I’m currently in the revising phase of the fourth manuscript in the D’mok Revival series. This involves thinking about the first three books with the changes to characters, places, abilities, etc. and allowing myself to “rewatch” the scenes in this latest manuscript. I then update the manuscript with those new visions.
The entire manuscript is around 270 unformatted (not typeset for publishing) page in Microsoft Word. The current word count is around 92,000, which is on-par with the other three books. In the end, it will easily be 400+ typeset pages when published.
I’m very happy with the recent progress, and the direction of the manuscript. I originally wrote it back in 2010. I was in a very different place in my life then, and clearly the story was heavily influenced by my own personal struggles at the time. Five years down the road, I’m such a different person, and have a dramatically different perspective on things. Not to mention my writing style has evolved. This has led to a great deal of refactoring large chunks of the story.
That isn’t the only reason, of course. I’d received feedback starting with the release of the first book stating I needed to keep a strong focus of the story action on Rhysus Mencari, the main character.
I think it’s fine to present sections from the perspective of other characters as it allows the reader to become deeply connected with the inner workings of the other characters. But the main story is about Rhysus Mencari. Keeping this in mind, I’m rewriting entire segments to be from Rhysus Mencari’s perspective.
What’s interesting is rather than inflicting the reader with my raw emotion through characters in the original version, readers are now treated to a more mature view from Rhysus Mencari’s perspective. In essence, I’ve traded off the pain of the experience, for the wisdom of a path already traveled.
To be honest, some of the dynamics written about back in 2010 were incredibly raw and real. They contained direct conversations I had with someone formerly close to me—things which hurt me deeply—and I immortalized it in the dialogue between characters going through the same ordeal in my story.
I thought, at the time, it was a very good idea. After all, one of the strengths of the D’mok Revival series was the ability to present very real and relatable characters and situations. Reviewing the manuscript now, I certainly captured the exactness of what happened back in 2010. However, it now feels better left private. Don’t get me wrong, it was incredibly cathartic to write it out at the time. It’s still somewhat like looking at a scar revisiting those lines and phrases. But the original emotional need I had to expunge the experience and externalize it on paper has served its purpose.
The Michael Zummo of 2015 would rather provide my series fans with what I learned from the experience, rather than tiresome drama. The rewritten segments are still real, while returning it to a realm I feel more appropriate (and mature).
Anyway, I’m very excited in the transformation happening in the fourth manuscript. My goal is to still have the book ready by the holiday season. It is August, and I know many editors (including my wonderful editor Arlene Robinson) are getting slayed right now. So, we’ll see when the final release date is. I also need to start working with Glenn Clovis on the cover too (oooh, yeah, I really need to get moving on that too).