After rewriting Holland Bay completely from scratch, and after you people told me you’d rather see another Kepler than a short story collection, I dug out Bad Religion, dusted it off, and started revising. I was expecting this to suck up all my time until July. Instead, I was done in less than ten days. Why?
When I was more active with novels, I would write a novel, bury it for three months, reread it and revise, hand it off to First Reader (formerly the ex, will need to find a new one for Holland Bay and the SF novel the alter ego is writing), revise again, then find two or more beta readers for the final edit. Bad Religion was the last book-length work I’d written to reach the beta stage. I’d only read two of the three edits I got back on it. I took it out last fall and went through the third only six years after that person looked at it.
There’s an advantage to abandoning a novel for years at a time. It’s one of the few times an author can be objective about what they’ve written since enough time has passed that it looks like someone else wrote it. During that last pass, I started to think that the way I handled some of the consequences of Second Hand Goods was too in-your-face. I finished adding the suggestions I accepted from the last edit and put it aside once more. I had Holland Bay to rewrite.
So out Bad Religion came from mothballs once more. I went though it correcting typos here, cutting a few lines there. Near the beginning, there was a scene that makes it plainly obvious what happened between Nick and Elaine after the end of Second Hand Goods. That scene would not only have to be rewritten, but it would also have a domino effect. Several other scenes would have to be cut or rewritten. I continued to make dialog changes and cuts to other scenes. But a funny thing happened on the way to the end. Chopping that one scene did not have the structural impact on the story that I thought it would. Cut two lines here. Change the end of a scene there. Rewrite the dialog of a later scene to make it the scene where Nick and Elaine’s chickens come home to roost. When I came back to that scene I thought would make this almost a complete rewrite?
Turns out the story works better without it.
So now I’m working on getting a cover designed. Bad Religion will appear sometime this summer.