I got a rooster!
His name is Oli!
I love him!
Welcome to The Everhart Author, everyone, where the author in question has no idea what she’s doing!
Except for once, I actually kind of do.
I am speaking of my book, Embers Burning. Some of you know a lot about this book. Some of you know nothing. Many of you know that it has been both the joy of my life and bane of my existence for nearly three years.
Mostly it has been the latter.
Here’s a little story about this book.
Once upon a time, in the fall of 2017, little Ashley said ‘hey I wanna write a book’. This was a decision that had been in the making for most of her life, during which she had attempted at least five handwritten books (all completely plagiarized pieces of trash) and written one on a super old laptop which was about her tortoise Brandon and written in the first person from the perspective of said Brandon.
So we were off to a great start.
Anyways around 2016 or so little Ashley and her sister came up with this great world called Leifer, where there were color-coded kingdoms and magical powers and ALLLLLL THE FANTASY CREATURES. The main characters were four girls around little Ashley’s age who would be portaled into this world and have to save the day, as such people do. Their names were Jessie, (who was blue-themed) Emma, (who was green-themed) Amber, (red-themed) and . . . y’know what I’ve forgotten the purple one’s name. She was blonde, that’s all I remember.
I actually tried to write the thing, discovered exactly how stupid it was, and trashed it.
But the world design didn’t leave my head.
Fast forward about a year.
The ideas won’t leave little Ashley alone, okay, she is PLAGUED by the delusion that she can write a real, honest-to-goodness enjoyable meaningful book. So she reworks some things. Amber was her favorite anyway, so BOOM she is now the sole protagonist. Well . . . no, it’s kinda boring to have just one, she should have another. A boy. But this will NOT be a romance.
Okay maybe it will be a romance.
A lot of the original plot points were still there at that point as well. Things slowly evolved over several months until October of 2017, when little Ashley sat down and wrote on an OpenOffice document what she considered the best thing she’d ever typed; a prologue, in italics.
(-cough cough- not -cough)
From the prologue burst forth several short, rushed, choppy chapters that little Ashley pretended were good but knew on the inside that they were not. She knew something was very very wrong. But she had no idea what it was.
With the help of the kind, patient people at Kingdom Pen and several friends who kind of knew what they were doing, I rewrote that sorry mess into something that was, if not anywhere near good, at least readable without gagging. I think those whole five chapters took me nearly a year.
Honestly I can’t remember.
Then came the next five chapters, which I did for NaNoWriMo. At least I tried to. I was very bad at it, but hey, I ended up coming out with just over 50k in all ten chapters combined, at exactly 11:00 pm on the last day of November. It was a proud moment in my life.
But as I read over those five chapters, I realized how bad the ones preceding them were. I’d written those so long ago, had learned so much. At that point, I had been writing every day with my friends and had gotten so much better than those first two chapters.
So I rewrote the first two chapters, and did some edits. Satisfied with myself, I dove straight into the next five chapters.
I got to chapter fourteen and screeched to a halt.
I am still stuck there to this day.
You see, in the course of writing, I had learned so much more than those heady, colorful imaginative days of 2017. I knew about themes now, about character arcs, about showing and not telling, about the fact that a book simply canNOT hold the amount of story I was trying to cram into it, about how plagiarism is actually not okay.
(Now call it ‘inspiration’ and you might get away with it, but that’s beside the point)
The story needed to go in a slightly different direction. The characters themselves needed to go in a different direction.
I needed to completely overhaul part one.
It hurt to admit it, it really did. My motto has always been “First draft is only draft”. Editing, okay, it was difficult but I could do it if I made myself.
But as I read those first five chapters, then read the most recent ones and my Just For Fun writing (not to mention the entire OTHER BOOK I’d written in the meantime) I realized that my readers deserved better. The story deserved better. Amber deserved better.
I said it’d be done by Christmas. I’d be done with the rewrite by Christmas, I’d start my blog in January, get right back on track with chapter fourteen and keep my alpha-readers happy with a consistent stream of Embers Burning.
It . . . was not done by Christmas.
Still isn’t, nearly a year later.
Every year, I say ‘I’m gonna do it! This is the year I finish that stupid book!”
And I don’t.
But . . .
After an entire spring and summer of doing almost absolutely nothing book-wise, I got slammed in the face by multiple things. Some of them were physical and have nothing to do with the subject at hand. But as for the other ones. Things like that Andrew Peterson book I told you guys about. And my friend Ariella’s book, one she’s been working on for years and has been editing and rewriting so much that it literally makes me feel sick to think about it, but is absolutely incredible. The panic of almost being an adult and having a job and college and all sorts of things. A zikers playlist of Celtic and medieval instrumentals sent to me by my friends Lily and Rory (hi guys). Ideas, more ideas than my tiny brain can handle.
So I started writing again.
Only a few pages have been added to the rewrite, but I’ve finally finished chapter four. (and with a bang, might I add) Only one action and emotion filled eight-to-twelve page chunk left and I’m finally done rewriting part one of my book.
Even if I despise it, it’s still mine.
I’ve also been planning for the future chapters. This is gonna be one massive book, by the way, but I’m working on figuring out what actually needs to be in it and what can be sorted into the two sequels. Still figuring out the plot, too, which is embarrassing, but I am at least working on it. Figured out the magic system (which I’m pretty proud of).
Before you ask, NO, I am NOT making an outline. I’ll never stoop quite that low.
-glances at messy, attempted outlines for my other books-
Okay I might.
And part two isn’t safe, either. I won’t completely redo it (never making that mistake again) but chunks will definitely be redone, made the best they can be, fit into this new story I’m trying to weave. It’s about two kids and dragons and magic, yeah, but it’s also about faith. It’s about knowing that when everything is falling apart and everyone betrays you, there is somebody you can trust without any fear that he will let you down.
And if it takes me a few years to tell that story, well . . . I’ll try not to panic about it.
Hopefully not too many more years though or I will freak out.
See you guys next week.