Yes, I know six weeks ago I said I would begin writing a few posts relevant to transformation, furry, and how that fits (or doesn’t fit) in the Christian perspective. I have not gotten around to doing that yet and don’t know when I will. I know it will eventually happen, but please don’t demand a timeline.
Anyway, I have been working on the first major revision to the coyote novel I began last spring. It is going well (about 22,000 words into it) and there have been no plot absurdities as there were in the first attempt. The story from its current point onward has been mapped out, giving ample room for future creative freedom, so it should be easy going from now on. Many story elements have remained the same, much to my surprise, but a few major changes have helped the novel along. I don’t want to go into detail, but I did want to share one of them.
The most notable change has been consciously making the novel more theistic. While not a religious story by any means, the primary characters reflect a more theistic mindset, rather than the attempted agnostic approach from the earlier draft. I am simply unable to replicate a believable agnostic attitude, so for the sake of the story I abandoned it.
There’s something else I have found. Two earlier novels which I enjoyed, and which I consider to be my strongest, had this in common: both were written around a particular theological question. I would not call them “preachy;” I was not trying to insert and promote a given doctrine by adding it to the text, but a theological controversy formed the backbone of both stories, which were written to explore the problem and develop a possible solution. The stories had meaning beyond pure entertainment value.
Naturally, I don’t want to state what the questions were. :)
The coyote novel lacked this at first. This, I think, was a large part of why it failed. There was no compelling reason to finish the story, nothing to share with the reader. It still isn’t there, although it is exploring a concept that arose through writing that initial draft. It has meaning again.
Two future stories will return to the model of constructing a story around a question, and I am excited to see where they will go when I am finally able to write them. Meanwhile, I’d like to hear from you. If you are a writer, what drives you to write? What made one story better than another?