From Draft to Draft

After reading A Witch’s Concern one reader asked what changed between the first draft and publication. This reader remembered that I had said I was changing a lot of things and the book was giving me trouble. As much as I wanted to give her an answer right then, there is no short answer for that question.

Between drafts a lot of things change. How much changes depends on the author and the individual book. Until A Witch’s Concern, I would’ve said that I don’t do big rewrites. That book proved me wrong.

From inception to publishing I change a lot of things. Generally, they are small changes. I fix gobs of awkward sentences, horrible dialogue, and typos. Now, that’s not to say I don’t do larger changes. I reordered most of the second half of A Witch’s Path during editing because that was how the timeline needed to work.

(Warning! Spoilers below!!! Seriously, Big, Epic, Spoilers if you haven’t read the A Witch’s Concern!)

However, in A Witch’s Concern I ended up rewriting most of the book. You know the sequence of events for AWC, right? Okay, if you’re fuzzy, keep reading. If not, skip down.

A Witch’s Concern Published Version: 
– Michelle gets a flat tire and is abducted off the side of the road by the Wapiti.
– Michelle meets with her grandmother, Gretchen, before escaping.
– Elron gets the news that’s she’s gone missing and his calling helps him find her.
– The witches are chasing Michelle through the woods when Elron saves her and takes her home.
– There’s a lot of wind-down. Michelle has a breakfast with her dad’s mother, Marti, then goes to get her car back, and on the way home is attacked by more Wapiti. Ty kills Thomas (a wapiti wizard).
– After dealing with that, Michelle has lunch with Amber and Tiffany and is attacked by a possessed teacup.
– Elron’s office has spells on it.
– Tammy, of the Wapiti, comes to visit Michelle. Leaves a book. Hints that all is not well in the Wapiti.
– Michelle goes to her parent’s wedding.
– Michelle and Elron go deal with a greenhouse overrun with magic infused plants.
– Ethel, the premier, visits Michelle. Tells her she has to join a clan or cut off communication with all witches.
– Elron gets a note from the Wapiti that indicated that some of them are on Michelle’s side.
– Tiffany calls to tell Michelle that they can’t be friends anymore. It’s too dangerous.
– Michelle gets comforted by Marti and they get clues to Gretchen’s motivation from the book Tammy left.
– Michelle calls her mom and Gretchen answers, informing her that she’s taken Michelle’s parents.
– Thomas’s parents cast a spell on the lodge and Michelle has to undo that spell before she can rescue her parents.
– At Gretchen’s house, Elron helps Michelle’s parents escape while she deals with the witches.
– Meanwhile, Michelle ends up joining both her father and her grandmother’s clans.
– Thomas’s parents try to kill Michelle.
– Gretchen sacrifices herself to save Michelle.
– Skipping forward, Ethel reveals that she wants Michelle to be the next Premier and help end the separation between clan law and common law. Nancy takes over the Wapiti.

 

The Changes: 
Now that we have a baseline, I can talk about the changes. In the original version, almost none of that happened and if it did, it didn’t connect that way.

I started a round of editing/rewriting by deleting 25% of the book. A large chunk of that was from the beginning, so I had to rewrite that section and then weave the rewrite into the rest of the book.

The first big change is that in the original draft there was nothing from Elron’s point of view. After that most of the changes are of equal size. How Michelle gets home after being kidnapped changes, when she meets Marti changes, and there are several small cases that were cut.

A Witch’s Concern First Draft: 
– Michelle gets a flat tire and is abducted off the side of the road by the Wapiti.
– Michelle meets with her grandmother, Gretchen, before escaping.
– In the woods a centaur finds her and takes her to their camp. Lots of stuff happens, and she’s given a ride home by a wyrm.
– Elron and Ty meet her in the woods and take her the rest of the way home.
– There’s a lot of wind-down. Michelle goes to get her car back, and deals with a case involving cows.
– After dealing with that, Michelle has lunch with Amber and Tiffany and is attacked by a possessed (kinda) teacup.
– An unimportant Wapiti witch comes to visit Michelle. Tries to talk her into joining the clan.
– Michelle goes to her parent’s wedding and meets Marti for the first time.
– Michelle and Elron go deal with a greenhouse overrun with magic-infused plants.
– Ethel, the premier, visits Michelle. Tells her she has to join a clan or cut off communication with all witches.
– Michelle deals with another case, this one involving a bear.
– Michelle calls her mom and Gretchen answers, informing her that she’s taken Michelle’s parents.
– At Gretchen’s house, Elron helps Michelle’s parents escape while she deals with the witches.
– Meanwhile, Michelle ends up joining both her father and her grandmother’s clans. Ty breaks up the fight and carries Michelle to safety.
– Skipping forward, Ethel reveals that she wants Michelle to be the next Premier and help end the separation between clan law and common law. Gretchen is still alive but is being replaced by Nancy.

The bottom line is that it was a less cohesive book. The changes were badly needed. While I very much enjoyed writing the first draft, it wasn’t a complete picture. Had I wanted to keep the events that were in the first draft, I would’ve had to do other restructuring to make everything work together and serve a purpose. All in all, I think I went in the right direction with the rewrites and I am very happy with the published version of A Witch’s Concern.

2 thoughts on “From Draft to Draft

  1. Mia

    Hi! I just started at “witch for hire” -again. I must admit, I read all your books several times already and I am writing this comment to explain why. First, there was only wfh and awp an I just loved those! Reading them was and still is like some kind of therapy, because Michelle always seems to know what to do and how to react, even if she doesnt. 😉 reading those books makes me feel calm and peaceful. Book 3 was somehow different, because there was so much pain in it, but alltogether I still liked it a lot. But -I am terribly sorry!- book 4 is even more different and at first I could not point my finger at the differences. Now I read this post though, I think I can: when I read book 1 first time, I just thought: where does the author get her ideas? Throwing them around like this? As if she has tons of them to spare?!? Wow!!! But now it is as if you are taking it much slower. “Case with cows”: deleted. Case with bear: deleted. … Michelle deals mostly with her own stuff now, less with police cases. I miss those, though. And I miss the odd tough dialogue with elron! Those made me laugh 🙂
    So this is why I love book 1+2 and ” just” like book 3+4.
    In hope of a book 5 with lots of the above and less family trouble,
    yours Mia
    PS sorry about all those strange phrasings, english is not my native tongue and auto correction in another language does the rest 😉

    Reply
    1. N. E. Conneely Post author

      Hi, Mia! Some of the changes happened when I decided to change it from a trilogy to a series without a definite end. AWC had to happen, and focus mainly on family, because it’s part of Michelle’s story and it allows me to migrate between her personal and professional life in the future. The 5th book will focus more on a police case, and hopefully it will be more in the spirit of the first two.

      Reply

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