Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Ambushed by a new writing project

So you know I decided to take off April and not write, because April is supposed to be a mad gardening month. And it will be, too, as soon as it QUITS SNOWING. I tell you, you’d think this was MN and not MO. Honestly.

Though all the plants I ordered from nurseries will arrive in the middle of the month, so at that point mad gardening will of necessity ensue, even if it is still chilly.

And besides that, there’s a major Cavalier specialty April 18, 19, 20, and 21st. I would LIKE to put novice rally titles on my teenagers, so might be good to get some training done, right? Especially since I have already paid the entry fees. And then I am showing them in the breed ring for the first time, and Pippa in Veterans, and I’m judging Children’s Handling, so busy busy and hence not the best time to get into serious writing, obviously; plus there’s the new baby puppy distracting me.

So all this is true, but almost the moment I decided on a holiday, I suddenly had this inspiration about how to re-tool the very first fantasy trilogy I ever wrote and make it work as a single stand-alone novel. It’ll work, it’ll be coherent and self-contained and actually pretty good. I think. And since I’m just playing anyway, if it doesn’t wind up going anywhere, so what? Any extra pages that turn up in April are just icing on the cake, right?

So I’m removing two out of three protagonists and nearly all their associated secondary characters and plot elements.* Poof. Gone. No ghosts! I am sorry to lose the ghosts, especially the ghost dog.** I think I am keeping the Gods, though I’m not completely sure about that yet. The place-bound Powers, like a sort of not-very-comfortable genii loci, are still a very important plot element. The basic geography of the world, yes, no need to change that. Nice to have all the towns named already! And all the characters, for that matter.

So far, I’ve written about ten pages . . . but I already have about 12,000 words, because I’ve hooked in that many pages from the original manuscript. So far. Lots more will be brought in soon. Rewritten, certainly, but some of it not all that much. I can see stuff coming up: I need to assign a minor role to a different character, because the role is still there but the character who used to fill it is gone. And there are a couple scenes I may keep, but switch the pov to the remaining protagonist. And so forth and so on. You know how it is with continuity and consistency and all that; standard housekeeping.

Skimming through the original ms, I see I had no idea about pacing. And it is so cluttered! Nice to feel like I have learned something in the past five years.

Anyway! Still planning to read the rest of Martha Wells’ books in April, sure, but it may take longer to get through them than I thought, now that I’ve picked up this little project. Looks like a snazzy month ahead!

* For those few of you who are familiar with the trilogy in question: I’m cutting Meridy and her whole plotline, and Herrol and his whole plotline (including Pereith Norrir and Diollin and everything to do with them). I’m keeping Carad Mereth as a plot driver. The main protagonist is Kehera and the secondary protagonist is the Wolf Duke. Not sure how the endgame is going to play out now.

** I can see myself picking up Meridy and the ghosts and figuring out how to fit them into a different book. If I keep the ghosts as a minor element in Kehera’s story, I could in theory bring Meridy back in for a different story in the same world, so I might do it that way.

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5 Comments Ambushed by a new writing project

  1. Rachel

    I think it will work — but having now transferred all the scenes I want to keep into a new file, I now think it will work as a duology. With a cliffhanger ending, but there’s no natural concluding point near the middle. I do think I’ll finish this off — if it moves as fast as most normal revisions, it might not even take that long — and then we’ll see; but this could be one to try self-publication with.

  2. Caroline Evarts

    Hey! Great! I want the credit if this project goes well, and absolutely NONE of the blame if it goes wrong, ‘kay? (She chuckles, thinking herself funny) I have always wanted to reread the 2nd book, so I am super excited to see the Wolf Duke again. It has been a hell of a lot more than 5 yrs, hasn’t it?? I swear it was before Esai was born – which in exactly a week will be 10 yrs ago! (But I know I could be wrong)

    The librarian I befriended here told me about the YA award you are up for – THAT was exciting. I believe she is on the committee doing the choosing. I had given her _Floating Islands_, but I can’t remember if she had been the one who suggested it. (She liked it very much, she has good taste). It’s for issues faced by a female protagonist, forgive me for not remembering the actual award. But she pulled me aside and mentioned it – I was very excited!
    I’m really glad you’re doing this – I love that you keep me posted. Thanks.

  3. Rachel

    I was pretty sure you’d approve! But I will totally blame you for making me do this, if it doesn’t work out. : ) No, it’s going fine, I think. And yes, I think I probably did write the original version before Esai was born.

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