I’ve been working on a young adult fantasy trilogy for over a year now. The way I have it plotted is in a sort of broken chronological order, meaning that book number 3 is meant to be published first followed by book 1 then 2.
Book 3, entitled Immortal Bond, has been complete for over six months and placed to the side for additional work when I finish books 1, The Channeller, and book 2, My Brother’s Keeper. The Channeller is my current project (aside from copy editing Us which I am hoping to query for soon). I finished the first draft in early December 2015 and it was about 86,000 words. Working this series backwards has been interesting. I expected the world to morph and develop as I went through the series, and I knew that by the time I made it back to Immortal Bond there would be a lot more than just copy editing to do.
I just never imagined I’d have to redo the whole thing.
I was nearly done with The Channeller when I started saying to myself, “Wow, there’s some mature themes in this story. I better be careful.” Then the writer in me rolled her eyes and said, “Look just write what you need to write and you can tone it down later if you have to.” I let myself believe this, until one day I wrote something that I knew had to stay. It was a scene that told a lot about two characters, one of them, named Renaud, is key to my entire series. I read over the scene once or twice then took it blushingly to my husband.
“Hey honey,” I said as I handed him my laptop. “Can you just read that bit there and tell me what you think?”
He read it while I stared at his face, trying to gage his reaction. When he finished he turned to me and said, “It’s good, but this is not young adult anymore.”
I hadn’t prepped him for that reply which made him saying it all the more compelling. I spent the next few weeks with a nagging question in the back of my mind, “now what?”
After weeks of running Immortal Bond through my mental editor, I finally worked it out and came to this conclusion: The whole thing needs to grow up.
I don’t often plot on paper, just in my head with the occasional notes jotted here and there in my notebook or word document. But I went through all the key scenes and I am certain that I can mature them and grow up my characters (some of them literally). I even got excited about it, thinking that it will probably be better this way then my original idea.
I am basically going to have to rewrite the whole thing from scratch. I already started. I’ve been making notes for rewrites of Immortal Bond as well as making notes for how this will effect My Brother’s Keeper (which is tecnically next on the agenda after The Channeller). I even took the time one day to rewrite a whole scene in Immortal Bond, the same scene that started my professional writing journey in July of 2013. It’s the scene that defines the whole story of Immortal Bond, everything else in the book bleeds out from that chapter, like an ink spot on a blank piece of paper.
It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m a proud parent and I can’t wait to see what my baby will look like after I finish taking the YA out of her name.
© Rachel Svendsen 2016
I dislike the restrictions when it comes to writing for YA. Writing adult books gives much more freedom. Its unfortunate you have to rewrite your story. I wish you luck. 🙂
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Isn’t it funny how the characters begin to take on a life of their own? Even though you are the author you are not always going to be in complete control of the plot…
I actually love the feeling. It feels like my characters really are alive.
Sounds exciting. Enjoy the re-writing! I wish you great success.
Big news but exciting stuff!