As some of you may know, I'm posting The Wife of Freedom as a serial on my Daring Adventure Stories blog, three chapters a week.
And today I realized that doing this while I work on the sequel is REALLY useful. Why? Well, because in order to fit the blog format, I have to assess the dang thing chapter-by-chapter. I'm not just looking at the formatting. A serial really needs titled chapters, so as I read through each chapter I pause to assess just what it is. What's it's job? What's it doing?
Which is almost exactly like what I'm doing with the sequel. As I go back and forth - using one job as a break for the other - I get this strange parallax view. It's like one eye seeing a polished chapter and one seeing a rough chapter at the same time. I am struck by the differences in voice, and details. I can see much better what I need to do.
Anyway, today, I think I got the first half worked out. And I think I've discovered my biggest issue. The first part and the last part are not active enough. The characters are too limited in what they can do. I may need some plot coupons to give it a sense of progress. (You know what plot coupons are, don't you? They're mini-tasks the characters have to achieve to accomplish the big goal.)
Ironically, the best way to ramp things up is to slow it down. Give minor issues room to expand, rather than dismissing them quickly to get on to the more interesting stuff.
The other part of this is to do what I mentioned at the top of the post - take it chapter by chapter. Assess what it is, where the chapter needs to go, emotionally. I did some of that today. I'll do more tomorrow... but I'm quickly approaching the moment when I need to start writing it. Which could be a problem given my schedule. But you never know.