I’ve been working on my novel, Medusa’s Daughter, a love story set in ancient Greece. I just completed a rewrite of the whole manuscript. It went from 83,000 words to 95,000 words. I added a lot of description and details, lacking from the previous draft. I also cut a bunch of stuff that didn’t need to be there and added a few new scenes/chapters. I need to do at least one more full pass on the manuscript and do a bunch of specific tasks.
The rewrite was guided by some excellent critiques that I received from some writer friends (mainly Brad Beaulieu, Suzzanne Myers, Patrick Tracy, Barbara Webb, Kelly Swails, and a few others who provided some great feedback). I did my best to do everything they said to do, which was tough. Their input was key.
Restructuring the novel was a difficult task—moving chapters around and rethinking how to present the material and backing off certain repetitive elements. The main male character’s point of view (POV) chapters were changed completely and I wrote a few new short chapters that helped the book a lot, and filled out his storyline. I also re-shuffled the handful of Medusa POV chapters and interspersed them into the book from early on, rather than having most of them toward the end of the book.
There are still a lot of tasks left to do, mostly involving adding even more details of the island where the book mostly takes place, and the ancient Aegean world in general. I decided to set the book around 1300 BCE, which is when the Bronze Age collapsed and there were 200 years of Dark Ages. We don’t have that much information about what happened then, but there is enough for me and it’s where I’ve decided to set the Medusa Myth, which I’ve been playing with liberally. I’m saying that this book is happening before the Trojan War, if that helps your frame of reference.
I’ve been reading a lot of books about the world of 1300 BCE, mostly history books about the ancient Hittites, Greeks, and Egyptians. I also found a great book by Janet Morris that came out in 1983 called, I, The Sun, which has been awesome and has shed some light on how one author tackled this approximate time period. Ben Bova just released a book called, The Hittite, which I’m reading as well, as seeing how other authors handle this time period does inform me. Mary Renault’s books set in ancient Greece have been great as well and she is my main inspiration, though I’m not writing in the same style she did, (first person narrator with a somewhat poetic license).
Medusa’s Daughter takes place after Mary Renault’s two books, The King Must Die and The Bull From the Sea, which tell the Theseus myth, as he was a major founding king of Athens.
Anyway, I’ve been working on this novel for a few years now, or rather, I haven’t been working on the novel, and other projects have taken precedence. Now I’m back at it and hope to get it out to an agent later this summer.
You can read a draft of the first two chapters on my website.
Editor of The Crimson Pact