Fixing an Issue with “Full Circle”

Posted: April 7, 2017 in Novel, Reflections, Writing
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Reborn City and Video Rage, side by side.

I’m writing this post on my phone, something I’ve never done before. I’m only doing it because I’m away from my laptop, and I wanted to get this post done before I lose any enthusiasm for the subject. If you notice a change in blog post quality, you know why.

So as many of you know, I’m currently working on Full Circle, the final book in my science fiction trilogy, the Reborn City series. And for a while now, I’ve been trying to figure out how to deal with an issue in the story.

You see, when I first started writing this series back in high school, I intended for male lead Rip to be the hero, and Zahara Bakur, the female lead, to be the secondary protagonist. You can actually see this in the climax of Reborn City, where the final battle is centered around Rip.

Over time though, the roles reversed: Zahara became the story’s heroine, and Rip the secondary protagonist (this is a prime example of characters taking over the story, by the way). And this left me with a huge problem, because while the roles of the characters changed, I kept in some stuff that I’d come up with during the period where Rip was supposed to be hero.

Specifically, I had this whole reveal about Rip’s past prior to the events of the story that would reveal something hero-worthy in his heritage. And throughout the first two books, I was dropping hints here and there about that reveal so that dedicated readers (I’m sure some of you exist out there somewhere) could go back and say, “Oh, that’s pretty clever.”

It was only after I had actually begun the first draft, with the reveal written in the outline, that I started thinking to myself, “Is this reveal really right for Rip? It’s a little too grand for his role in the series.”

As usually happens with my stories when I know something’s off, my work slowed down. I still managed to get to the scene where the reveal takes place, but it took longer than it might have under different. circumstances. And the whole time, I was wondering what to do witht this plot reveal.

And then last night, after finishing my latest writing session and shutting down for the evening, I got up to get ready for bed, and a solution came to me. Just popped into my head, a way to use those same breadcrumbs I’d included in the first two books, have a reveal about Rip’s past, but not have it seem weird or out of place with the story. And it was obvious! So obvious, in fact, I think I hit my forehead for not seeing it earlier.

And the best part is, it only requires a few changes to the material I’ve already written. I won’t have to change too much to make this work. I can probably even get it done in a few quick minutes tonight if I have a chance.

You know, I like to think of myself as a very experienced writer, but the truth is, even if I do have experience, there are still plenty of things I need to improve upon. One is spotting these sort of issues before they become problematic. The other is seeing the obvious solutions when they do.

  1. The more experienced a writer gets, the more the writer realizes they have a lot more to learn about the craft of telling a story. 🙂

    I’m glad your “ah-ha” moment finally came to you! And yes, I did think Zahara was the main protagonist as I was reading the two books. I never would have guessed Rip originally had that slot. Very interesting.

    • That’s reassuring! Always good to know you’re not the only one who struggles with these things.

      Yeah, it’s the God-honest truth. Rip was going to be the hero. Remember, I was in high school when I was formulating this story. And you know high school boys. We love explosions, we love girls (or guys on occasion), and we love our badass action heroes. Hence a story where Rip was going to be the new John McClane or Ender Wiggin or whatever. You think that’s crazy, I originally had Zahara as an assertive tomboy.

      I had a few of those “aha” moments during the writing and editing of Reborn City, truth be told. For one thing, I initially had this whole complicated reason Zahara had to join the Hydras that really made no sense when you thought about it. I also had some weird reasoning for why the Hydras went back into Parthenon Headquarters to fight 011, and…oh yeah, how the Hydras got to Parthenon HQ in the first place initially went a different route. I’m glad I ditched that idea.

  2. Hmmm, that’s interesting. I always considered Zahara to be the protagonist or main heroine, but I also haven’t been through as many drafts as you have I guess. I am glad you figured out a way to integrate Rip’s backstory. Happy writing!

    • Thanks, Kat. Actually, you’re a big reason why I’m so keen on including the backstory. You really wanted 011’s backstory in Video Rage, and while I didn’t feel it was necessary at publishing, I value your opinion. And besides, I thought it’d be important for Rip’s character if he had a backstory.

  3. RedheadedBooklover says:

    Hi there! I just came across this post of yours and your blog in general and I couldn’t help but comment and tell you how much I adore your blog and love this post! Keep up the great work, I am going to follow you so I can keep up with all your new posts!

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