I attended When Words Collide Writers’ Conference in Calgary back in August. An absolutely amazing weekend of seminars to attend, networking with other writers, and listening to the panel of keynote speakers!
Oh, the stuff I gleaned from Diana Gabaldon, Edward Willet, Brandon Mull, among others! So wonderful to be able to listen to them, learn from them, and pick their brains!
The most memorable game-changer was learning that I should be pitching my books as “New Adult” and not “Young Adult.” New Adult is a relatively new genre, and its protagonists are university age through their twenties, dealing with the transition into responsible adulthood. Exactly what my guys are! Young Adult spotlights hero/heroines in high school. Don’t worry, family. I will still keep the writing clean so that teens and grandmas and everyone in between can read them without turning fifty shades of red!
And so I turned my attentions back to the ever present task of editing, which, quite honestly, isn’t as bad as it sounds.
This was the time to put those ideas from the workshops to work and I was busy harvesting ideas for improving my writings.
Several weeks later, after waking from a very memorable—yet, even with Liam Neeson as my husband, it was not all that pleasant—dream, I had an epiphany.
Yes. An epiphany. I’m not talking about just a good idea. It was an epiphany. I get them once in a blue moon.
Recently, my beta reader Donna, and I thoroughly went through all my stories written so far—six in total all spawned from one original idea. You would think that I had come up with all possible angles, actions, and viewpoints capable of pertaining to whichever story we happen to be working in, and there were changes made during these readings. Between the two of us, it was a pretty solid and exciting storyline.
Through all six manuscripts.
Enter that heaven-sent idea which would drastically change and improve the action (but not the plot) in the fourth manuscript.
Remember those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ series for middle grade readers? I was now positive they were the product of an unpublished author just waiting around with finished stories, and getting these awesome ideas on how the story could have gone if circumstances were altered slightly, or if the characters made a different choice somewhere along the road. And the author, being true to his characters, diligently wrote down the ‘new’ version, but kept the old one because it rocked, too! Then when submitted, he couldn’t decide which version to send in so he sent them all! (Further investigation reveals I was completely wrong about the original idea of the CYOA series, but it still bears consideration.)
And so, Donna, my poor beta reader, having just finished the entire series, has the task of reading the last three books, because they really really go together. The major change—I’m so excited about it, I’m trembling with anticipation!—appears in and alters quite a bit of the first of those three books. Of course, that meant checking through the other two and update/change anything pertaining to the changed information, because there are always little references to such and such an event later on and these must be addressed, as such and such event may not have taken place at all, but something else did! I cried as I did this, because it means that a few of my favorite scenes no longer exist, can no longer exist with the improved order of events.
And so, whilst awaiting the knock knock of a literary agent on my door, I’ve busied myself with improving the writing but I’ve also been able create scenes on the computer by combining images of actors who best fit the parts, some of my own photos and artwork, and a few pictures I’ve found inspirational. In doing this, I’ve discovered new angles, or areas I want to fill up with words a little more. I’m posting a few of them from Book 1, The Crystal Box, on Pinterest, and updating my website, being careful not to create spoilers for the time being.