I’m finding revising my second novel The Rebel Queen is very different to the first Vengeance Will Come.
Vengeance Will Come was written more by discovery writing whereas The Rebel Queen was plotted in advance. In some respects I think this means there should be less structural changes, but I’m always wary of that being a false assumption.
I also have to be aware of several of my own biases. I like the protagonist because I wrote her and know the plot and character arcs. But does a new reader like her as early in the book as is needed to have them emotionally invested?
The Rebel Queen also runs parallel to aspects of Vengeance Will Come, with some cross-over of characters. That means I have knowledge of both books, and need to make sure that the necessary knowledge is contained independently in both stories. I can’t accidentally reference something in the other book.
One of the other issues that is concerning me is length. Vengeance Will Come was around 110k words at first draft and cut down to 86k words. Although it was sad to see so many words cut (which represent many hours worth of work), I knew that the trimming was worthwhile. Not only was I sharpening the text, but I was also making the length a more attractive proposition for a potential publisher.
The Rebel Queen, by contrast, started at around 65k words. (When I was writing it I had always intended for it to be a shorter length). Now however, if I cut to the same level it will be very short indeed. Or do I add more text to compensate? But I don’t want to do either cut or add too much.
I guess the answer is that at each point I cut or add, whatever improves the quality of the story. If only I had more experience I’d feel more adequate to make those decisions. But I guess that’s how you get experience…