Our latest blog-vlog deals with a bit of retrospect. Looking over our first book, after having gained more education on writing, how many rules did we break? And what changes would we make to Lust & Liberty if we had our time again…?
I chucked a post up on my socials the other day with a relatively simple caption. Concerning how I could look over my past work and realise how many rules I broke before doing a Masters in Creative Writing and Publishing. For years up until that point, I was always a believer that there are no rules in writing. And, indeed, a few followers told me that the rules are there to be broken. All the same, it left me wondering… if I had my time again, what changes would I make to Lust & Liberty?
The video below, and the blog post that follows, explores that question further.
This is something I have refused to believe in the past. Having grown up reading the likes of J. K. Rowling, who uses adverbs quite liberally in her work, I was given to understand that this was normal practice. And then I read Stephen King’s On Writing and realised that that is not the case at all. When I first heard about this rule, I was torn between thinking it was just a well-established author being pretentious, and believing that it made sense. Obviously not enough to avoid phrases in Lust & Liberty like “returned caustically.”
If I were to completely redraft the first Berylford Scandal, I would take some of the gratuitous adverbs out.
REDUCE FONT SIZE AND MARGINS
NOT Reduce SPACING and Margins as in the video — this was a mistake, and it was too late to amend it. The font size in the paperback version, despite being 12pt in fact, looks HUGE. It is single-spaced, 12pt size, and yet there is room for about 13 or 14 lines per page. It looks ridiculous in hindsight, and I made doubly sure to make the margins narrower and knock the font size down to 10pt for the sequel. That looks like a natural size for a book. It would also bring the 500-odd page count down considerably. Which in turn, makes for cheaper printing costs.
EXPAND SOME STORYLINES
If we’re bringing that page count down, why not take the opportunity to expand certain storylines? I cut out a lot of subplots when I was fine-tuning Lust & Liberty, and others ended up diluted. Such as that between Mrs Haffisidge and her nephew-in-law Luke Warwick. I also felt like Mrs Urmstone, intended to be a deuteragonist of the entire story, was given a lot less to do in the end. In both cases, I would seek to expand.
IMPROVE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
While we’re on the track of major characters, feedback has suggested that the main anti-heroine, Lady Vyrrington, doesn’t undergo much development. Fair point — she doesn’t have so much a character arc as much as a full circle. She begins the story grieved and, spoiler alert, she ends the story grieved. Her character is much changed by the end, and only accelerates leading up to the events of the second book. However, I don’t think it was as clearly pronounced in Lust & Liberty as it could have been. So I would go over that, if I had my time again.
WHERE CAN I BUY LUST & LIBERTY?
You can buy my first novel, The Berylford Scandals: Lust & Liberty, from Amazon in paperback or on Kindle by clicking here.