So I’ve been on a bit of a writing binge lately (we’re talking over 12K words in a week, which for me, is like, crazy, yo), and I finally feel like I can give you a leedle update on how my rewrite is going.
Side effect of obsessive writing compulsion: sleep deprivation. Side effect of sleep deprivation: mild insanity. You have been warned.
So yeah. The rewrite. I was stuck in a rut for a few months for a few reasons (one being my love life…met a wonderful guy, and he was distracting. But! He moved away. Sad for me, good for my writing). Besides that, I’ve been generally lacking in motivation.
Finally I think I’ve gotten into the groove with this new version of the story. The story is coming much more easily now (before it was a struggle just to come up with a couple hundred words, and now my fingers are struggling to keep up with my brain).
I’m about 25K words into my rewrite, and I have to say, I’m pretty happy with how it’s turning out. I can tell my writing has improved and I’m confident the dialogue is snappy.
BUT…because everything with writing must have a but…I’m nervous. Nervous how all of y’all who love the version of Paladin I have up on Wattpad will receive it.
I didn’t realize, I think, how dramatically different the rewrite would be. You all know that I was asked to add in new layers and characters and subplots, and that has had a very significant impact on the pace of the story. To put it into perspective, I’ve written 25,000 words, and Sam just ran away from Haywood in the most recent chapter. She hasn’t decided she wants to become a Paladin yet (that’s coming) and the road between Haywood and The Center (renamed, btw, because “The Center” is a lame name for a capitol city) is not a straight one. We’ve already met Tristan, but Braeden is still a good 5-10,000 words out of the picture.
When I’ve talked to folks about the rewrite in the past, I’ve told them to think of it as a prequel. If I had to guess, I think something like 60-70% of the book will take place before Sam and crew head west for the Diamond Coast.
But a prequel is not an entirely accurate description. The sequence of events, out of necessity, has had to change. So have some of the character motivations. And the introduction of new characters and plot threads has had more consequences than I anticipated.
For example: Sam’s mother isn’t dead at the start of the story. That majorly affects Sam’s relationship with her father (the duke) and perhaps more significantly, her view of love and romantic relationships.
Sam also isn’t completely friendless. In the Wattpad version, I described her as having few friends—which I think is still true—but I didn’t think it was realistic that she’d spend 18 years in Haywood without making any friends. She’s weird, but she’s a good person. Even outcasts have a friend or two (I’m speaking as a former outcast). So I’ve introduced a friend for her, Will, who has a minor but important role. I have to say, I’m getting a kick out of his character. I really like the dynamic between them. Here’s a quick snippet:
She slung an arm around Will’s shoulders. “Cheer up.”
He shrugged her off. “Don’t you ever get tired of winning?”
She grinned. “No.”
“Well, I’m tired of losing. It gets depressing, you know.” He looked at her sideways. “I suppose you don’t know.”
“You defeated Owen just yesterday,” Sam pointed out gently. “Handily, too.”
“I did, didn’t I?” He threw her a lopsided smile.
D’oh! I went off on a tangent. The point is, the first 25,000 – and possibly the first 50,000 – words are entirely new content. Not reworded content, new. You will meet the people who enable Sam’s escape from Haywood…
Emont’s coach waited for her a mile down the road from the castle. The peddler himself leaned against the carriage, watching her approach. He had lit a lantern, but his clothes were so bright she could have seen him without it. He was taller than she remembered, thin all over but for a slight paunch. A fading bruise across his cheek served as the only remaining evidence of the bandits’ attack. “Lady Samantha,” he said. His voice was no longer hoarse, but sonorous and full. “I half-hoped you wouldn’t come.” (FYI, my agent hasn’t edited this paragraph yet. So it could change.)
…And you’ll witness her journey with them. You’ll also get a lot more detail on how Sam learns to fake being a boy. The Paladin Trials won’t be a quick chapter anymore; they’ll take up a relatively significant portion of the book.
So why am I nervous? Well, I’m afraid that a lot of you are going to freak the !@#$ out. I’m afraid the story will be so different you’ll hate it. I’m afraid you’ll be upset when some of the most memorable events from Paladin are delayed until the second book. I’m afraid that this story won’t stand up to the original.
I personally think that the story I’m writing now is stronger (and Mommy Slater agrees! That’s one!). But I’ve also come to realize that I’m essentially writing a new book. A book that has the same characters, the same feel to it, the same major themes, the same general direction…but a different story to tell. There will be overlap, but for better or for worse, most of the story will be new to you.
I’ve still got a lot left of my rewrite to go (oh, a good 80,000 words…), so who knows where the story will take me. I hope people see the book as an opportunity to read a new story about characters they already love. After all, the original version of Paladin remains up on Wattpad for anyone who wants to read it. So it’s kind of like a bonus, right? Right?