Now, I'm 97% I've talked about this subject before (I've done well over 100 of these silly things now) but it bears repeating: don't get too attached to characters, ideas, plot lines, or anything else in your novel because it all has to be able to change.
I'm getting a lot of good feedback from my betas. As you know if you follow the blog, I'm focusing heavily on editing the first half of a novel, which, as I understand it, is usually the part that needs the most work. Writers don't have their voice fully fleshed out or know their characters quite well enough when they start, but by the end, they've got it down. So... that usually means the end is way better than the beginning and that first half needs to revamping to match the tone and speed of the second.
So... that's what I'm working on. And you know what, being flexible has meant seeing some of my scenes improve drastically. I'm getting good initial feedback on the revisions and I can't wait to get them finished and out to my betas. I've made some significant changes, including flat out dropping some scenes and chapters with characters that, while I found them interesting, didn't help the flow of the overall story. By swapping characters, switching out POVs or even just changing a setting a little, I've found some immensely satisfying outcomes.
So for anyone out there that cares to hear my advice, this is it: don't be too married to your initial concepts. Right now, The Paladin is the story of a young priest in training who's mentor is captured by a demon and who is then swept up into a world of clandestine monster hunters that span the entire globe, several of which seem bent on utilizing Jonathan for their own means and gains while he's simply trying to figure out what happened to his mentor. This all stemmed from the simple idea of "what if there were warrior priests who prayed to channel their strength?" Such a stupidly vague concept. And the first draft?! Yeah.... my chapter 12 (out of 50 or so) is where the first draft ended. Jonathan wasn't a young man. He wasn't even really a paladin. There was no Reagan, no Giz, no Simon Trevor, and definitely no Katie! (check out their art on the bonus page!)
So what I'm saying is, being open to change means a richer experience for your reader. Listen to your betas. Put that draft in front of everyone who will tolerate it and listen to their feedback... then do it! Don't cling so tightly to your initial ideas that you end up crushing them.
Don't Forget to be Awesome!
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.