Sunday, June 17, 2012

Night Children: Dark Trials On Hold

I thought I'd give a quick post to let everyone know that the second book in the Night Children series, DARK TRIALS, is on hold for roughly a year.

I'm truly sorry about this. I realise some of you have enjoyed Annabelle and Roland's adventures and I promise there will be more. But life being what it is, I was thrown a large curve ball back in February.

Not only had I thought it was time to move my family to another state, (which I found out it wasn't the right time for the move), but I got the reviews for Dark Trials at that point as well.

When we write books, we're so ingrained in our little worlds we have no clue the large problems that sit in plain sight. I have characters and situations that never had any resolutions, logic problems in certain situations, and other things like that in need of repair. I need to re-read it, go through the story, reshape it to flow better and make more sense. I'll cut entire scenes and change some character directions. Some problems will need deeper thoughts.

One review hurt really bad. I guess I got what I deserved. Not too long ago I reviewed another critique group member's manuscript. I was honest. Brutally honest. I hurt her and she was greatly offended. I suspect she still is raw about the event. I never wanted to hurt her, just be honest about my thoughts on the book. I see now I should have had more tact.

I've had raw reviews before. Ones that hurt really bad. Time does heal all wounds and in time I saw much of what they said. That doesn't mean I turned my manuscript to their vision, but thanks to a professional editor, I discovered the problems those toxic reviews were trying to show me. Doesn't mean Dark Birth is perfect but I still stand by my decision that it's ready.

Well, a different member of our critique group gave me a toxic review. I guess I had it coming, after how I treated the other critique member. I mean it really hit me hard. I still believe in my heart some of her stronger points are just her opinions. I believe that she is not the right audience and may not understand the audience as much as she thinks.

But what of I'm wrong? What if I have something that needs certain changes or it will be unfit for my audience?  As the author, I'm forever too close to tell, I think.

See? I still feel uncertain about the whole thing. That's why my preview posts stopped. I no longer posted bits from Dark Birth or Dark Threats. I no longer posted character biographies from the Night Children universe. I didn't actively search out speaking engagements, I stopped promoting my books on Amazon. I stopped everything.

If I could not trust whether my second book was appropriate for Middle Grade readers, than maybe everything I've written wasn't appropriate either. She'd read Dark Threats but she never read Dark Birth and there were things in that book just as questionable.

I guess I should name the elephant in the room. I was told that Dark Trials was too dark for Middle Grade (11-14) readers. That is was horrific. I still do not know if that's true.

Here we are, months later, and I tried to read her review but all I can feel as I read it is that I'm a terrible author and shouldn't even try anymore. Does she say that? Heavens no! She is a friend and was only trying to help. She never brings down my writing. But how she responds to my supposed horrific scenes makes me question myself. That's my personal garbage to work through, not her.

So you can see why I've had such a pause.

Becoming an author is a tender tight rope of almost falls and positive balances. As I've stated before, I found my mojo again in the form of Multi-Mart. A new story and fresh start. But this story is a trick, because it involved other stories, including the Night Children series. So now I'm on the chapter that ties Dark Threats to the Multi-Mart continuity. This means I've had to reread parts of Dark Threats and feel what those stories make me feel. It also reminds me of those few who have read Dark Birth and Dark Threats, and how that like Annabelle and Roland and want more. Heck, I still want more.

So carefully, timidly, I am starting to climb back. I will continue to work on Multi-Mart and Myths, but I'm starting to think about Dark Trials and what I need to do. Will I remove the dark stuff inside? Not completely, but I will look at it and see what would be best.

I guess I need someone who is 11-14 years old and likes Middle Grade books (Early Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, Vampire Assistant) to read it. Or at least someone who reads a lot of those types of books.

I'm not trying to put the Night Children though Deseret Book or Shadow Mountain. It doesn't need to be read in Sacrament meeting or at church. But I don't want to do Steven King, either. I do want it to be appropriate for Junior High School readers. Heck, I know it's not as dark as the Hunger Games series and those Young Adult books are in the Junior High.

So Dark Trials is on hold, but I am coming back. Watch this space for more to come.

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