So, I have done the unexpected, the unconventional, perhaps the unwise but it’s done regardless.
I have (sort of) rewritten Tattered Heart.
The Long Version
(There’s a Short Version you can skip down to, if you don’t want to read all this)
Years ago, I mean YEARS ago, I bought a compilation of The Lyra Novels by Patricia Wrede. In the forward to Shadow Magic she talked about how it was one of her first books and she rewrote it for the new edition. Not rewrote it in that she changed the story or the characters, but that she wrote the story better. She even walked through a scene to show how she improved the and brought what she’d learned through the years to that early work.
The idea of her redraft excited me, this possibility that you could change a story. Because all of our first works are… well our first works. Without experience. Without any of the lessons learned through the hard road of writing book after book after book.
This was about the time I was editing the Tattered Heart audiobook. I listened to the story over and over and over again (so many times). I loved the performances from my actors but really started to notice that the storytelling wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be. I loved the characters and the story, but I wanted to make it better.
When I was writing Tattered Heart (the first time) the plot meandered out of my mind and onto the page without purpose and without tension. At the time I was simply glad I had figured out enough things happening to make an actual book. As I grew as a writer, I knew I wanted more–the story needed more. It needed tension. It needed to move faster. It needed to not just be beautiful but to also be exciting.
The Short Version
When I knew I was going to start a Master’s degree I had a gap of a few months before I started my program where I wanted to write but I didn’t have time to start a new story. I decided this was the perfect time to take what I’d learned from plotting The Helion Chronicles and apply it to Tattered Heart!
I made the language clearer, and the plot sharper. I made it more vibrant so that it feels more like a YA book (fast and fun and full of energy). Surprisingly, it only took a bit of rearranging, a few new scenes and moving a few characters in and out of scenes. The characters, I think, are the same but stronger and clearer with a bit more depth. It’s quite exciting!
- I gave the Feyin purpose. This was one of my favorite changes so they’re no longer idle nobility but have work to do in the kingdom. In some ways it feels like it brought the story to life.
- I added in a fight scene a friend asked for. It had previously been a bonus scene shared when people signed up for my newsletter. Now it’s worked into the plot even more cohesively and I LOVE it.
- Bion is fabulous! He is still the same and has the same character arc but that arc is deeper and a little dark and it is my other favorite change to the story. It is EXACTLY who he needed to be and it’s beautiful. My favorite part is that it wasn’t me “being mean” to my character like so many people advise. He chooses his devastation every step of the way.
- I also explain why Bion and Aribella can’t be together a bit better, based on a review from another friend. In fact, instead of justifying why they can’t be together, I acknowledge that they can be and they’re still not.
To be honest, that last part of owning up to the possibility of them being together probably came in part from all the 5 Essential Lessons I’ve written and finding conflict in just calling it like I see it.
The downside is that my audiobook is still the original version of the story. It’s not bad. And the actor’s voices make it interesting and I hope engaging (because I adore their performances). So it exists as a thing apart from the written book. But they both exist and they’re both versions of this story and these characters. And I hope they can both exist side by side.