The Journey Home: The Making of What Once Was Home
Part Four: Back in the Saddle
In Part Three: Slightly Sidetracked, I had set aside the novel to work on a side project. From there, a year passed where I wrote five novellas, an anthology, and started a publishing business. Finally, it was time to take this off the shelf…
Since I had gone a year without looking at this manuscript, I knew I needed to read back over it. Even if I hadn’t developed so much as a writer, I needed to get back into the feel of the story. I also needed to make sure I was familiar with every character nuance, every detail of the world, and every beat of the plot.
I improved it quite a bit as I read through it as well. There were some issues with how it was written that made me glad I had taken a break and developed more as a writer and an editor before I came back to it. It was nothing extreme, just little touches that polished it up and made it flow better.
Finally I got through what I had already written, and I was more than happy with the progress I had made. I had pantsed the book so far (discovery writing: making it up as you go instead of planning it out), so I spent some time planning out the rest of it. How would it all tie together? What was going to be the focus of the second half?
It’s hard to share any details from that point on without spoilers. A lot happens in here and there’s not many things I could talk about without ruining the pacing of the story, revealing certain things too soon, or outright telling you how it’s going to end.
In the process of churning out the second half of the book though, I realized that the beginning needing something.
Every chapter starts with an excerpt from Jace’s autobiography; something I started from day one. I wanted this to feel like he was telling his story. I realized to get the full effect of that, I should bookend things with scenes of him as an older man looking back on his life. So, I went back and wrote a prologue set decades after the end of the main events, and ended with an epilogue that picks up where the prologue left off.