Writing is a process.
I start with an idea, a character , a situation or a conversation. I try to develop it into a viable story to the point where I can write a storyboard or synopsis.
It’s when I reach that point that it’s good to analyse it for cohesion, plot, and the various arcs of character development, motivations, conflicts and how these will coalesce for the final climactic moment.
That’s exactly what I didn’t do with the original draft of Voyager, and why it turned out to be such a dog’s breakfast. Sadly I’d written over 100,000 words before this was pointed out to me.
Since this experience I would HEAVILY recommend the services of a story editor. I paid a modest sum for this service to Sarah at Writers Essentials.com who was able to really nail down where the weaknesses were. I re-wrote about 60% of Voyager as a result, picking out a completely new direction and making it a much more taut and cohesive story.
While I think it’s not going to break any records, it’s a much better story, although the initial evaluation felt like a bit of a mauling, it has helped me become a better story writer.
I know we all want to be able to do these things ourselves,m but there is no substitute for an honest, independent (and yes, sometimes brutal!) unpicking of your lovingly crafted story. I will definitely consider this approach in the future, and the earlier into the story creation phase, the better.
I think Voyager needs plenty more work, but I may just self-publish it anyway to get another book out there. My next novel will be my best one yet!