Oh yes, and now that I've torn your ego out and made you once again wish you had gone into nuclear physics, I had another thought: What is your theme? I looked, sincerely, and I couldn't find it. As the great writing teacher Somebody said, "All great writing begins with theme." So after you're done sobbing, but before you begin drinking, and WHILE you're rewriting, I want you to think about theme. I hope your revision is worthy of a thousand high-school English lit theses! Toodles for now!
Of all the comments, this was the most difficult to handle. Theme? Um, does having fun count? What about, "Look! I'm clever!" Or the old standby, "I'm leaving it up to my reader to glean their own meaning, because I must stay true to my art!"
Fast forward two years and two books. Last night, I spent a few hours with my nose buried in the Diamond Sutra. This ancient Buddhist book is about sudden enlightenment. And yes, I can use a little sudden enlightenment, but what I was really doing was looking for inspiration. I'm currently working on a new project -- a big one, a THEMATIC one -- and I've spent four months now working on almost nothing but theme. At this point, I've asked the main character only one real question: what do I want to teach you about the world, my young and scaly friend?
This might sound all ass-backward, and maybe it is. This is an ongoing experiment for me. My plan is to first develop the philosophy, then build the world and its rules, and then put the events into motion. In a way, I'm hoping this story emerges from the murk of my own worldly confusion, and maybe I will learn something along the way.