that my average review on Amazon is 4.5 out of 5.0 for the books indicates I’m right. However, the marketing is clearly broken. Sales have trickled to almost a full stop. First of all, the names of the books are horrid, the blurbs not convincing, and the covers don’t point to the adventures that are in the books. They are Visionary Fiction meets Dragon Quest meets Huck Finn, as told through the eyes of two normal, genius kids.
None of the advertising campaign would lead you to believe that.
I’ve been grumbling through the 1st several days (and 20 pages) of Discovery, not liking it. My writing style has changed, but what’s struck me most is that it reads as though the book(s) will be targeted to children. They are not. So, I’ve been trying to tone that down while retaining the feel of the tomes, which is hard. Frankly, I’d come to the conclusion that the books suck and can’t be salvaged for a wholly different marketing strategy. Maria has been assuring me I’m wrong and just being my usual self-critical, dumbass self. (She’d never call me that, but … see what I mean?)
So anyway, then I started on Chapter 6, just now, and came to the passage below.
Charlie looked around, but saw no sight of [Robin]. What he did see, however, was marvelous. The raft on which he stood seemed to be hand hewn from logs, judging by the ax marks, and tied together with twine and leather straps. It was six feet wide by ten feet long, and drifted with the gentle current of the blue river on which it sat. Charlie sat down facing the very front of the raft and took in the view. Wait. There’s no current. The river itself looked more like a sheet of blue glass than water. Even though the raft moved without Charlie’s assistance, the water showed no movement, not even a ripple.
Maybe it’s a ghost boat. Charlie regretted the thought as soon as he allowed himself to think it. He scanned the edges of the river, looking for threats. The river was bordered on both sides by snow-covered rocky peaks, which also gave off a bluish hue. The sky was clotted with thick, bluish-grey cumulus clouds that hung low over the mountains. At the farthest point ahead, where the river took a sharp bend to the right, sat an enormous blue moon. It looked like the moon he was used to seeing, except its color, and the fact that it was larger in the sky than the rising sun.
The moon illuminated the landscape as if it were bathed in blue daylight. Rugged mountains painted the still river with their reflections. Odd, bubble-headed fish poked their noses above the surface of the river. Their random movements caused interlocking ripples that made it appear the water had decided to dance. The moon danced there as well, seeming to touch the water and cause it to glow. It was bitterly cold, Charlie knew. The entire landscape looked frigid. Small islands of ice dotted the river as he passed, and his breath hung heavy in the air with each exhalation. Nonetheless, though this world looked as if there had never been a sun to warm it, Charlie could feel none of it.
“Must be the stupid coffee making me warm. A lot of good it did keeping me awake.”
That had the ethereal feel I wanted for the books. Maybe Chapter 6 is too late for it, so that tells me I need to inject a passage into the 1st chapter that sets the tone for later. What’s cool is that this passage was one I added in my 7th draft of the book. Additions can be improvements. First-chapter dragons, here we come. 🙂
Yeah, writing is a learning process. I’m on the 8th and final (I hope) draft of Discovery, while I knocked out Hard as Roxx in around 3 and The Brooklyn Trace in 2. Maybe I am getting good at this. More importantly, I’m learning a lot about writing from the exercise.
On a side note, the music has changed. I wrote the original book to Pop music. I’m currently writing Jeanne Dark to mostly jazz. I can’t edit Discovery to either. Instead, I’m finding I need New Age music, just like I needed to write Emprise. I guess I’ve found its zone.
Hopefully, by the end, I’ll find the new title of the book and the series. It damn sure won’t be Discovery — something dragony, methinks.
Thanks, Maria, for being my muse, my brain, my conscience. I loves you mucho.