And finally, we've arrived at the meat and potatoes of my personal push to go through IN DARKNESS AND LIGHT: Odyssium Collection Volume 1 with a fine-toothed comb. Full disclosure: THE HOLLOW-HEARTED has never sit 100% well with me. To me, it was the definition of the "sophomore slump." I say that because it was technically my second book, as The 13th Paragon was originally conceived and written as a single book. It was split into two after the fact because of its absurd length...though George R.R. Martin would probably say it wasn't long enough.
Anyhow, I always dreamed of some far-off day in the future where I could have another go at THE HOLLOW-HEARTED. As luck would have it, that far-off day turned out to be about three or so months ago (in 2023, if you're reading this old blog sometime from the future).
On my re-read of THE HOLLOW-HEARTED, I'm okay with saying it was...fine. Opting to make it a novella rather than a novel was the right choice so the pacing worked, and it was cool to open up a window and see Natke and Fuorento working together and being a couple. However, what permeated from the original published draft was a fair amount of POTENTIAL. I liked it, but I knew it could be so much better.
What that required, I found out, was for Future Me to have written the Natke novella in the Odyssium Collection Volume 2--tentatively-titled I Begin--and thereby have a more thorough understanding of Natke Orino's upbringing and the skills and traumas that that upbringing instilled in her. So that shifted the narrative and her characterization a good bit, making part of the journey in THE HOLLOW-HEARTED about Natke recognizing how broken she'd become during her years as an immersion agent (spy) for Mother Miriotesse.
There were other changes as well, particularly when it came to the villain of the piece. I won't say much about it here because I'd rather you just read it yourself, but he's not only crazy different from the previous version character-wise, he also has to share the villainous spotlight with someone else. Poor guy.
I will say the bones of THE HOLLOW-HEARTED were good. I liked the supporting cast, the premise of the saboteur assassin, and the quiet fracturing of Natke's relationship with Fuorento. The devil, however, was in the details, and I did my best to exorcise old Lucie.
Um...on second thought, the devil can stay.
So, does this mean revisions of ISLE OF THE SLEEPING GODS and 2021's THE GIRL WHO STOLE THE SUN are up for revisions? Not anytime soon. The point of the Odyssium Revision Project was to bring the earlier material more up to speed with my current work, and my current work is represented fairly well in those two books.
That's it for now, kiddies. Now that I've got this project out of the way, I can get to work on Tides of Odyssium #2, which will kick off in September with a little cabin trip getaway. I'm excited.