I spoke of Originality in my last post and this is where I can build upon what I wrote there and lead it to where I am now.
I had all this great knowledge publishing the contemporary thriller and now it was time to translate it to my fantasy series, you know the one I really cared about and worked on for many many years. But how was I to do all that? Basically I started from scratch…
But not really. I still had a solid concept (at least what I thought was solid) and it just needed some polishing – to an extent, in all honesty. One night I had a crazy dream about God not being immortal and I awoke during this dream and vividly remembered it (which is interesting because I never remember my dreams). I thought it was an interesting concept that I could eventually write a story about it. I sat on this dream for a few months while I tried to figure out how to re-work my fantasy series to make it better and more original.
And then it dawned on me, why not utilize the dream and insert it into my series. Lo and behold, that worked seamlessly because I had a plot-thread about Gods, just not the God from this day and age.
My brain started rolling with ideas at this point. I wanted to challenge the notion of God as most people know him today. So with that, my entire fantasy series shifted, it had this overarching religious theme and then it firmly planted my existing book into our world. I decided I wanted to make the story fit into our world, so I used today’s sciences as a means of destroying the world and magic rose from the ashes, as well as everyone becoming ruled by the church (in this case, the Christian belief but not any particular version of it).
This led to other changes as well, the main one being the setting. I decided to change the setting from a traditional setting to being a more industrialized steampunk vibe. This allowed me to do more things than a regular sword and sorcery setting. It made certain things accessible that was not available in the other world I created. I was able to mimic things from the world I know and put a unique spin upon them.
Another thing I decided I wanted to do was add more POVs and change the romance from the traditional trope I had in my story. I created a brand new POV (a sister to my main male character). I changed my main female character to fall in love with this new female character. Our world today is changing, but there still exists a bias against those different than what the greater populace considers “normal” and that bias creates tension, especially in a religious thought process. Now that I had this religious backdrop, I wanted to explore the love of two people who the “normal” people consider going against the grain. But I didn’t want this to overshadow the whole story, because, let’s face it; a person’s love life does not control their entire story. I firmly believe that builds a character, but is not a character’s entire journey. I wanted to use this self-doubt because both these characters are members of the church, and the church gives them their magic. I thought it any interesting perspective to build their stories, but they are not driven by this fact. I also enjoyed writing a little love-triangle where the male character falls for the main female, but comes to accept his sister’s feelings.
Back to what I learned in publishing the thriller: writing women better. Now that I had what I wanted to make the story more original, I had to go back and edit this story. I realized I had written my main female from a male perspective, so I had to fix her completely. I always planned on having the main female and main male be the heroes of the story, but the original version had the male dominating the outcome of the plot. So I changed this and now the female (Brynn) is the overall hero A, with the male (Finn) and his sister (Hunter) heroes 1A.
By adding Hunter, it made re-organizing and writing the chapters difficult. I had to re-write whole chapters to make this addition, but it benefited me because I was able to change these characters and make them stronger. I made these women more life-like, with dreams and aspirations, but also logic and intelligence. It was quite rewarding because I had a friend beta read/copy-edit and she truly thought I had written very strong female characters and was rooting for them (she even told me that she was gratified when a female character did something badass, because most of the time, this is something a man would do). I felt justified after my learning experience that I created even more strong, independent women for later books in the series – which led me to writing more females with different back-stories and races.
Now I had everything in place and had to do some edits, and more edits after that. I will discuss that process in another installment.