Saturday night, I made one of the hardest decisions a novelist can ever make. I shelved The Unanswerable.
There's always a mixture of emotions when this happens, largely sorrow, but right now, all I feel is relief. The novel wasn't growing the way I wanted it to. The characters weren't strong enough to carry the hectic pacing of the story, and the pacing at the beginning was too slow to grasp the reader. It was a mess that I wrote two years ago, and even during my rewriting, the pacing and plot stayed a mess.
While I do plan on revisiting the book, I've decided to approach the series of conquels from a different angle.
My husband and I hashed out the plot line, the sense of urgency, the characters, and what I could do to revamp the current book. But the problem is, The Unanswerable has too much information. It explains the why of the apocalypse.
The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later start with immediate consequences. We don't know what's going on, but our main characters have an instant need to survive, something that all people can relate to.
The Underground, which was originally going to be book two in the series, starts with immediacy. The main characters have to go or else... And that's a pretty great opener for a series. It sucks you in and says, "This story is important. And these people? They matter." As such, The Underground will now be book one, which I'm hoping to publish next year.
I plan on revamping The Unanswerable with the same major characters, same turning point, but I plan on removing most of the story and starting from scratch. However, since I am so utterly frustrated with this novel, I'm not in the right mindset to revamp it.
While I won't apologize for choosing not to publish / pursue a sub-par novel, I will apologize for those who were expecting a virus-based apocalypse novel this year from me.
There is, fortunately, some good news in all of this.
Editing In a Blue Moon has gone smoothly, and I'm expecting a March publication. It's a young adult fairy tale retelling/apocalypse, so while there are some humorous moments (evil Pinocchio anyone?), it's very fast-paced and will be sure to hit on all the dark notes that you find in apocalypse novels.
In addition, I've started writing my Consciousness Series, which will start with Conscious. It's a paranormal series that will have some suspenseful elements. I haven't fleshed out the plot yet, but the beginning of the first book packs a huge punch. I'm really excited for this series because it combines a lot of emotional, contemporary elements with the intensity of a paranormal plot.
So, while I'm upset about having to put The Unanswerable aside, I do have high hopes for this year's publication schedule. No Sugar Coating and Good Criminal Heart should still be released this year, both standalones for those who don't want to invest in a series.
I'm excited about the future, and while the UnSeries isn't getting published on time, it will see the light of day eventually.