Why INHERENT Works (and RED SUN doesn’t)

1.) I mapped Inherent before I got more than 20,000 words in, and stuck to that map. Red Sun never had a map that I stuck to.
2.) I plotted Inherent in about three weeks, and worked from that outline. Red Sun grew over two years, and has plot points I don’t even remember.
3.) I keep an exacting encyclopedia of Inherent. Names, places, terms. This keeps me honest and consistent. Red Sun didn’t have that.
4.) The rough draft for Inherent was a cohesive, consistent document requiring only moderate adjustment and plenty of filler. Red Sun was a collection of loosely organized mini-plots and scenes.
5.) Inherent draws from a consistent language base. Red Sun was a mish-mash of cultures and characters.
6.) Inherent is fantasy with touches of steampunk, horror and romance. It’s the type of myth that I like writing, and is telling about characters, not a theme so much. Red Sun was originally conceived as half-theme, half speculation.
7.) Inherent is based on a world over 6 years in the making. It has far more depth than Red Sun, which was based on some reality.
8.) I’m passionate about Inherent. Red Sun was so long that I couldn’t wait to be done. Now that I have some distance, I’ll rewrite it mostly from scratch probably. It’s a great concept on a flawed platform.
9.) Red Sun took about 18 months to write, with multiple changes in plot. Inherent was plotted, the rough draft finished, and editing started, in four and a half months. I know the entire plot, the details and the themes of Inherent in much more detail than I did for Red Sun.

The first novel, the first short story, those are the hardest to write for obvious reasons. The experience, the bugs in the system have never been worked out. Starting the second book, it’s a little more clear what was done wrong. A system should have developed by the second, and it’s almost worth making a list of “what I did wrong the first time”.

Going back, I wouldn’t have pushed myself so hard and been so ruthless on myself over Red Sun. It’s much easier to step back and let the story tell itself. The pitfalls of a novel are endless, and there’s always a first novel. Equally, there’s always a chance to go rewrite that first novel into the gem it deserves to be. That time may simply be a few dozen works down the road.

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One Response to “Why INHERENT Works (and RED SUN doesn’t)”

  1. Mostly the same things I learned between the first FW novel (which is now FABLE) and the current start of the five books FIFTHWIND.

    It’s amazing how much you learn from just getting one done. Congrats on the newfound knowledge and inproved writing habits.

    Race you to the bestseller list!!!

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