I've been working intermittently on new work while simultaneously reworking and revising The Empty Vial. I'm making tremendous progress on the latter. It's been fun to completely rework each chapter, bit by bit. At first, I found it a dread to "murder my darlings", and by that I mean deleting entire paragraphs that I personally found so fluid and poetic. After doing it a few times, I realized how much it cleaned up my work, how much more "fluid" it actually is when the reader doesn't have to stop the story to listen to my ramblings. There's more action, and that's what my weakness was before.
I discussed this with my kid sister, who is also a writer. We fear conflict. It's a great thing if you want to get along with others in the real world, but a terrible flaw if you're a storyteller. Here I am, having written three full books with a beginning, middle, and the end--and I'm holding back! I'm holding my heroes back because I can't bear to see them suffer or--heaven forbid--wind up in some predicament they aren't equipped to resolve. But that's life. That's what art strives to imitate, right? So I'm working on it. A lot. It's been fun, but also a bit nerve-racking. I still worry about my characters, but it's kind of like my 3-year-old and his need for experiential knowledge. No matter how many times I tell him something is dangerous, it seems he needs to bonk his head on the corner of a table before he stops jumping off the sofa. And aren't we all that way just a little bit?
I'll post the new first chapter of Empty Vial in a bit. Now, off to the park to get into some natural conflict with our environment. Hee hee.