The characters helped a lot. They had strong personalities that carried a few chapters alone. Demona was fun to write - half-succubus, half-Catholic, all librarian. Nadia turned into her Demona's opposite, mortal, flawed, and perpetually cranky. Ian was the fun-loving one of the group, the stable bedrock for the other two. The dynamic kept things fresh for me.
Drawbacks, though, were the lack of planning and the subsequent pacing issues. I had to rein in the desire to get to the punchline with the Elvis impersonators in the third arc. The second arc had things boiling up without a solution until I started digging into American history. The chapter length should've been shorter in a few cases. Hindsight leads to learning if viewed properly, though, and the problems I had while writing Heaven's Rejects should be smoothed over in the future.
The lack of planning, though, also lets me take into account weirdnesses that come up while I'm writing. The zombie Elvii were inspired by the bingo cards created by the local municipal liaisons. I'm not committed to a specific ending if something better comes up. There's a trade off between planning and pantsing, and while pantsing takes effort during the act of writing instead of off-loading some of it before writing begins, it also feels more organic. I had an outline for By the Numbers that I kept to until the end, where the direction of the story meant Numbers leaving. The story was kept in a steady direction, but it didn't feel right at the end of writing. It works now, after the passage of time. Meanwhile, stories like Unruly and The Soul Blade had the story grow organically, leaving me more satisfied at the ned.
One thing that I may not do again is include character asides with their pics. The formatting takes time, and I'd want a greater variety of images to reflect the characters' moods. It was an experiment with Heaven's Rejects. If I could draw, I might have gone that route. I do like having pictures to refer to with my characters, even if I have to build them in a video game. The act of describing the character forces me to consider elements I'd have never thought of.
NaNo is coming, so I hope to remember what I learned with Heaven's Rejects.
Tomorrow, going back a bit, or romance be hard, yo.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, The Raven.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, The Expanse Season 2.