I put the Nevill wip down some time ago and worked on other things for a while. Now I’ve picked it back up again and I can see the major flaws. In it’s original form, I was trying to cover way too many characters and strands of the story. I’ve already pared this back courtesy of my decision to tell some of those stories in other books. Now I’ve decided to tighten the net and just have eight voices – still sounds a lot, but each pair (a married couple in each instance) will be restricted to their own part of the book. Thomas and Maud tell the first part (though not in first person!).
I had come to the decision to restrict it to the three married Nevill lads (Richard, Thomas and John), but that left a large gap that, due to logistics and timing, was left unexperienced, so to speak. So, now I’ve given their parents a chunk. Hopefully, this will work out well, though I have a feeling that I’ll need to bring Maud back for a bit of an epilogue, to tie up some loose ends. I’m not going to foreshadow too much here, but I think I’ll have a more workable format and a more readable product.
There are going to be some cut scenes that I won’t be able to use at all, either in Nevill (recast and revoiced) or either of the later books. While this is a little sad, I’m just going to have to let them go. There’s going to be some overlap, and some events will be seen through different sets of eyes, but hopefully I’ve made the breaks in logical places. I’m going to use (I think) a similar structure in The Duchesses, which will be in five voices, all first person, none of them the actual duchesses themselves. I haven’t thought that far ahead to the third book, but I’ve got the very last scene nicely in my mind (and in note form in case I forget it) and – I can promise you – there won’t be a dry eye in the house.
I’m going to push on with Nevill, hopefully putting in the same concerted effort (and long hours) that I did with the rewrite of Dissolution. I’d love to be able to make the research trip/holiday to the UK before I get it finished, but I very much doubt that’ll be possible. I think I can manage (just) without it. The last book is the one where this is crucial, though. In order to tell that story properly, I’ve got a very strong feeling that I have to immerse myself in the village of Ravensworth, feel the stones of that ruined castle, smell the air, taste the water. Walk where Henry and Alice Fitzhugh walked.
And now I have to get back to it.