Revising a Novel

I’ve been busy plotting and planning, and rewriting “Valeraine” for the last few weeks. The first draft was wild, scattered, and didn’t have the kind of portrayal of Valeraine and Roland that I wanted.

In the first draft, the story started with war which still is part of the 2nd draft. But in the second draft, I wanted to pull back. Instead of Valeraine being a commander and a powerful mage, I made her more focussed on being a mage, and made her a novice to the  military sort of path. I rewrote about 10 chapters during this process, and with help from the Traverse City Nanowrimo group, I added the idea that she was actually adopted, and not Sapphiron by blood. I added a whole conspiracy / story behind covering up the adoption.

The early parts of the story, which were revised in the 2nd draft, go all over the place. I decided a few weeks ago, that the story was getting too scattered and unfocused, and so I decided to place the story in the eyes of Valeraine and Roland. I also thought about what the motivations of all of the characters.

The whole adoption scheme was for the purpose of continuing the line of Sapphiron Kings.  King Deocius would never let Valeraine be put into danger.

Instead, I decided to start the 3rd draft with the King forcing Roland and Valeraine to be married, and to head north to the safety of Roland’s keep. I just started writing that draft.

This creates conflict, which wasn’t really there early on in the 2nd draft, but we also see more depth to Roland and Valeraine and the King because of it.

I would like to record here how the process of restructuring, reenvisioning and revising “Valeraine” goes. I have gradually changed my thoughts on who these people are, and what the story should be about.

In order for conflict to occur, Valeraine had to be stripped of the one thing she wanted most: the chance to research and practice magic.

Roland is put in the awkward position of getting what he wanted: marrying Valeraine, but objecting to the forceful method the King pursued, and finding himself hated by Valeraine. He now had to convince her that it wasn’t his plan. This is a classic case of miscommunication. They both would have been happier if the whole thing had come about voluntarily, but they were both on paths taking them further from each other, so in the end, there’s the question of whether the King’s harsh actions in confining Valeraine’s powers and forcing them to marry were actually justified in the end.

Valeraine has to struggle, because she cares for her students, who are now lost without any instructor in fire magic. She has to scheme to establish a school on the sly in Baird duchy, and this creates the possibility of political intrigue.

The central question I have now, is how to prevent all of this tension from unwinding as Sapphiron is conquered. What new twists can keep the conflict and tension high in Casposea and onward until the climax.

I’m starting to think getting a little inspiration from Shakespeare might be interesting.