Version 3.. or is it 35?

Every writer has one of those stories; The ones the expert advice tells you to trunk. It may be a product, like mine, of your first attempt to write anything beyond fanfic. It may be, also like mine, a product of Nanowrimo. And it may, like mine, be an infernal mess of unresolved plot lines, sloppy and inconsistent world building, and characters who have motives about as deep as the bathroom sink.

Yet it won’t leave you alone. It lingers in the back of your thoughts, tempting you. It’s not that bad, it insists. There’s some really great scenes. The basic premise is good. And when you’re young to writing, and don’t know better, you listen. And you try it again, changing some things, stretching out the rushed parts, trying to frame it. You still can’t make anything from it. You shove it under the bed, in hopes it will grow some dust bunnies, instead of plot bunnies.

And years later.. you’ve got the problem areas resolved, at least from other stories. You know how to craft a good plot, with a beginning, middle, and end even! You know how to take characters and dig down deep to what makes them tick. You’ve built, rebuilt, and deconstructed more worlds than you care to count. You can finally tackle this story as it deserves.

That’s what I’ve always referred to as my Trilogy. Not that books 2 or 3 ever got written, or really plotted, mind you. Book 1 never really reached an end, just sorta tapered off, before I tried to tear it apart. But I knew what happened, of course, so I launched into book 2. Got 25k into it, and realized, I was out of plot, I didn’t know what was happening, and I knew book 3 had something to do with the queen getting sick or killed or something, but that was about it.

The world building is there, and quite good, if I do say so myself. In explaining the world/concepts to KT tonight, I figured even more details I’d forgotten I’d even needed. The biggest difference, though, between the old version and what I’m working on outlining now? It’s turning from traditional fantasy to YA fantasy. More on my thoughts on genres in another post, because that goes off into it’s own essay. 😉 But it’s funny, because in reading the old version, I can really see just how much my writing has improved over the 7 years I’ve been working on developing it.

At the same time, as I’m attempting to outline the new version, it’s overlaying the old version. Things that I felt were too fast in the old version are being drawn out more. For example, the admission of “I love you” happened in the first draft on about chapter 6. Mind you, most of these chapters were about 1k. Not realistic, in retrospect. Now? It’s not going to happen until almost the end of the first book, in a really otherwise intense chapter where they think they’re going to die. Unfortunately, this means I have to change, possibly cut, my favorite scene in the whole book. It doesn’t really fit with what ends up happening in the new version anyway. It’s a darling of a scene, though, and a few of the really good lines may be salvageable. Maybe. At least until I let KT at them. She’s ruthless on darlings.

It really is like seeing double sometimes. Have you completely redone a project before? How did you handle it? Lots of coffee?

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6 Comments

  1. K.T. Hanna said,

    March 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Am I that bad? Lol… an occasional darling is ok, but a full scene is not 😛

    Anyhu – I love the story and I’m proud of you. Go you and your bad self ❤

    • Leigh Caroline said,

      March 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      LOL you’re not bad at all! Frankly, I LIKE that you do that. 😛
      ❤ Thank you. Hopefully it ends up as good as I'm hoping. We'll see.

  2. March 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I’m afraid, now…again…of novels!

    • Leigh Caroline said,

      March 20, 2012 at 6:40 pm

      Don’t be afraid of them!! I’m just a perfectionist, and I didn’t do short stories first… I jumped straight to novels. I think a lot of the basic craft elements can be better developed in short stories, but they’re sometimes harder to isolate that way. Novels can be a pain in the butt, but in some regards, I find them easier in the long run.

  3. March 22, 2012 at 10:38 am

    that takes a lot of courage to gut something so completely and start over. congrats. and keep up the good fight.

    • Leigh Caroline said,

      March 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks! I actually have less trouble starting over on this than I thought I would. It’s been trunked for ages though, so that really helps, I think. Knowing I’ve grown as a writer over the last decade or so since I wrote the original helps too. 😉


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