Because I was just doing revision instead of writing something new, CampNaNo this time did not feel quite as…how do I even put this? An impetus, I guess? Only that’s not quite it, because it did serve as a low-level impetus, finally getting me to stop putting it off and start the reworking on my novel from November.
I think my biggest accomplishment was sort of a by-product, though. I knew I wanted to add material (at about 80k, it was short for me, but that isn’t why) to try and get around the complete stoppage of action near the end, and also some fun stuff to flesh in the world a bit. My attempt to prevent the stoppage absolutely did not work; it still comes to a screeching halt, and I have no idea how to change that. But the fun stuff opened an amazing door. It started out in the form of an advertising campaign trying to get people to sign on with a very shady trading company (like the British or Dutch East India Companies, only with trading ships flown around the world by pegasi, and no imperialism to make their gains even more ill-gotten) and when that failed to get out all the information I wanted, I decided to follow it up with their new employee handbook. (Parts of it, anyway.)
I had a lot of fun with the new employee handbook, but more importantly, it made me realize two things. One, if I started half my chapters with an excerpt from a promotional ad or an employee handbook from a company like that, any readers I might have would obviously expect the company to feature in the story, and they would expect them to be evil. And two, that it would be really boring if it was as simple as them just being evil.
So I decided I should have the company just be, well, a slightly more powerful and sadistic version of the real thing, but with a twist: there’s a secret society hidden inside the company that’s been guarding exactly what the heroes are searching for, and will spend the whole series gaining pieces of in a desperate race against both the villain and the clock. (Well, the calendar rather than the clock; they have three years.) That way I get around the earlier, rather ludicrous idea I had that all the clues were in a 700 year old book and no one had ever in all that time stumbled across any of the pieces to move them. This way, they have to get the information out of the members of the secret society, instead of already having the knowledge they need. And some of them will cooperate, and others won’t.
I’m afraid I need to find a beta reader now, though. I need help with the structural problem; I’m too close to it to see the solution. (If there is one.) It’d probably be good to have someone tell me if the characters are totally annoying, or whatnot. I’m not quite sure where to find a beta reader, though. Probably through the NaNo forums. I mean, technically, I don’t absolutely need a beta reader, because I’m not planning on publishing this professionally, or even self-publishing it in any meaningful way. (To defeat a forum troll, I have to release it to the public in some way, but I’m just planning on putting it on LeanPub for free, and posting a few chapters on AO3 to increase the chances of at least one person actually seeing that it exists and maybe downloading a copy.) But I’d still like to get it into better shape than this before I set it adrift on the interwebs. (Admittedly, LeanPub allows you to edit as much as you want even after you release it, but I’d rather it be as fixed as possible first.)
The idea of getting a beta reader terrifies me, though. They’ll be expecting something much better than my crappy writing…and I worry that they’ll dismiss the whole book just because I can’t write descriptions (or even visualize the things to be described) or anything much other than dialog.