Thursday, August 4, 2011

Beyond Beyond the Lost Horizon

So, you may have noticed that I haven't posted anything but book reviews over the last few weeks, and I've got another one that I'm going to post tomorrow or saturday on A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin that I'm still putting some finishing touches on.

There are several reasons for this.

First and foremost is that I'm moving next thursday and I've been packing things and cleaning up, and figuring new and inventive ways to steal tubs from work unnoticed to move my junk over in rather than using boxes. When it comes to cleaning my apartment I am rather lazy sometimes, and I don't exactly do the best job of it, so there is lots that needs cleaning before I move out.

The next reason is that I've been working a bit more than usual the last couple of weeks due to one of hte other carriers being out for a knee replacement, and it's been freakin HOT lately. The heat just saps your will to do anything productive away.

And then I've been having some second thoughts about the project that I'm currently working on that I needed to deal with. The Path is a sequel to Spires of Infinity and it can, in no way, be sold as a stand alone if my agent is unable to sell Spires. The other project I had in my bag of tricks is the beginning of a very long series and I don't really want to try and sell that until I've made a bit of a name for myself. There are other ideas, of course, but they're not as well developed and ready to go at the moment.

That led me to start thinking on another story I could be writing right now, something new that, if Spires of Infinity fails to sell, I can put up as my next work to try and sell, something that stands alone, and is not overly long. And, being overworked and dead tired from the heat, I couldn't really think of anything.

For about a year now I've been having some thoughts on Beyond the Lost Horizon, and why my agent couldn't sell it. Most often the reply he got from publishers were that it was too generic, and it really kinda is. It's predictable, and follows the most overused story archetype of all time. The world was really good, and the characters were excellent, but the plot just wasn't on the same level. They deserved a better story.

So I started to think of what changes I could make to the story to make it less generic and more original, taking these characters, and this world, and doing something with them that hasn't ever been done before. Unfortunately I couldn't think of any way to do that without doing almost a complete rewrite of the entire story, or without changing the characters far beyond recognition.

When my agent was in town to go over my edits for Spires of Infinity with me, this was one of the things we talked about. What could I do to make a generic story like this more original, and we both came to the conclusion that if it was going to be done, I'd have to do quite a bit of work rewriting and overhauling the plot, so I decided to set that aside for now and focus on The Path. However, I've been thinking very hard lately on a sort of new retelling of Beyond the Lost Horizon, a much better story to tell. And I think I've finally come up with a much better and far more original version of Beyond the Lost Horizon to write.

Anyway, I started outlining BTLH 2.0 and it's really starting to come together. There will be some things that are the same, and some things that are different. The characters will change a bit, most notably Brand, but they'll still be recognizable as the same people. The basic plot structure won't get messed with too much, but at the same time, it will be almost a completely different story. But how can the plot structure stay the same and the story be completely different you ask? Well, the characters will meet up at about the same time in the plot, most of the big events will remain, and they'll be at the same places at the same times, but their reasons for going there, and what's happening in the world will be much different. Their personal struggles, and the changes in their characters and motivations will make the story take a different course even within the same basic outline. The ending will be completely different, and at the same time, it will remain the same. I'm still using that same tired old story archetype to some small extent, however, I'm putting a new spin on it that NO ONE is going to see coming.

Anyway, that is why I've put The Path on hold, because I want to have a book deal in the works before I actually start writing a sequel, and I've found a more intriguing and challenging project to work on, fixing Beyond the Lost Horizon. I think that all of the work i've done on Exile and Spires of Infinity, and various side projects has helped to develope my writing skills as well. I don't just have a better story idea, I'm a better writer now than I was when I wrote the original Beyond the Lost Horizon. Reading back through the final draft of BTLH now in preparation, I think it's a miracle i ever attracted an agent at all in the first place. It's not exactly horribly written, but it's not exactly well written either. I've had a lot of practice between now and then, almost a million words worth of manuscripts of practice actually, and hopefully i can craft something great out of what I have here. But yeah, don't expect much until I've gotten myself settled into my new apartment. I'll probably post a prologue sometime in the next week or so.

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