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Nov 22, 2008

Brothers

November is never a good novel writing month for me, and having a baby hasn't made things any easier. Nonetheless, this year, as in other years, I am driven by an absurd desire to enter NaNoWriMo. Needless to say, when one enters ten days before the end of the month, and can't even commit those ten days to full writing, the chances of winning (writing 50,000 words of a new novel) is drastically reduced.

This year I decided to cheat. Instead of a new novel, I resolved to take the time to do a rewrite of an old one. Now, when I say re-write, I mean every single word is changed, almost every single scene is changed and just about the entire plot is changed. So in essence, it IS a new novel. One might then ask, in what sense, ISN'T it a new novel? Actually, there are two critical areas where I don't need to start from scratch -- the characters and the worldbuilding. I spent years of my youth lovingly crafting the layered histories of this world. My characters have spent years in therapy, being analyzed from every angle. That's great, because I don't have the time for such detailed crafting these days.

I am contemplating one major change in relationship between two of the characters. Originally, they were unrelated, and I'm thinking of making them half-brothers. This way they can have the whole sibling-rivalry thing going in addition to their other rivalry.

The only problem is that I already have a pair of sibling-rivalry-obsessed half-brothers, two minor characters. I love the story arc with those two, so I'm not going to remove it. It was the fact that their story arc was eclipsing in interest the more major story arc of the hero that alerted me I needed a stronger emotional pull for the hero.

But will that make for too much redundancy? Two sets of rival half-brothers -- is that overkill? Can I use one set to contrast and highlight the problems with the other set?

***

I made one other major change to the book.

It's more a change in how I think about it than a real change. Namely, I've decided I might try to sell it (both to agents and to editors) as Young Adult. Young Adult is still hot as hell right now, and the success of Twilight is likely to boost editorial enthusiasm for it in the near future. One shouldn't slavishly follow the market, but I'm not in real danger of that. The topic of my book is quite unlike vampire-teen-noir or Harry Potter wizard-schooling or children-find-a-portal-to-a-magic-world. (All of which I've heard agents complain they have too many wanna-be knock-offs piling their desks). In fact, it may be too untrendy to interest either readers or agents. Then again, maybe I could start a new trend. It would make a great video game...

I've also contemplated doing to this book what I did to Dindi, cutting the original manuscript into pieces and flushing out the pieces into shorter books. (The original manuscript was 180 words, and even allowing for the gross over-writing of a high-school author, that's unlikely to be thinned just by line-editing alone.)

I have to work on the age of the protagonists. It would be nice if they were more or less young adults themselves for most of the series, but in this extended/dismembered version of the story, I have them start out the first book as eight and ten, for about twelve chapters. Too young, too long? Or do they then grow up too fast if I skip them to sixteen and eighteen by the next twelve chapters?

Mainly, I still need a story arc to replace the weak one surrounding the hero. I'm hoping if something comes to me, that everything will fall into place.

I did just get an idea for the end of the first book.

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