Tag Archives: novel release

What Changes From the First Draft to Publication?

20 Mar

With the release of Seconds Before Sunrise only one week away, I have been thinking about how much The Timely Death Trilogy has changed from the original version to the published novels. Since the second book isn’t released yet (but is available on Amazon) I thought it would be neat to share some of the major changes that happened in Minutes Before Sunset from the original version to the final publication. That way, when the second novel is out for a little while, I can share those changes, too.

Now, as many of you know, there are many drafts of one novel – sometimes a lot more than what writers want to be reminded of. The changes you are about to read about happened over a series of rewrites and edits, so that’s why there are so many changes. If I had to guess, there was one absolute rewrite and an uncountable number of edits. I had about six beta readers on the original versions of the trilogy, but I had three on the version read today. This isn’t my norm. This just happened because I wrote the novels between 2005 and 2009, so Minutes Before Sunset had seven years between writing and publication. I had many opportunities to refine it both as I was writing the last two novels and when I went back the last time before its second version was published. But – alas – here we are:

Length: Be open to cutting it down (or even expanding it!) 

For me, most of my novels are 136,000 words, but I almost always cut it down to 80,000 by often combining scenes and characters or by cutting them out completely. Minutes Before Sunset was my first instance where this happened, and maybe I’ll share cut scenes one of these days, but they might not even work anymore with the current storyline. I actually love cutting down the word count. It challenges me to create more meaningful scenes, and it definitely forces me to push the plot forward with numerous reasons (like action and detail) rather than having separate chapters for everything.

Character names: (It’s okay to change names. Just have a purpose)

Jonathon isn’t sure how he feels about this.

Pierce (shade form of Jonathon) isn’t sure how he feels about this.

I’m sure why this one stuck out the most to me, although my guess would probably stem from the fact that I still see them as their original character names. So why change them? I’ll get to that in a second. Below you’ll see a small list of original character names followed by their publication name.

Colton changed to Noah. Brent to Jonathon. Jonathon to Pierce. Brethan original had both a dark and a human name, but now he is only referred to by his Dark name. Jessica had a Dark name as well. And Eric’s previously girlfriend is almost impossible to remember how many changes she went through.

These changes happened for many reasons, but they mainly happened to keep a character distinct from one another. I couldn’t have a “Brent” related to a “Brenthan.” I mean, I could…at first, I wanted it that way because they were brothers, but I realized I could play on identities in a more psychological way rather than physical name. In the future, I will write more tips on naming characters, since I’ve done it before. Fun fact: a lot of editors/publishers changes character names to be more memorable. My publisher didn’t do anything like that, and I’m really happy I got to keep my “common” names for my human characters, like Eric, Jessica, and Teresa – because the normalcy of their names was intentional, allowing their paranormal names to be more effective, like “Shoman” “Bracke” or “Eu.”

A lot changes in editing, but it mainly happens during rewrites.

A lot changes in editing, but it mainly happens during rewrites.

Location: It can be really hard to change this, but it can also be worth it. 

Kansas – Originally, I wasn’t going to have a town at all. (Of course, there would be one, but it wouldn’t have a name, and I definitely didn’t want to mention the state.) At first, I wanted this town to seem like it could be anywhere, but then I realized it could seem that way while still being physically located somewhere, so after much consideration, I went with Kansas for many reasons, mainly because I don’t feel like many novels take place in the Midwest, especially paranormal or YA books.

Events: Don’t be afraid to add or take scenes away.

The Naming – the ceremony at the beginning of Minutes Before Sunset was actually added last minute. It was in the trilogy, but it was shown much later. I decided to show it in the beginning because I realized it could help ground the rituals of the Dark while also showing where the identities happen.

The ending – I actually don’t want to spoil too much, but the actions Jessica took in the final scenes with Darthon originally didn’t exist. The way to kill him wasn’t in it either. But she’s a fighter – more than most characters actually – and I knew in the editing that I had to include her in the fight. Plus, it allowed a foreshadowing for the third novel I’ve been dying to add without changing the story too much.

Other than that, a lot of dialogue changed and a few character appearances weren’t originally there. I even flipped a few chapters around and cut out other chapters completely. But it all ended up being the same story – I just needed to edit it to find out where certain scenes actually took place.

Perspective: Another difficult area to change.

At first, I showed Jessica’s shade side, but in the rewrite, I choose not to show her paranormal perspective in the first novel. She originally was named at the end of the first novel, too, but it didn’t feel right for reasons that will be explained in the third novel, Death Before Daylight. (Dun. Dun. Dun.) I also wanted to show a few scenes from Darthon’s perspective, but I never wrote one, because he’s a loud mouth. His identity would’ve been revealed in seconds. That doesn’t mean I didn’t consider it during rewrites, though. It just didn’t work out.

Other: Have fun with the small stuff, but it can shape a character.

I already wrote about cars, but Eric originally drove a 2009 Charger instead of an older version. Mindy had a more important role (I even considered having her completely aware of the Dark and the Light) in the first novel. And some of the characters’ descriptions changed. Surprisingly, the attitudes of the characters didn’t change a lot through the first novel, but they do later on! In my other novels, I have found that my characters have chanced dramatically from one version to the next, but this trilogy is an exception, probably because I wrote the second book first.

My changes in the first novel actually heavily impacted the changes in the second novel, and I am looking forward to being able to share that with everyone once the second novel has been released for some time. In fact, I think most manuscripts change a lot from the first draft to the final piece. I actually had to look a lot of my changes up in my notes from the first draft because it becomes difficult to remember everything that you discard or morph into something new.

What about you? What has changed from your first draft to your published work? I feel like this has an endless array of possibilities, but these are just a few of mine. I would love to hear about your novels and manuscripts. Share below!

~SAT

Minutes Before Sunset is on sale until book 2 releases March 27!

Minutes Before Sunset is on sale until book 2 releases March 27!

Minutes Before Sunset Release Party ! ! !

1 May

Website Update:

7 p.m. Book Mavern’s Picks featured “Minutes Before Sunset” today. Special thanks Jhobell Kristyl, book reviewer and blogger. Click here to read.  

10 a.m.: ShannonAThompson.com has hit over 7,000 followers 😀 Thank you all for the tremendous support! 

After years of writing and reading, and being on ShannonAThompson.com for eight months, I am so excited that we are finally here! It’s absolutely breathtaking seeing my novel up on the internet, because I can finally share it, and I’ve been looking forward to it for so long :] Again, and I say this all of the time because I mean it, thank you for supporting me along this journey.

Published by AEC Stellar Publishing, Minutes Before Sunset is now available as an e-book for $6.99 (And there’s a 20% discount for the first week of sales! (It expires at midnight on 5/7/2013.) Just click here (or go to Smashwords) and use the discount code DM42Z. Please help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter 😀 I’d really appreciate it! And don’t forget there’s a surprise for you all (Yes, you all!) in my acknowledgements page. 

Here are other places you can buy Minutes Before Sunset:

Amazon: Kindle

Smashwords includes links for Kindle, ePub (Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others), PDF, RTF, LRF, Palm Doc, Plain Text Download, and Plain Text View.

I’ll be adding links periodically as I receive them ! But in case you’re just now coming to my site: I’ve added the Shan-002synopsis, the cover, and the first chapter below:

She was undoubtedly a shade, but I didn’t know her.

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

He had gotten so close to me—and I couldn’t move—I couldn’t get away.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

 The first chapter (for free) click this link: First Chapter Preview

And excited things have happened! I’ve received another author review:

“Creative and well written, ‘Minutes Before Sunset’ keeps the reader intrigued and anxious for the sequel. Love it!” – T.L. McCown, author of Shifting Sands.

While this was happening, I also did another interview with upcoming author, Amber Skye Forbes, and that can be read by clicking here.

It’s official. I’m dancing around the room with my fat cat, Bogart. He’s excited. (I can tell by his lack of begging for food.) I’ll be close to the computer (as usual but even more so) this week, so don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail or ask a question in the comments section. I’ll get back to you right away! If you’re interested in an interview or planning on reviewing Minutes Before Sunset, let me know! I will link them to all of my websites!

In the mean time, I hope you’re enjoying reading Minutes Before Sunset as much as I enjoyed writing it for everyone! 

~SAT

See? We're dance-hugging :]

See? We’re dance-hugging :]

Publishing News: Two Weeks Away

17 Apr

Website Update: April 18: 10 a.m.: From 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (ET), join an interactive interview on Twitter with me (directed by Sezoni Whitfield) by using the hashtag, #WritersKaboodle, and/or following ShanAshleeT23. I’ll also be reading my poetry at the Spencer Museum of Art in response to Ann Hamilton’s exhibit, “An Errant Line,” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (CT)

Since there’s only two weeks until Minutes Before Sunset is released, I thought I’d share more updates and extras! Below you’ll find a soundtrack, fan art, a Facebook page, a Goodreads page, and an upcoming interactive interview on Twitter this Thursday! But if you’re interested in an interview I recently did: click here to read my interview with Dan Thompson. There’s plenty of new information on my upcoming novel to go along with this post.

Soundtrack

I know I’ve mentioned how I don’t normally write with music, so I want to clarify that this list is more composed of music I’d imagine would be playing in certain scenes and/or if Minutes Before Sunset was ever a movie. These songs, as much as I don’t listen to them while I write, connected with the moments in such a way that I couldn’t deny their significance.

1. Crystalized by the xx: This one is close to my heart. I’ve reviewed this band before for a reason. Their intimate sound and haunting words linger within any darkness, and it only seemed fated to use it for this novel.

2. 24 by Jem. Again, I love the instrumentals, but the lyrics was why I locked onto this one so hard. It’s about having 24 hours left to live, and since Eric has one year left, it was appropriate.

3. Bloodstream by Stateless: This was the song I used the most. Seriously. I played it 77 times (compared to the next most played at 62.) I loved how mellow it was, but I also loved how…well…lovely it was. It reminded me of heartbreak, but in an understandable way–something that didn’t seem unnecessary but remained in this state of bliss and sadness all at once.

4. Ricochet by Shiny Toy Guns: This was the type of music I always pictured Eric listening to.

5. As Much as I ever Could by City and Colour: I had a really specific scene for this song, but I’d rather not ruin it. I’ll hint that it’s right before the climax :]

6. Destiny by Vanessa Mae was the main inspiration when I started writing Minutes Before Sunset. Generally, I listen to music without words, because lyrics can distract me, but her violinist ways were perfect for what I was needing. I also used Cursum Perficio by Enya for the same reasoning. [But I’d rather concentrate on music I’ve used recently, rather than the music I used in the past when I originally wrote it.] Inseguirsi by DeLord was also big one. Another instrumental one. Full of rhythm that changes from mellow to intense. It was perfect to use initially when I had to start writing and work my way into my own rhythm.

7. Youth – Daughter: The lyrics describe the youth in a particular light I really liked, particularly within the love lives of the serious towards the others around the protagonists.

8. Wait for Me by Moby: I really pictured this song working with the dynamics between the romantic relationships that happen in the beginning of their initial contact.

9. All That I’m Living For by Evanescence: Not only do I LOVE Evanescence, but I really feel as if her voice, sound, and intensity is perfect for the storyline of Eric’s Dark and Jessica’s struggles, especially this song which involves the night.

10. Within Temptation by The Howling: I think I have a thing for women belting it over the instruments.

11. No Light, No Light by Florence & the Machine: Who can’t love Florence’s voice?? So inspiring.

12. Cut by Plump: Like Bloodstream, I loved the mellow sound and the chilling emotions.

13. As The Rush Comes (Motorcycle) by DJ Tiesto: This was one of the original songs I used when I was in high school and writing the book. I used to drive around town, just listening to this song while imaging what could possibly happen next.

Fan Art

I love fan art! It’s so much fun to see what readers see from the words I used, and I’ve already received a few pieces from a group of people chosen to read my novel before the release date. This one is one of my favorites of Jessica Taylor:

"Jessica Taylor" drawn by Atheil Barker.

“Jessica Taylor” drawn by Atheil Barker.

Facebook Page

If you love Facebook (and love “liking” pages even more) Minutes Before Sunset now has a page. This isn’t my Author Facebook Page. This is strictly for the novel, and there will be extras as there is on my Author Page. Click this link, and like this page for the latest.

You can "like" Minutes Before Sunset on Facebook!

You can “like” Minutes Before Sunset on Facebook!

Goodreads Page

If you’re on Goodreads, you can now add Minutes Before Sunset to one of your bookshelves. Once it’s published, you can add your reviews, favorite quotes, and rate it. I’m looking forward to sharing more information on this novel’s website as time moves forward (I’m kind of obsessed with Goodreads.)

Goodreads

Upcoming Interview

 This Thursday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (EST), Sezoni Whitfield will be interviewing me on my Twitter Page (Use the hashtag #WritersKaboodle to join in and ask any questions you’d like towards Minutes Before Sunset and/or publishing in general! You could even ask for more writing tips. I’ll be responding to anyone who tweets, retweets, and/or favorites our conversations. The interview is all about writer-reader interaction, and I’d love for you all to join in.

In conclusion: I’m really looking forward to these different opportunities to continue to connect with the writer-reader community. And I cannot wait to experience this future with all of you 😀

~SAT

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