The Book Writing (and Editing) Process: Making Changes
When you start a book, the most important step is to accept the idea that the finished product will likely look different then what you initially envision. Not that you should second guess yourself, and question every plot or character choice, but there are always some ideas that just won’t look as good when you first write them down (or even after you think about them more then once).
I’ve made more changes to the Lightrider Journals then I can remember. The very first draft of this story was only nine pages, and it was all written in first person point of view. I knew two things right away- that it needed to be longer, and that first person was not going to work. So I started brainstorming, and came up with the idea of the Knights being sent off to fight their enemies, the Chaos Demons, and their all powerful leader, in some dark corner of Africa. It got me up a few more pages, but again, I just couldn’t get behind it. So instead, I reworked that little escapade into a training exercise the Knights would undergo in a parallel universe. Which made a lot more sense then sending a group of newly empowered heroes right out to face the Lord of all Evil. There was also a scene where the Demons attack Cleveland and destroy the Indians’ stadium. One week after writing it, I realized this was WAY too big to pull off in the first story
But the Knights themselves were the largest change I dealt with in writing. Initially, I wrote this group as all men. I don’t really know why; maybe I just felt I couldn’t write female characters well. But as I got deeper into the writing, I realized that this was going to really ruin a surprise I had planned for the next book in the series, and that I was getting more then a few complaints from people about it. So I looked over the group, and picked characters that I thought I could pull of as women. And as I did, I realized that I could do write women if I just through of them as characters and not define them through their gender.
But something else came out too. More then once in writing this book, I realized that I’ve connected themes and ideas without realizing I was doing it. And in this case, I realized that by doing this, I would be keeping in tune with the book’s central theme of balance by having a group that was equally divided by sexes (or that I would when the series was finished), and that it would be easier to get to that point now. So anyone that thinks that your book will exactly what you picture it at first, give that up right now. Because you are going to make changes, and God willing, you’ll have a better book for it.