Revising The Wolfcat Chronicles

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Revising any writing is a challenge. You recall the story as it played out in your head while composing it and, somehow, it’s never quite the same experience when you read it months of even years later. And then there is the book that grew into a series of books that has been reworked and re-written several times over the course of the past nearly decade and a half.

The part of the series I’m working on is the first bit of the story I composed in the summer of 2000. The essence is still in tact, just bits of this and that were added in over the intervening years to enhance the story and make it connect with the larger story. You see, the first draft of this was about the characters wolfcats Ela’na, Rotor and a human named Tomas. 

As the story grew there were many characters added, their roles essential to the unfolding epic of a forbidden romance, being separated by distance and circumstance while events with long lasting significance to everyone else is going on in the background. Elana and Rotor are thrust to the forefront as all the characters are drawn into the story’s climactic events.

Although Tomas is introduced early on in Book 3 of the series (which was actually the first part of the story that was written) his significance in to the overall story happens much later on. The challenge is to keep the character in the back of the reader’s mind until his active participation is required. In an effort to assist that process I moved a bit (roughly four pages) of Book 4 into Book 3. Also there are some references to him here and there.

The early part of Book 3 is mainly about Rotor and a little about Ela’na and toward the end of the book the emphasis shifts to being mainly about Ela’na. In the process we meet some other characters of later importance like Copter, Nanami, Jesse, Hildi, Tazmal, Master E and Magus – who we met  in the first two books of the series. We also learn a bit of history about the world of Anter’x and the hierarchy of immortals.

Tweaking the story is about all I’m doing at this point. Some structural decisions such a relocating bits of the story to fascinate the flow and pacing are also being considered. The plot is already well defined from previous revisions. So what I’m doing is looking for redundancies and information that may not be relevant to the reader – things that as a writer were helpful for composing broad, complicated series of novels but unnecessary for the actual telling.

When I began writing I had a rough idea of where things were going and an basic outline. I also had a map of the important places in the world and a list of characters and their relationships. I cranked out the basic story that now spans five books in the middle of the series in about 13 weeks. The way that story ends demanded the loose ends be addressed. And so I wrote the next two books. The two book prequel came next with the final book following that. Perhaps that’s not the best way to write a series, but as it was an ambitious effort for which I had next to no experience, it worked out pretty well.

I’ve been through portions of these books dozens of times. Concurrently I wrote other stories, including a conclusion to One Over X (that has never been published), The Attributes (available for Kindle), Fried Windows (Publishing back in May), Becoming Thuperman )My next book due out in early 2015) and a dozen of so other stories some of which I have turned into manuscripts.

I expect to complete the revision on Book 3 sometime in the next week and move on to Book 4. I and hoping to complete revisions up to Book 8 by the end of the year but we’ll see how that goes along with deadlines for edits of Becoming Thuperman.

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