When I wrote Wings of Skell (now Planes Shifter) in January 2012, it was a story of a girl who, befriended by a bird of prey, poses as a falconer, enrols as an assassin and wants to get home to take her place as Queen.
Over the last few days, I’ve looked at how the second and third books have a lot of dark magic and deaths in them – and realised that book one was too different in its genre to the others. For a series, that doesn’t bode well.
But I had 105,000 words of this novel, with characters and a story I still liked.
Last year when I was trying to finish it, it was suggested that I might need to blend books one and two – because book two just continued with book one’s plot, and really, the first half was “boy and girl are together, she’s new to being queen, he’s trying to keep his business afloat and someone is poisoned. They solve the mystery while juggling life.”
Part two of the second book brought in a lot of magic, with an unwell baby and friend’s being kidnapped to the realm of the dead. But the plot felt so lacking in relevant (in this context, dark magic or assassination related) aspects, I thought I could just cut the mundane aspects and create one “backstory” book. But I didn’t want to lose all that work!
It’s been about nine months since I was given that suggestion.
I began the re-write of this “melded one and two” novel on Tuesday. But as I read through my first book again, I kept seeing openings – opportunities where I could pull through a bit of the dead realm or a conversation about the necromancy could appear.
Today, I spent twelve hours going through the outline, skim-reading the scene and then identifying the purpose and themes of each section. I now have a story about necromancy and the realm of the dead, where a girl has to fight her way to the throne. I haven’t had to get rid of any plot points that I really love, and it now eases the reader into the world of books two and three.
I’ll have to repeat this process with book two, but rather than waiting until draft five, I’ll know to do it at the beginning, saving myself a lot of time.
And then I can write book three, following my outline for the most part, and seeing where it takes me.