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Scrapped notes (How far has your WIP come?)

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by hots_towel, Apr 25, 2014.

  1. hots_towel

    hots_towel Minstrel

    I thought this would be a funny idea for a thread. especially for people like me, who have had their WIP in their heads for quite a while now. For me, mine goes back to when I was in Jr.high (so about 11 years now), though its a dramatically different story now from all the changes ive made over the years, its still the same seed i guess you could call it.

    looking back on how many things were different about it as opposed to where it's at now, it's really funny to me how bad some of these notes are that i thought were a good idea at the time.

    These are just the few that I could find:
    -the MC's name was Sailer (yes, like Sailor moon) but male.
    -the "bad guys" (never came up with a name for them) were all from an unknown continent that were fighting with the protagonist nation for no reason other than "WAR!!!!!"
    -the MC and his group were traveling north for no established reason. I just wanted them to go on your typical fantasy adventure
    -i specifically remember a scene where one of the side characters, who was a down-trot politician, recruits a mercenary army and raids the main kingdom's council chambers. it was a direct copy of what happened in Star wars to the jedi temple.
    -one of the less important antagonists was a witch woman. except all she did was hang out in an underground hideout while not wearing any clothes.
    -my plan for the final installment of the series was supposed to be a cover to cover battle. 90% of the content in the last part was supposed to be just 1 battle of ridiculous proportions

    well, now that that scab has been ripped off...
  2. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    My current projects were started recently, so I'll talk about the story I'm trying to publish.

    *One of the original protagonists was a suave, arrogant dark mage who hunted monsters born from the darkness in people's hearts, consuming these aberrations to gain more power. He fit so badly into the group dynamic that I wound up aging him up and turning him into the villain who killed Price's parents. He was replaced by the transsexual magical girl Melody, but the only traits she inherited from him are magical abilities and a one-sided crush on Wolf (who originally hated both their guts.)

    *Price (thought she) was the last survivor of a technology-oriented secret society that fought magic-users to prevent them from controlling the world. (Actually, her gadgets were powered by her inner magic, and she'd imagined the whole "secret society" thing and convinced herself it was real.) Also, she was originally a gay guy with a huge crush on the dark mage (who hated her guts.)

    *Wolf was originally female, and was MUCH more of an asshole. The latter trait stuck around for quite a while even in the rewrites--I seriously attempted a scene where male!Wolf tells Melody that he could never love her because she's "not a real woman." (The funny part is that his assholishness was actually a big part of his self-oriented belief system, such that I had a hard time rewriting him to make a likable person who was still that selfish.) In addition, female!Wolf had a much more obvious crush on Price (who hated her guts.) Noticing a pattern?

    *None of these characters had any positive or healthy relationships, inside or outside the group. I was highly indecisive as to which one would ultimately start trying to kill the others, because any of them would have been capable of becoming a villain. (This went out the window when I realized that Melody would instantly befriend Price.)

    * Basically, the whole thing was a clusteryay of arrogant, socially inept people who thought they were way more competent than they really were, all getting in each other's way and driving each other homicidal (eventually literally.) Almost everything lighthearted and optimistic came from revision.
  3. Addison

    Addison Auror

    My very first WIP was written in fourth grade. I was nine, and if I had a time machine to retrieve it you could tell it was written by a nine year old.

    For example:
    - My MC and his family moved into an old, long-deserted colonial mansion that had all sorts of modern designs and tech, like that walk-in shower, elevator, tower with a lighthouse, double oven. I even had a subterranean cave full of jet skis under a large garage full of ATV's.
    - My MC was the ressurection of a great knight, but that was a deus ex machina for when the manor was attacked.
    - The SC's, the ones that tell MC about the manor and the past, were ninjas. Color-coded ninjas. (I was nine and my brother got me hooked on Power Rangers.)
    - The plot was flimsy as plastic and as pitchy as a stormy sea.
    - Wanting magic, western magic, in my story I had a ghost that teaches the MC magic. The magic was.....I don't think flimsy and unorganized are enough words.

    But as I read more and wrote more I got better and that story haunted me. But I did take it apart and turn it into about three different stories. A samurai/ninja story, a magic hotel story and the MC that's almost done.

    So a story like that, don't throw away. It's a story that haunts us to make us stronger. It can be taken and re-made into a greater story, either as a whole or in different stories.
    Feo Takahari likes this.
  4. Asterisk

    Asterisk Troubadour

    The seed for my story was born when I was nine or ten, but since then it has grown so much that it's hardly the same story.

    -As a little dreamer, I imagined the story with about ten books in the series. I created titles, wrote the back covers, and a year realized how insane that was.
    -The main characters were perfect. In every way.
    -Oh, and they were incredibly poor, but managed to own the most beautiful dresses a nine-year-old could ever imagine and (sort of) draw.
    -The protagonist was a girl that managed to defeat every monster, no matter how powerful or scary.
    -The magical land where my Elves lived was identical to Galadriel's home in Lord of the Rings. (I was completely in love and addicted to Lord of the Rings back then.)
    -The characters traveled around their world for no reason and in, like, a day. Or a few hours.

    So basically, everything was unrealistic. :D But I guess that's the magic of being young... in your mind, anything can happen.
  5. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

    Alright... I'll talk about the novel I'm trying to get published, Written in Red:

    It started after I wrote a research paper on post-plague Eoropean art. Fun....

    Anyways, I began with a page full of one large spider graph where I set up the two churches (based on Catholics and the Reformation, and the nobility of varying degrees, the crafters guilds, the Mc's and a bunch of arrows connecting everyone to each other with smiley faces, frownies or dollar signs. Basically, I reminded myself who liked each other, who hated each other, and who was financially linked or reliant on each other, and who was paying off whom.

    The back half of that wonderful "Outline" was a list of potential character names.

    Okay, so I scrapped the "Black Mask" a thief who tormented the countryside, stealing and tried to kidnap my MC. I also had planned that her husband might later be revealed as the thief's double, but thankfully came to my senses before the convoluted plot line got written.

    I also changed my setting. Where my first draft (and all the names of people and places) had an Anglo-Saxon feel with a later period, I went a different direction and used an alternate 1576 Venice as my setting. Not only did it make more sense from a societal structure point, but it also added a little flair to the story with a lesser-used cultural tone. Really, Venice was the perfect place for the sort of intrigue I wanted to emulate.

    Oh man... I also couldn't decide how to write some of the characters. In first draft, Yvete was in her fifties, was a cruel and cold-hearted madam of a brothel, and didn't have a real reason to hate the antagonist other than he'd betrayed her and terminated their professional relationship. IN its current state, Yvette is 44, the antagonist killed her son and she has plenty of reason to hate him, and she's got depth. She's not just a courtesan, but an ex-spy and thief for the antagonist and she's willing to shed blood if it comes to it, but she's not happy about it. Her coldness I sort of balanced with a softness. She loves one of her friends and feels guilt when she lies to her allies. She is an old woman feeling her age--not ready to die but feeling good for nothing, like a retired racehorse. I think her character has grown the most in revision. She's way deeper.

    Other things I've changed were killing a secondary character or two, that will push the MCs a little past their breaking point. I also made Thorne (Yvette's friend and partner) became a much more interesting character, too. He wasn't much of anything in the first draft, but in the revision, I made him a crucial story element and his development means a lot to Yvette's story line. IN fact, a beta reader even commented about how as the book went on, she enjoyed the character because iN the beginning, a reader might just assume he's a piece of furniture in the room, but as the story progresses, his character becomes important.

    Okay, so the last thing I want to mention is the general writing of the book. I recently posted a thread where I critique the opening scene of the novel in first draft, and then show the rewrite. This story has come so far in revision, it's hardly recognizable. But it' more than just technical skill. One of the things I really got aware of was foreshadowing and emotional links to other parts of the book. Clues hidden within the story, if you will. So in the first draft it was SUBTLE. Way too subtle for most of my beta readers to really "get". And that wasn't their problem, it was mine. While a few caught the very subtle things I was doing, it just wasn't enough of a "POW" to really make the connection in a satisfying way. In revision, I carefully dissected all my moments of foreshadowing, clues, etc. and I analyzed them, considered a plethora of other possibilities, and kept the strongest and strengthened the weaker ones. While most of the foreshadowing I do in the book is still subtle, it's now more connected and easier to grasp, though not totally a smack in the face with a warning siren blaring, "Warning! Warning! Clue and Foreshadowing imminent!" I think overall, it was a super good change and I'm really grateful to the people who helped me learn how to make those subtle items shine a whole lot more.
  6. Devora

    Devora Sage

    My story was a Five-man band tale to fight the big bad. very generic. After awhile it felt like i was copying the plot to the first Breath of Fire game.

    A fighter character goes of to stop a big bad that is after him and meets a bird humanoid, 2 fish humanoids (that one was a rip of the Zoras from Legend of Zelda), and a dark elf who mixed science and magic.

    eventually i came up with seperate story about a bard, i got to a point in the beginning to where decided to blend the ideas.

    Eventually i turned the fighter into a bard, the bird humanoid into a half-elf, and turned the fish humanoids into dark elves and kept their back story but one wouldn't be in the party.

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