Saturday, 20 February 2016


Well, not me personally. Things in general, especially (thank goodness) the writing.

You might remember that a week ago, I posted briefly about something I wanted to write not going well, and that the fresh look I was taking at Rurik had stalled too?

I'm pleased to say that since then, Rurik's going better. I've cut around a thousand words already, and the story's feeling a lot tighter and faster-moving. Interesting that some of the characters are behaving a bit differently too... Maybe I'm just getting better at letting them tell their own story, rather than directing it for them?

I'm not sure whether the end result will be worth the rewrite, but there will definitely be improvements made! As I read through, marking up a paper copy, I found myself writing 'bleurgh!' or 'boring!' or 'ugh!' or 'rethink' next to certain sections.

Now, I thought the story was good. I have worked on it A LOT. It had a major edit back in the days when I had an agent interested in my work (though the result of that edit meant that our association ended, so obviously it couldn't have been THAT good...) The second major rewrite came after I did the Writer's Workshop Self-edit Course, after which I posted off to another agent.

Unfortunately, the use of rings as a device in the story let it down; 'too much like Lord of the Rings'. Which it isn't, but the association, once made, is hard to get away from. So I changed the whole 'ring' aspect and focused on powers and mages - instead of being Book 1 of a series called Rurik and the Rings of Issraya (which, as someone pointed out, is not a good title if you have a speech impediment), it became a standalone title called Adventure in Ambak, with the potential to be the first story about Rurik in a series called The Issrayan Chronicles. 

Even then, poor old Rurik's story wasn't getting the nods of approval I was hoping for from agents etc. Not exciting enough, still too nice... So I set it aside, believing that no writing's ever wasted, I've learnt a lot, it doesn't matter if it never gets published...

Who was I kidding? Myself, mainly. Seems I can't give up on it, so Rurik's out of the closet and being pulled into a different shape.

I think Kingstone's made the biggest difference to how I'm approaching this current edit. In Kingstone, I let the characters write themselves, I did a lot of playing around in a notebook before writing up the story, I kept it lean and mean and got into Katia's head...which meant it was her telling her own story, not me. (As an aside, I've had good feedback from beta readers and I'm now waiting to hear back from BInk to see if they think Kingstone is publishable...)

I'm hoping that, as I know Rurik's story inside out by now, I can edit it to be more Kingstone-like in its feel. I'm trying not to be too constrained by what's already there - it's so easy to think 'that bit's good, I'll keep it' when in fact, it doesn't fit the new style and you end up with a disjointed feel to the writing. I am being pretty ruthless and killing lots of my darlings...

I'll keep you posted. Who knows, it might just be Rurik's time...?

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