Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday Thoughts

I've occasionally contemplated rewriting old projects.  They have fascination and appeal for me still.  I'm never sure if it's because I lucked upon - and let's face it, especially with the oldest, it probably was luck; I had no idea what I was doing as a writer - something particularly powerful or compelling, or ... just pure nostalgia.  The new is never quite as good as the old.  I've gained a lot of experience and technique, but I've lost some craziness.  I "know better" and so I've stopped making rash decisions that may turn out to be gems in the end.

Here's a few old projects I've considered rewriting:

The Cats of Mordue:  my first real novel, it was five "books," the first two of which were novella length, and the rest of which were novel length.  It was a run of cliches:  a rebellious tomboy princess, a wise old mentor, and a shadowy dark one.  But then there were the telepathic cats - I always had a soft spot for them - and the plot revolved around the mentor figure (the Mordue of the title) being kidnapped.  Later on, we find out that she and the evil overlord are siblings.  I've actually rethought the magic system and the main character's history a bit (making her an actual gladiator first), and I'm intrigued by the possibilities.

Unnamed:  This was "Nelia.doc" and it was also cliche-ridden - another tomboy, sword-wielding heroine, this one refusing to acknowledge her powers, a wise old mentor and a shadowy dark one, with no explanation of his motives or why people were opposing him.  Where it diverges is an order of warriors bonded to intelligent swords - though I'll confess that I was unduly influenced by Craig Shaw Gardner, and Paquel was something of a coward.  I added a secondary nemesis with goals that, in theory, opposed the dark one.  I did attempt (horribly) to give the dark one some motive by having him use magic surveillance, but I'd definitely ditch that.  And more family dysfunction:  one of Nelia's allies was the son of the dark one.  I really think this is a rich area for exploration, but it does lead me to considering that the resulting story should be more his than hers.  The difficult decisions end up being his.

The Sintellyn Medallion:  Here's the first time I deliberately tried to invert some cliches.  My main character is the "chosen one" ... but it's years after the pivotal events, he's become a young king due to them, and has ended up the figurehead of a political mastermind.  There is a second plotline that weaves in and out of the main plot before they converge.  There also a lot of other elements I like:  unrequited love stories, someone who chooses their life's work over romance, and - of course - political conspiracy.  But the specifics of the plot and the ultimate solution need overhaul, and with two storylines intertwined and timing interdependent, that would take a lot of work.

This post is getting long, so I'll probably post a few more later.  But you can see where I'm dealing with some sticky elements ... and why I've generally chosen to move on into the future.  Still, there's valuable and possibility to be mined from all of these.  And certainly, I've learned what not to do from the final product.

Or at least, *some* of what not to do ...

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