Last time I talked about critique. I have
now fully recovered from my trauma. The insight it gave me was
invaluable, and it didn’t just help one book, it helped the other four in the
It still blows me away sometimes that the
beginning of my series actually began as a 25 page short story. Then I asked
myself a simple question – What if?
Originally the series stood at five novels and
six short stories. However, I’m not really talking about my series. I
wanted to talk about how the critique from the first book, urged me to follow
through with the rest.
One of the issues the critique highlighted,
could only be fixed by carefully and clearly laying out what was happening in
each chapter. I’ve never been one to ‘storyboard’ my ideas. I have always
preferred to write my story down first, then go from there. My ideas usually
explode and I have always found story boarding at the beginning a little too
stifling for me. But that’s just me. Usually I storyboard around the
second or third draft, and then it’s very basic. However, my story relies on
certain events happening in sequence and it needed to be tightened.
Recently on a Sunday afternoon I spent three hours story boarding and sticking
sticky notes all over a wall. Of course I had different colours for different
characters so by the end of it my wall looked like a patchwork quilt. I
left it there for a day or two, glancing and mumbling whenever I passed it.
Then it was suddenly clear to me. I admit I lost track of time, it was
daylight when I started and then, in a blink of an eye, it was night. In that
time my patchwork quilt had changed pattern and had new patches. Of course, I
just couldn’t leave it there, my characters were revitalised and demanded
attention . I agonised over book two, and with the critique in mind, made
the heart wrenching decision that book two was not going to happen in its
current form. So over the course of a very long week, (for some reason, I
still had to go to work), a new book two was born, absorbing book three. Book
five became book four and parts of the short stories were included throughout
all of the books. Of course this meant going back to book one and
adding a few more patches.
Now someone might ask why didn’t I storyboard
in the first place. Well, the truth of the matter is, I’m difficult, stubborn
and like to do things my own way, (just ask my husband). It just wouldn’t
have worked for me then. I would have still made the same mistakes, and more
than likely would not have had the ideas that I hope, has made my book(s)
Now I am in the middle of rewriting and
remodelling. It’s exciting really. I’m seeing my book from a different angle
and can’t wait to finish it. I know my characters are very pleased with the