I’ve been trying to figure out how I was going to write this post for a while. I get the question all the time; what’s the best piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring writer?
Well, one piece, you all know. It’s my mathematical equation proving that you are in fact only up against one person when you’re trying to get your book published; yourself. It’s good advice and something that every determined writer should follow.
However, I have a second piece of advice that I’ve been trying to find a way to put to words for a while now. Simply put, don’t be surprised or discouraged when the story you go to publish is NOT the original idea you had.
I know how crazy that might sound, but consider for a moment; your book is going to go through multiple edits. It’s going to go through several rewrites. You’re going to get feedback from beta readers and editors, and you’re going to see your own mistakes. So it makes perfect sense that the story is going to slowly begin to morph into something else. Here’s the kicker though, that’s not a bad thing. Don’t fight it, embrace it.
Let me put it to you this way… and I’m going to give everyone who’s read my books fair warning… Drakin: The Orphans of Haven is nothing like what I had originally planned on writing about. The largest changes surrounded the main heroine; Qira.
Believe it or not, Qira was just simply supposed to be a damsel in distress. She was supposed to be a plot point and a catalyst for my main character to right his path in life. A plot point… nothing more. However, then something happened before I even finished the first write through. Qira began to change. She took on a more central role in the story to the point where she was not only the main character’s catalyst for change, she was his rock.
By the first rewrite, she was his partner and shared center stage. She had her own backstory, her own vices, and her own obstacles to overcome. By the time I finished the story, she was the rock that helped the hero on the path to recovery, and he was the savior that gave her new purpose and a new direction in life. They complimented each other and the story became about them both, in some cases more about her.
Since then, Qira has gone on to become a recurrent character in every novel in the series following Orphans. She has become the icon and the mascot of the entire series… and she started out as Nylie, a minor plot point. I get compliments about her in my inbox all the time and for a character that wasn’t meant to be anything, in a novel that was meant to be more of a placeholder than anything, she became an icon in an absolutely integral novel to the entire story.
I don’t want to give too much away, but that was really my best and most glaring example.
The point to all of this is that change is inevitable and what sounds good in your head, likely won’t translate onto paper exactly as you intended it to. That said, don’t fight the change, embrace it. When your characters take on a life of their own, when they guide you through the story naturally instead of you pushing them in any specific direction, you’re actually creating a world the way it was meant to be created. Do not fight this, let them go where they will and you will be amazed at what happens. I truly believe that.
Anyway, good luck!
Stay safe, stay frosty, support the indie community and small business, and read a book!
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.
I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.
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Catch you on the flip side!
More good advice, and why I don’t worry too much about being a pantser. Writing is a process, and we all have our own.