Today’s post I’m taking the opportunity to illustrate to you how different a book becomes through rewrites, using Life Reader as my example.
I finished the first draft of Life Reader eight years ago. Back then it was called Page Turner, and instead of going undercover as a preppy girl, Raven went undercover as a mousy teenage boy. Isaac Eastgate did not exist, Daire Eastgate was the library’s teenage director, and the Errësi were called the Facade Squad. (Yeah, I know, dorky.) I edited it, but then it sat on my computer for approximately 5 years. Back then the plot of the story was Raven was after a (fictional) artifact called the drops of pretense. Bluntly put the plot was horrible.
I took another look at it and decided that the teenage boy front wasn’t working very well, so I switched it to the pretty chick masquerade you all know of today. I also realized the drops of pretense bit was really awkward and really stupid, so I switched the artifact to a (fictional) music box. While that created a major overhaul for the entire story, I didn’t change much else.
Again Page Turner sat on my computer for about a year and a half. I took another look at it and followed some advice, booting Daire out of his spot as the teenage director. I added Director Isaac Eastgate and Alison–the children’s librarian. I also changed a ton of the name schemes–the lame-o name of Facade Squad was one of the first to go–I removed William from the line up of hired page turner employees and made him a trainee due to his age, and I deleted two characters: Raven’s dog and Raven’s little brother. Neither the dog nor the little brother served much of a purpose. I thought I would have to do a major rewrite of all family scenes since the little brother was gone, but I was shocked to discover he was only in three scenes total, which means I made the right decision to give him the axe. I took out two side characters–they were not completely deleted as they will be appearing in the next Life Reader book–and I finally redrafted the plot so Raven was chasing after Macbeth’s Cauldron.
This final rewrite of Life Reader got rid of all traces of Page Turner. A few snippets of dialog remain from the original rendition of Page Turner, and almost all of the characters are still in the story, but none of the scenes and actual writing remain from Page Turner. Essentially the two are different books. That is how radical rewriting a book can be.
Not all of my books go through this extensive rewriting process. Red Rope of Fate was never rewritten, just edited. The books I rewrite tend to be books that are longer, more complex, and have a lot of characters. Life Reader is my most elaborate example of a rewrite. Princess Ahira was rewritten as well. It went through one major overhaul, which changed the last third of the book. Characters and names remained intact, the biggest point of the draft was to tighten up the writing and to radically change the end of the book.
I’ve decided to suck it up, dispose of my pride, and provide a small sample of the original Page Turner for you, Champions. This sample will show just how important the rewriting process can be. (The writing? Yeah it’s bad.) Thanks for reading, and please have a good laugh.