As of yesterday morning, The Dragon’s Eye has been pulled out of circulation (there are, of course, still copies available for the moment through amazon, but only a limited number of copies). I went to my account and changed its status to “incomplete” in preparation for the new version.
It was an oddly bittersweet moment. I mean… the version that is out there is nowhere near as polished. It’s not as well thought-through. Certain characters are not as well developed. What I’ve done in the past year and a half with re-writing and editing has really changed the feel of the book. It’s still the same story, but there’s a lot more depth there now. There’s a direction to the book, which makes sense, since the first version was written before I knew the book would turn into a quadrilogy. I did no outlining for the first book, I had no idea where it was going, I just wrote 10 pages every day and let the story lead me wherever it wanted to go. It was a great ride… and it taught me a lot about writing. It taught me the value of outlining… a great author (I can’t remember who it was, it might have been Terry Brooks) once said that you’ll either do the work at the beginning of the writing process or at the end… but you’ll do the work either way. I love the surprise of letting the story twist and turn on its own, I love the not-knowing exactly where I’m going to end up… but I don’t love the re-writing that inevitably follows that sort of writing.
I’ve since learned that your story can still surprise you, even with an extensive outline to follow. In the midst of the writing process, a character may show up where you didn’t expect him to be, and you decide on the fly that it’s better this way than the way you had it in your outline, and that’s just fine.
If I’m honest with myself, now that I’ve done all this re-writing, I’m a little embarrassed of the first edition. And yet, it’s my first edition. The first truly book-length novel I ever wrote. The first book of mine I ever saw in published format. A lot of hard work went into it getting it written, having a friend design the cover and edit it. I will keep a copy of it on my shelf. But it’s time to say “good-bye” to The Dragon’s Eye, because I’ve moved on as a writer. I’m no longer a 19-year old college freshman, and I no longer write like one. This book is the first of a quadrilogy, a series of four books in which my writing style improved and grew and in which I found that all-important writer’s “voice.” I had to do the re-write to get it up to the standard of the rest of the series. Perhaps if it were a stand-alone I could have let it be. But it isn’t, so I can’t.
I know it’s silly. You’re sitting there reading this and scratching your head thinking, “Um… am I missing something? Didn’t you just edit your first book? It’s not like it’s gone.”
But it is gone, sort of. Although the characters and the story are the same, so much of it is different inside now that it feels brand new to me. The book isn’t The Dragon’s Eye anymore, it has truly become a totally different book: King’s Warrior.
So keep an eye out, because my goal is to get King’s Warrior published this fall and into circulation in time for the holidays! (And maybe a mid-West book tour!) I’ll keep you posted on the details of all that, never fear.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings.