This is my last revision project for the year, and thus, my last entry from “the trenches of revision.” MATTHEW is the sequel to STEPHEN, and it’s essentially a ghost story.
It was the last rough draft I wrote entirely on paper (and I was amazed I could actually read my own handwriting) and after I wrote it four years ago, I didn’t look back at it until just recently. It was also the very first thing I had ever written that was not based off real life events or real life people. It came entirely from my imagination – and that’s why it’s still one of my favorite novels.
I noticed a lot of boring parts that I was tempted to skim over as I re-read, characters that could be combined or eliminated altogether, and terrible dialogue. But now that I’ve revised the story’s prequel, I have a better idea of what I can do for it in order to make it better, although that will end up changing probably about 80% of the book.
I’m also revising this one with a different process than I had used for other books. I found out that it helps me to write a very long backstory (what happened before the events of the book) before I can write about what happens in the present. In the backstory, you can establish character relationships and motivations a lot better, and pinpoint the dates and years on which important events happened.
And I’m recycling an old character from CAIN, a novel I had stopped writing. I think this old character would work a lot better in MATTHEW, and so far, my thoughts have been correct. It makes me happy when stuff like that happens. 🙂