The difference between the first draft and the published version

I thought this would be something interesting to look at because we all go through quite the journey when writing a book and one of the biggest things that we shape is our manuscripts.

Jane Kurtz said it best when she compared manuscripts to illustrations. When an artist has to do revisions to an image, the new image they create often looks completely different from the original image. She prompted us to make sure that our manuscripts did the same thing with each revision. 
I thought it would be fun to let you see how many revisions Flame of Surrender went through before it became the masterpiece it is. 
First Draft: Jan. 2006 – Jun. 2009
– Title was “The Watcher and The Flame: Tears of Istalindir”
– Island was called Istalindir, Kaliel’s home was Soronume. Krishani’s home was Telumendil. Orlondir was Alqualond. 
– First 4 chapters were messy. Kaliel saw her elder for a lesson, had a flashback about meeting Krishani at the waterfall. Then there was a chapter about Krishani with his elder for a lesson and he had a flashback too, and then Chapter 3 they were in the flashback, then Chapter 4, they were back in present time. 
– There was a villain track that began in chapter 4 and followed The Other and 7 members of the Dae’Quessir.
– There was more violence in the villainous parts and more magic, but it was very hard to follow since they traveled around the universe a lot. 
– There was a lot of cheesy dialogue, the world building wasn’t fully developed, the characters monologued. 
Second Draft: Jan. 2010 – Mar. 2010
– Title was “The Watcher and The Flame: Surrender” 
– Rewrote the prologue.
– First 3 chapters went bye bye and were rewritten.
– Villain track was changed so everyone had names. Unfortunately those names were Methedras, Caradhas, Delotha, Turon, etc. etc. I think the best was Coiasira. Go ahead, try to pronounce that.
– Chapters 4 – 11 were rewritten for dialogue, information, and general sentence structure. 
– Chapters 11 – 21 were rewritten for dialogue, information and general sentence structure.
– I didn’t do a lot to end because I loved it the way it was.
I queried the second draft and shared it with a few people who helped me work up a video for it. 
Third Draft: Jan. 2011 – July 2011
– Title became “The Ferryman and The Flame: Flame of Surrender”
– Rewrote the prologue
– Reworked all of the scenes, shuffled around the beginning to give it that “hook” factor. 
– Added new scenes that weren’t previously there. 
– Removed the villain track entirely.
– Rewrote every single romantic scene between Kaliel and Krishani.
– Added another major scene with Krishani and Istar.
– Added some major scenes with Pux. 
– Reworked most of the writing so it was up to date with the times and not written like a 1990’s epic fantasy book.
– Played around more with the imagery and the danger of the characters being together. In other words, I made it more dangerous. 
– Reworked the end and added a new scene to the very end, which is poetic and explains more about what the Flames are. 
Fourth and Final Draft: Sept. 2011 – Oct. 2011
– Fixed all of the seasonal changes by adding a header under each chapter as to what season it is.
– Removed a lot of the crying in the scenes. There was too much of Kaliel blubbering. 
– Cleared up speech tags, adverbs, POV slips and all other grammatical issues. 
– Removed some of the flowery language, or changed it so it sounded better. 
– Added hyphens, italics, and other fun punctuation where necessary.
– Renamed prologue as chapter 0
After all of that we published it, so really, if you’ve followed my blog for awhile, and you got a First or Second draft of the book, it’s not the same book. The plot is the same, but the characters are more reach out and grab you, the story line is a lot tighter and makes more sense, the world building is fleshed out, the romance is hotter, there’s more violence, danger, tension and conflict, and it’s easier to read because there’s no longer a bunch of bad spelling and grammar errors. 
Some people still say the beginning of this book is slow, but it’s a methodical choice. I did that on purpose to showcase life in Avristar. I don’t think readers will understand where Kaliel and Krishani are heading until they know where they’ve been and how it used to be. In this case, it’s not the book or the writing, it’s the story itself that’s slow because life for the characters was slow. Just think Tolkien and the Shire and you’ll get what I mean, all that time he spent on Bilbo Baggins and his birthday party and everything before he took on the ring? This isn’t exactly the same, but you get the idea. 
What about you? Have you ever read a book in an earlier stage, ARC or MS and then read the pubbed version and find it’s completely different? If so, how did you like the new changes?

Comments ( 3 )

  • M.A.D. says:

    Wow. As an aspiring writer I really had no idea how much rewriting was involved. Talk about daunting! lol <br />Thanks for the informative post and kudos for your perseverance :)

  • Colleen says:

    This reminds me of a line one of the characters uses in an episode of The L Word – &quot;Writing is rewriting.&quot; <br /><br />I had no idea just how much, though! I do a lot of revision when I&#39;m working on a poem I&#39;d really like to keep, but it&#39;s nowhere near as involved as revision of a novel sounds! I&#39;m with MAD, it&#39;s a little intimidating! Kudos to those of you who get

  • Julia says:

    My first book I wrote mostly for my own amusement and so I revised it when I felt like it. I wasn&#39;t on any timeline so I ended up revising it quite a bit.<br /><br />Then, I had an editor look at it and she changed several of the character&#39;s names. Galing became Ravidan because she thought it sounded more like an evil wizard and Galing sounds more like your mother&#39;s sister&#39;s aunt

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