In which I continue to Learn New Things

It is a well-documented fact that I am currently doing a rewrite of SHARDS.

This is new territory for me. Finishing the thing was new territory for me, too. The only thing I’ve ever finished previously was my 2007 NaNo (approximately half of which was comprised of ADD SCENE HERE); my computer is a veritable graveyard of partly-finished works.

SHARDS actually dates all the way back to 8th grade, when 14-year-old Stephanie decided that if J.R.R. Tolkien could craft an elaborate and realistic world (I was in my Lord of the Ringsphase back then), well, then SO COULD I.

14-year-old Stephanie wouldn’t recognize the story that I have here, nine years later. I think 14-year-old Stephanie’s mind would be blown by what this has turned into. And she sure would be laughing if she realized where I’d be heading with this.

I think the awesome thing about this whole writing thing is that there’s always something new to learn. Right now, it’s how to revise things. When I typed END OF BOOK ONEat the end of that Word document at the end of January, I had to sit and watch TV shows on Hulu to keep from getting overwhelmed at the thought of HOW MUCH WORK is still ahead of me.

But then again, you don’t solve problems by looking at EVERYTHING AT ONCE. So I broke it down into the pieces I really need to work on: plot, character development, setting, sentence structure and word choice. And so, I’m focusing on one thing at a time. This go-around, it’s plot.

Guys, I’m actually outlining this thing. What is this?

Last week was pretty crazy (read: I spent every moment I wasn’t asleep or at work reading Insurgent), so I didn’t get a whole lot done, but I’m looking forward to tackling this thing in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a taste of what I’ve got so far.


The thing I remember most about the day my life changed is the heat.It shimmered through the temple windows in waves, settling over my shoulders like a shawl. Not even a breeze stirred inside the cavernous marble chamber to loosen the strands of my brown hair plastered to my forehead.

I hissed as my mother jabbed me with her fan. “Pay attention!” she whispered.

All around me, the congregation – women and children, since the men went to a separate service in the evening – were lowering to the floor, settling on their knees. I followed suit so quickly, I almost fell over onto the old woman next to me, most likely drawing more attention to myself than I had by daydreaming.

And then, it was silent, not even the priestess’s droning voice rising above the heads of the congregation. What should I pray for today, I wondered?

I looked around through mostly-closed eyelids. As far as my eyes could see, heads were bowed, covered by lace scarves; hands were on knees; a few lips were moving silently, but most mouths were firmly shut.

My mother shifted next to me, almost as though she knew I were being disobedient. I swiftly squeezed my eyes shut and cast a thought upward to Stella, Lady of Light, Please, put an end to the monotony.

If only I’d known.

3344 / 50000 words. 7% done!

14 thoughts on “In which I continue to Learn New Things

  1. Rachel says:

    WOW this is totally different than your original, Steph…the one from FP I read ages and ages ago. (Moons and moons?) The only thing is how can she see so well with mostly-closed eyelids? That description brings a strange/weird image in my head of her eyes totally closed for some reason. But thats my only crit. Its sooo different (stronger – in a better way) 🙂

  2. Carrie-Anne says:

    My 13-year-old self wouldn't have recognized my first Russian novel's eventual form either, so many years ago. Even when I finished it at 21, I don't think I could've foreseen some of the changes, excisions, and rewrites I made during my decade-later editing, polishing, and rewriting extravaganza. I'm glad to hear that some other people are still with characters and books they started at a younger age and grew with them instead of "moving on," as my mother thinks you're supposed to.

  3. Erin L. Schneider says:

    Well hello, fellow NW'erner! I completely agree – with writing, there's always something new to learn, no matter how long you've been doing it. I've never been an outliner when it came to writing – but over the past year, that's changed quite a bit. While I still fly by the seat of my pants for the most part (at least to get the rough draft down on paper), I now find myself outlining and breaking my story into segments, much like you've done. I think this definitely helps strengthen areas I may not have paid too much attention to, before.Best of luck on your revisions – it sounds like you're on the right track!

  4. Raven says:

    This is a really great first page. You have the setting and the world your main character is in down and…I WANT TO READ MORE hehe.I am also writing a YA fantasy, and I think six years from now, I'll probably look back at my teenage self and think about how much my wip has improved. As for outlining, taking notes and planning everything that's going to happen before I write it is sooo new to me. Sometimes I just want to let my pantser ways take over but I then have to remind myself that fantasy has so many layers and that it relies on world building/setting and all that other stuff, so I have to make sure it all makes sense. It's so frustrating but it's fun too. I wish you all the luck with SHARDS and I hope all of your hard work pays off in the end. 🙂

  5. Caitlin E Darrell says:

    I can totally relate about the graveyard of partially finished stuff – I think I've only fully completed like 2 books. But it's HARD to stick with something to the end, which is why I'm so so happy for you and SHARDS :)That first page is beautiful – it totally had me hooked from the first line! It sounds rather enchanting – all that lace and those fans and pretty things. My current WIP is coming to me through dreams – like, ALL of it. Every scene, every conversation. I may be going clinically insane, or maybe I'm just becoming one of THOSE writers. Heaven forbid! :O

  6. Stephanie Allen says:

    I pantsed the entire first draft of SHARDS. Even the world building. It turned out the be a masterpiece (*cough*). I've always been someone who learns best by doing, though, so no matter how much world building I do beforehand, I can't really wrap my brain around it until I actually write the thing.Yes! That's part of the fun of writing! I mean, looking back at old stuff makes me want to cry, but on the other hand, it's so cool to see how far I've come!

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