Magical School: A Rewriting Odyssey

The Importance of Putting Things Off

I've decided to make a painful decision and rewrite A Magical School for Magical Fools for a third time. This was the sequel to Dragon Removal Service, and would have come out next month. It is now scheduled for "later this year", a nebulous term that all parents appreciate.

My process is always to muscle through any concerns I have, and simply write the damn thing. Procrastination is for failures (I said). And since I have roughly ten-hundred-million jokes about magical schools, several of which survived into version 2 and 3, it wasn't hard to put words on the page.

The only problem: I've never written a sequel before.

Detached Sculpture Head

About halfway through the first version, I realized the story I envisioned would fit better in two books. So I ripped out a few plotlines and put them into their own book The Island at the Bottom of the Sea. I then started on Version 2.

Version 2 was simpler, but had its own issues. Namely, too many characters, and too many holdovers from the first book Dragon Removal Service. I tried giving everyone from Book 1 "page time" and it just wasn't working. Every third scene or so, my characters explained what they were doing, or why, and that's just not going to work for this kind of book. It was funny in parts, but just not high enough quality to release.

I felt as if I were dragging an overstuffed suitcase through a steep, hilly, tourist town in Greece.

So after getting feedback from readers like you, I've decided to ignore the business-side of writing, and focus on the craft. I could put out a mediocre Version 2, follow the "financial plan", and write another book. But I won't.

Life wants to teach me something. Version 3 will see a few more characters jettisoned or smooshed together, and it will have more breathing room for the characters who survived the culling.

Writing 120,000 wrong words has taught me a valuable lesson: If a part of you is speaking loudly that you are lost, you need to listen. It's not always procrastination or anxiety yapping in your ear. You might actually be lost.

Thanks for taking a chance on my work.


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