I received some excellent feedback on the novel from Chris Shaw; the novel is too complicated, there are too many broken threads. It lacks continuity. He was more tactful than necessary; the brutality of my criticisms of others applies doubly to myself.
The first decision was to reduce the number of species from seven to four. That in itself will require major rewriting. But I now question the merits of presenting a history of Lamina. I mean, really, must I drag the reader through all those lectures on physics and evolution?
Here’s a good example: why do I need “The Veliko Extinction”? It’s a cute story, but it’s a little difficult for people to follow, and all it does is establish, through much indirection, how the moon Kira came to orbit Lamina. And what is gained by the story “Soo and Dae”? All it does is lecture about the development of language and evolution. It doesn’t really tell anything about the story. The same thing goes for almost all the other stories prior to Siboot. They are not dramatically important; they are lectures.
I am restrained in my editorial bloodthirstiness by an emotional attachment to some of the good stories. “Nesker and Thymen” is easily the best story in the book. “Fortic’s Plunge” is especially creative, and I have a soft spot for “Dragen and Frintil”.
Here’s a possible solution: start off with a section entitled “Prelude” that includes the first three stories (“Bad Blood”, “A Rock’s Story”, and “The Veliko Extinction”). Follow it with a section entitled “The Four Species” that includes one long tale for each species revealing its characteristics. For Tayrans, that would probably be “Naval Engagement”; for Klasts, it would obviously be “Nesker and Thymen”; for Jomkars and Ripis, I am uncertain. My candidates are “Dragen and Frintil”, “Another Dull Day”, “The Castaways”, and “Fortic’s Plunge”.
I would retitle each of these with the species name and fatten it up with material clearly describing the species.
The third section would be entitled “Siboot” and would comprise the material already existing, plus a bit more on the founding of the colony.
The last section would be entitled “The Shepherds” and would be organized around each of the Shepherds. One story per Shepherd, including some of the existing stories. This section would need considerable rewriting.
This is a great deal of work; it will set me back perhaps a month. I’m glad for Chris Shaw’s criticisms; I think they helped me avoid a disaster.
Perhaps I could retain some of the better stories by creating one section for each species. Thus, the sections would be Prelude, The Ripis, The Tayrans, The Jomkars, The Klasts, Siboot, and The Shepherds.
Yes, I think that works better.