Taichiren’s Update #1

Alright, so my schedule is finally starting to clear up and I’m going to be setting up so that I can get back to writing my book. I’m pretty excited.

I’m going to be writing a series of posts to sort of outline my progress with my book over the next few months. I wanted to make it so I had an additional reason to trudge forward and so the people who are interested in reading it when it’s done can learn more about it before they can get their hands on it. I’ll be writing one of these posts every three or four weeks (sometimes sooner if I’m eager to write about this stuff) so I’ll have lots of material to write about.

Anyway, for this update I just wanted to talk a bit about the book itself and what it’s about. It’s been a while since I discussed the plot/ premise and a lot has changed since then, so I figured it would be a great place to start.

The original plan for the first book was to make it about a girl who is whisked away to a magical elven city after her home is destroyed. Of course, she later discovers that this magical world isn’t quite what she thought it was. It sounds a bit cliche, I know, but that’s kind of what happens when you summarize the plot in two sentences. Regardless, over the last year or so I’ve had a lot of time to think, and think I have. I decided that there were three large problems surrounding this initial idea:

#1: I’ve discussed Freywyn on my blog before, but because it’s been so long, here’s a quick recap. Freywyn is the floating island above my story’s main continent of Valvrae. The island is teeming with strange, magical energies and is populated only by elves. The reason Freywyn became a problem was because after sitting back from the story and thinking about what needed to be done to accomplish what I wanted with the book, I realized I put too much importance in a location that really serves no key purpose. By realizing this, I was able to remove a lot of the content pertaining to my main character’s actions while on Freywyn and portray them in a more meaningful way in regards to the story by keeping them in Valvrae. I’m not going to bother explaining this now, as I’ll get to it in another post.  Anyway, Freywyn wasn’t completely removed and there will be several scenes still written on the island– but it’s not nearly as important as before.

#2: Now that I think of it, all three of these big problems were noticed when I took a significant break from writing the book (just proves that you should take a break in between drafts). The second problem was that I placed too much value on a “feud” between the elves and the v’yeras (half-dragons), which I later came to see was a poorly crafted attempt at a substitute for a real plot. Whoops. That’s a pretty huge problem if you ask me. Basically, this meant that the integrity of my story was placed upon an event that happened a full generation ago, made no sense, and left most of my book running around all over the place without any real focus. I made a significant change to this (for starters, that means there’s no real feud at all in the newest version), and that’s another thing I’ll get to in another post.

#3: The ending only made a bit of sense. If you’re like me, you place a lot of value on how a book ends. Even if it’s not the last book in a series, it needs to have a genuine sense of finality and continuity at the same time. Something needs to end, but it also should leave room to start something new. While I think I had the first half spot on, I didn’t end it in such a way that made it simple to follow into the next book, which begins (in the story world) only days after the first book ends. Because I have so many other storylines to finish up over the course of the next few books, I had to change it so that the ending flowed into that properly. If I left it the way it was, it would have been pretty jarring to start the second book where I wanted to, and that’s no good.

Out of the three, #2 would have been the biggest problem, and once I found a way around that, solutions to the other two were quick to follow. A plot that was once cliche and mismanaged turned into something great: Kristinn discovers that after she loses her home and her sanity that she still has something else she can lose. The Gods demand that she sacrifice everything, but there are rewards for those who are selfish under the guise of selflessness.

I still need to work on that summary, but it’s a good start. Sounds much more interesting than the initial plot, no? If you think about it a bit, you’ll notice that it’s not as straight forward as the other one. This summary implies a lot, but leaves all of that up to your imagination. Guess you’ll just need to find out what happens, huh? While I do plan on going into more detail about what I’m going to be writing about in the upcoming draft, I also want to talk to you guys about what I’ve learned through the mistakes I’ve made with my first (and previous) draft. And that’s what’s coming up in the second update post…

So, have any of you guys sat back from your writing and found any huge oopsies like the ones I mentioned? How did you deal with them?

~Erynn

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