Sunday, May 20, 2007

Second Draft Blues

The second draft of Hero Go Home is finished, with the exception of a little clean-up, maybe. I read the first act and a bit of the second last night, and it's better than before, although I wonder if maybe I'm pushing too much backstory in too quickly.

Most things I write don't have much backstory. They start when they start, they don't depend much on what has gone before in the characters' lives, and frequently I couldn't answer many basic questions about the characters' pasts if you asked.

But for this book, I've written a few short stories about some of these characters already, and wrote about two-thirds of an (awful aborted) novel about another, so they have histories in place. And so much of the book feels like another entry in the series, I think. I don't know if I explain stuff enough so that a new reader, unfamiliar with the short stories, will ever feel comfortable with what's going on.

On the other hand, when I decided to write Hero Go Home originally (and now I'm talking about the late 80's/early 90's, when it was a vague screenplay concept and three pages of an opening scene that no longer appears in the book), one of things I specifically wanted was to avoid the usual approach to starting a new superhero world, which is to show a normal world with heroes and vilains just emerging for the first time. I wanted it to be a world already populated with heroes, with adventures happening all over the place on a daily basis; instead of having the reader come into the world gradually, dipping a toe at a time, I wanted to yank them right into the deep end.

And for all the changes that have been made to my original vision in the intervening years, this one thing I've stayed true to. Now to find new readers and see if it works any better than before.

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