My blogging schedule kind of got interrupted last week by our annual ski trip. Therefore, I didn’t get around to a 2015 wrap-up or anything. Suffice to say 2015 was a good year and went by way too fast. I officially wrote 2016 this morning and now it’s real.
I’m currently in the middle of something really fun. Re-writes! And no, that was not said with any sarcasm, believe it or not.
I have this story that I finished writing at the end of 2014. I transferred it from my notebooks into the computer and realized something. I didn’t like the story. At all. I liked parts, a character or two, but it felt so…bleh. And the best thing about it was I had no idea how to fix it, even after a second draft. It stayed that way through all of 2015, until a few weeks ago when something finally clicked and I hesitantly started poking it with a stick. One nifty “save as” later, I had a new version labeled “draft 3” ready to go. I’m only on page 64/251 but I’m actually kind of starting to love it.
Let me tell you about the story. It’s a fantasy book with more Christian elements than I’ve ever put in. In the first two drafts it was a lot like GOOD. EVIL. BLACK. WHITE. ALLEGORY STUFF. REPENT OR DIEEE! Not really that extreme, but you get the idea. (You can find the updated and slightly vague synopsis here – The Sword of Kirraine) The point is, I had this cool idea in my head and it fell really flat. Basically this happened.
I wanted the story that hadn’t already been written a kajillion times before. I read several fantasy books over the last few weeks, namely The Riyria Revelation Series and the first two books in The Raven’s Shadow trilogy. They are fantasy of the epic sort, with grand sweeping plot lines and adventures and high stakes. And just plain wonderful. Although I will warn you, if you’re looking for clean reads, Riyria is pretty clean, Raven’s Shadow not so much. But Blood Song (book 1 in Raven’s Shadow trilogy) is definitely one of my favorite books. Ever.
These books started me thinking. Things aren’t always strictly black and white. Worlds need to be built realistically. History has to be written. Religions need foundations. People need solid reasons for their actions. The wheels started turning. Ideas bubbled to the surface and I began to have a game plan.
Now, I’m not aiming to write a tome by any means. My book is the first in a potentially pretty long series. I’m really excited about the other books in the series (most of which are partially plotted) and now I’m excited about this one too. I sat down and started a map. The world doubled in seconds. Continents are waiting to be named. Characters are talking to me again, explaining things better. I changed the bad guy. I like to think he has a more realistic part now. Some plot points are coming together nicely. I took a page from Tricia Mingerink’s book, decided to ditch the typical European setting and opted for terrain and lifestyle similar to the Southwest U.S, which makes worldbuilding so much easier as I’m familiar with it. I’m keeping the bare bones of the plot, but a lot is getting chucked out to make room for a new version.
It sounds terrible to have to re-write your story. But it’s not so bad when you didn’t like what you had in the first place. I’m really excited to go through and make the changes. One thing I am slightly worried about is my family seemed to enjoy the story. My mom loves the old version so I hope she can get on board with the new story. (But I’m the author so they basically have no choice.) 😛 And I’m hoping to have a lot more done by next week when a new semester starts.
What about you? How do you approach re-writes?