This is a new weekly feature I’ve started for this blog, which I intend to use for sharing writing tips I’ve picked up, updates on my writing progress, observations on what I’ve been watching or reading, or maybe even some short pieces of writing.
I’m about two thirds of the way through my novel’s second draft now, hoping to finish it by the end of the year, and I was a little annoyed by a revelation that caused me to change major character details. Specifically, there were two characters in my novel who used wind and earth magic. I initially put this in along with a fire mage and water mage for a four elements thing, five if you count the character who represents spirit. But I noticed that the wind magic user reveals her powers early on then doesn’t use them until the climax. The earth magic user is also a skilled melee fighter, which factors much more into the plot than her magic abilities. So I decided that as cool as the magic was, it had to go. The wind magic user now has her maturity, leadership, and manipulation as her key skills while the earth magic user can stick to being an awesome fighter. The fire and water mages can stay as their magic serves the plot much better. It also makes more sense to only have two magic users in the main cast as I’ve established that natural magic abilities are rare in my fantasy world. I can still have the two characters represent the elements of air and earth while not necessarily have them use elemental abilities.
While it is a good thing I picked up on these flaws before I published the book or sent it to agents, it’s still annoying that I’ll have to go back and change two thirds of this current draft. It’s inevitable that multiple drafts are required when writing a book, but it does make me worry how much stuff I’m going to change and how many drafts I’ll need. What if I keep on editing and never get around to publishing the book?
Even worse, what if I notice something after the book has been published but it’s too late to go back and change it? I’ve heard that a lot of writers feel this way. Sometimes they go back and re-write their old work, other times they just leave them and feel embarrassed whenever they’re brought up. Perhaps it’s just another part of being a writer that we all have to come to terms with. Or perhaps I’m being paranoid and the third or fourth drafts will be just fine. Either way, it does make me glad that I’m taking my time with writing this book rather than rushing it out so I have time to improve my skills and notice flaws like these before I put out my first book.
photo credit: Dunechaser <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/12426416@N00/469027719″>Elemental Mages</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>