This is the conclusion I’ve come to as a result of (re?)starting the process of working on fixing books 3-7 of the Awakenings series. Of course, it’s a serial, the story predates the serial, and it’s all very complicated and crazy and fun.
It’s a story that I wanted to tell but it was a story that I dove into with barely half a plan which sometimes works out great and sometimes doesn’t. Sometimes writing to a deadline, while it forces you to continue to stretch creative muscles, doesn’t do you many favors.
There’s a lot that needs fixing, needs updating, needs smoothing out—this is true of books 3-7, but also specifically true of some plot and character arcs that turned out to be, in the end, not what they were originally intended to be (I’m looking at you, Matt and Hecate, who took the prize for “biggest surprise” so far—which is not to say other characters didn’t also do this to me because more than a few did). This means I have a lot of material to play with, but there’s also a lot of material that needs tightening up.
Some things will need to be pulled out, new things will be added in. In reviewing the content that ended up being book 3 content (since book 2 and book 3 ended up being mixed around a little bit from how they were originally posted—just to make some things flow better and properly link things together), there’s almost no content with the group that Aoife’s with, which is something that will need to change so their plot arc can be properly tied up in subsequent books. I can’t cut them entirely because a) it wouldn’t make sense to do it given the role some of the characters play later and b) at least one particularly important instance where we see exactly how wild talents and magic can be in the broken world.
In many ways, the books of the Founders Cycle (which comprises the first seven books of the series), is about the survivors learning exactly what they can do—the power they possess—and then stomping down hard on the war that they didn’t start but will play a role in finishing. It’s a fun, interesting arc that takes them through the first few years after the end of everything they knew and one that sets up the Ambrose Cycle that follows—but more on that story sometime to come.
Either way, I’ve got my work cut out for me with all of this.