Typically, I plot out my books meticulously because I hate rewrites, and my general goal is to avoid them as much as possible. But as I mentioned in my 2020 recap post, this year I listened to Brandon Sanderson’s class via youtube, and I decided to really drill down and focus on shaping my characters by the principals he presents. Unfortunately, that meant I had a couple off scenes and one long false start that I ended up having to redo. I asked the Champions in our Facebook Group if they’d be interested in seeing these deleted scenes and edited snippets, and the overwhelming answer was yes! So let’s take a walk down memory lane and see how I re-shaped parts of CoMaD through out the writing process!
1) The Original beginning:
As part of the refining process I ended up having to redo the first 20 pages of Crown of Shadows. The events all stayed the same–even most of the dialog is there, though there is an additional fae character I cut for the sake of keeping things shorter. But in the original ending, Leila’s hatred for the fae came on a little too strong to the point where she was bitter and was pretty much impossible to work with once I got her to the mansion. I ended up having to go back and significantly soften her disdain for fae, which made her about 50% less paranoid (which is saying something) and also made her a lot more likable. (As a character, she wasn’t meshing well with Skye, Indigo, or even the Paragon because of her dislike of fae. That made her extremely unlikable since the Paragon is a pretty popular character.)
If you want to see this original, more hate-filled version of Leila, click here for the PDF!
2) An incredibly lazy fight scene:
The fight scene you see in Magiford Mid Summer Derby where Leila and the night mares are attacked is actually the second version of the fight. I had an original fight scene that was much shorter….honestly because I was feeling lazy at the time and really needed to just FINISH the book. When I did my first read-through of the book I ended up doing a rehaul of the scene because it was just so…bad. It was too short, the use of magic didn’t make sense, and it felt amateurish. Worse yet, it was supposed to be the climax moment in the book! Yeah, a lot of work had to be done to save it.
Click here for the PDF if you’d like to witness this original fight.
3) Leila asks Rigel to be King:
In Queen’s Crown, Leila asks Rigel to be King of the Night Court. In the version that got published it’s a close moment between the pair, that shows a bit of Leila’s desperation. In the original version of the scene I hadn’t correctly underlined that Leila lacked a connection with her Court–and when I wrote this scene I already knew that and I knew I’d have to go back and fix it. During my first tread-through I did a better job of underlining the lack of connection–which I actually set up in Crown of Moonlight–but then I knew the somewhat slap-dash/not-at-all-serious way Leila asks Rigel to be King in the first version of this scene wasn’t going to work. Rigel becoming King was a way bigger deal than I originally made it, and it was an important turning point in their relationship.
So I entirely ripped it out and completely re-wrote it from scratch. Click here for the PDF if you’d like to read that part of the original scene!
There were a few more scenes that got some rehauls. In the wedding, I originally had a golem attack Rigel and Leila before I discussed the book with Britta–my beta reader–and she pointed out if I brought the spiders back in it would better draw in the initial attack, something I badly needed since I had to show the original offender hadn’t given up. I also did some rework with Leila in the mansion, and reworked a scene with her fae nobles, but the majority of those changes were minor or slight enough that you probably wouldn’t notice them very much.
But there you have it, Champions: a glimpse of how rough my books can be in the first drafts. Typically what I write in my first draft is very, very close to what you end up getting, it’s just finessed and I typically have to pull out a little more of the romance and underline more of the subplots.
I hope you enjoyed that behind-the-scenes peek! Thanks for reading, Champions, and have a wonderful day!