I’ve posted before about my difficulties with a particular story.
It started life as THE SHAMAN’S CURSE, my first completed novel (if you don’t count that thing I wrote in college). There really wasn’t much wrong with the story, but there was a lot wrong with my abilities as a writer and story-teller. So, I left it alone for a few years.
But I still really like those characters and that story. So, last year I rewrote a portion of that story as middle grade. It worked at least reasonably well. That version, MAGIC’S FOOL, still needed a little work, but I was pretty happy with it. And then, during WriteOnCon, I discovered that agents and editors don’t like stories that start off with thirteen-year-old protagonists. This was a problem because, for this story to work, I really couldn’t make him any younger. Drat. I had laid out several possible options for how I might proceed.
Well, last week, while I was trying to get THE BARD’S GIFT out of my head so I could start revisions on MAGE STORM, I sat down and as an exercise outlined the original novel. I have to say that was an eye-opener. It really highlighted some of the weaknesses in the original writing. I mean, I knew it, but it’s different when you see it in color-coded black and white, so to speak.
Anyway, my subconscious obviously kept playing around with the idea while I was working on other things. And then it forced me to sit down and type out a new outline. It’s the original, nearly-complete storyline with a couple of things left out that just really didn’t work well for a young adult story. Yes, it will be YA with a boy protagonist. The timeline is compressed from eight years (which was one of the weaknesses of the original story) to about two. And I like it.
There are a couple of things not clearly defined, but I’m a discovery writer; this is way more outline than I usually have at the beginning of a story. In fact, I’m sure that I’ll probably diverge from this outline at least once. That’s just what happens.
So, I guess I know what my next starting-from-scratch project will be, likely some time next year. Between now and then, I have to finish the revisions for MAGE STORM (I have a reader lined up who happens to be a great critique partner), revise BLOOD IS THICKER, possibly work on a couple of short stories, if I can squeeze them in, and then do the second and third drafts of THE BARD’S GIFT to have it ready for readers in January.
Looks like I’ll be busy for the foreseeable future, which is just how I like it.