I had to make a decision yesterday.
I started editing a previous Nano novel of mine, and the novel is a strange creation. When I made it, my assumption was that I would never try to publish it under my name. Because as I began November that year, my plan was to write a ‘Romance’ novel. It was going to be sappy, have bad relationships, and there would be ‘lewd’ content.
Except, the idea rammed into another idea, driving at a million thoughts an hour. Being an atheist and all, I figured I could also make the romance novel all about religion. Genius right? I’ve read religious romance novels before, and fantasy romance, I even had a blog dedicated to reading bad romance novels.
Of course, I couldn’t just go with that concept. If I had just written a novel about some christian girl and her not quite christian enough boyfriend, I could be a bestseller on Amazon right now. Instead, I wanted to do some worldbuilding.
I built my own religion. Altered Earth history, redefined society. In the end, the Nano novel became some strange animal. It still had lewd content, but it was from a male focused point of view (this doesn’t happen outside of gay erotica), it was first person, and the main character doesn’t just trip into a love triangle. I tried to write a romance novel, and failed miserably.
So I started editing my novel yesterday (I should get back to the subject of this post), and asked myself… is this still going to be about lewd content? I wanted to be fair to the lewdness, it is pretty nice. I can write one mean scene of a phallus entering a vagina. The story, as it were, became so much about the religion of the main character. The point was that he took on a special place in society, giving up the right to exist within the normal social order, to perform special rituals in his religion. So does it need the sex?
The answer I came to? Yes. I decided to own up to the sex I wrote, even if it means the novel never goes anywhere but my own computer. The decision was easy after I started editing, and looked at the opening lines. Knowing what I knew, about the main character, about the path he takes and why he does what he does, I found myself enjoying my own opening lines. Here, I’ll copy paste it here.
I grabbed her by the jaw and squeezed hard enough to make her wince. Her mouth popped open, and I leaned down low enough to take a look inside. It was exactly what you would expect, rows of perfectly brushed teeth. She was healthy, as far as I could tell.
“Move your tongue,” I told her. To make sure she got the point, I squeezed my fingers even tighter.
She let out a sharp sob and moved her tongue to the left, and then to the right.
Still needs some work, but I instantly returned to the character I wrote now years ago. More importantly, that he was a complete dickhole. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a character so hard to like.
So I followed my plan I made before. I read it, made an outline of it, I will edit the outline, and then I will rewrite the same scene blind. Then I will mash the best parts of the original and the new one. Here is the first outline I ended up with.
Mosi helps the Jelani house after the man’s death, and hears that Nia has moved in.
A. Introduce the main character at the Jelani house.
I. Mosi inspects Zora physically. Harassing her to keep up the image of a Shaman.
II. Jengo says a new family moved in. Mosi notes this.
III. Jengo asks what to do, and Mosi gives instructions for a ritual.
B. Mosi goes home and checks his messages.
I. Notes the details of his room. Boring walls, the big wood mask, bookcase.
II. Checks messages, discovers message from Wilhelm. Realize Nia is here.
C. Mosi heals house Jengo
I. Returns to Jengo house in Kifo outfit.
II. Speaks to Jelani, and Subari. Notes Subari’s apprehension.
III. Meets Zora in room and performs Kifo ceremony.
a. Begins with bowl and incense.
b. Says words to Kifo, and notes the goddess.
c. ‘invokes’ the goddess with beak mask, fallen crane.
d. Sleeps with Zora to help her connect to dead Jengo.
It felt weird boiling down about 11 pages in word into one little outline. I did it so often with essays, but I’m not an outline maker when it comes to fiction. Hopefully this won’t slow down my progress in this editing adventure. I want to stick to it this time. Because for some reason, the time that it is worth going all the way, is when I’m writing about a dude who goes all the way.