The Story of an Evolution of a Story

If you’re a human being, you probably like things to have all your ducks in a row. You enjoy having a neat and quiet house in which nothing hinders your work or tampers with your possessions. There are just some things that you don’t want to change. Don’t deny it: that’s the case with everyone, even if you’re the most random, chaotic person I’ve ever met.

Well, as the second law of thermodynamics states, all things change. (or, more accurately, it states that all existing things break down over time) Nothing in this mortal world is forever, least of which the girl scout cookies you’re halfway through, the movie or book you’re really enjoying, or really anything for that matter.

Change happens in writing, too. And a lot more than you may at first think: to create a story, you need to be a pretty random person. You need to theorize and start from the beginning, over and over. Especially at the beginning stage of most stories: at the early moments of creation, its form is changing rapidly.

But I came here to tell you a story, and here it is:

Once upon a time there was a young lad. Now, this boy had never seen himself as a writer, but he’d tried his hand at writing stories a few times (among his failed works were a Minecraft graphic novel, a piece of Christian literature, and a werewolf story). Let’s keep that in mind.

It just so happened that the kid thought of an idea of a story: a science-fiction novel set in contemporary America wherein the hero becomes the victim of a governmental science experiment that fuses his body and consciousness to that of his four friends. Odd if you think about it now, but I the kid was absolutely starry-eyed about it.

Having no computer, the lad wrote down a few paragraphs in a notebook, but quickly became disillusioned with the repetition of the story and lack of original content, not to mention criticism. On top of that, the writing quality was meh and he didn’t have much time to spend on it, so he abandoned the story, pursuing other things.

Fast forward a few weeks. The boy spends several sleepless hours in bed, thinking about his story. The creative fever hit him again, and now he just has to write, no matter the cost. But what to write on? Like a piece of dough in the hands of a baker, the idea gets formed and shaped beyond reasonable recognition. The only two things that remained were the main character’s name and personality and one major plot twist.

Then he writes fervently but at an incredibly slow pace (the story is a contemporary fantasy, by the way) for a few days, using every spare minute to squeeze in a few more words. After a mere week, the story is finished: a “short novel” that was a little over 12,000 words. At this victory, the lad felt his world had been very well-established; he began a sequel and planned a third book in the series. Neither took off as the lad’s tank of inspiration abruptly ran out. The whole matter collapsed into silence and emptiness.

Not too long after (probably less than a year), the inspiration hit the kid again. However, by this time, he knew a bit more about writing. Upon going back and reading his previous work, he saw that his writing was badly-plotted, cliched, and cringily written. The idea went back into the hands of the baker to be remolded.

It had changed quite a bit once it got out: using several favorite stories as an inspiration, the boy’s idea had changed once again into fantasy, only this time high fantasy instead of contemporary fantasy. He writes a few thousand words and is meticulous with the plotting. However, less than halfway through, he gives up again…temporarily.

He comes back in a year, having had a lot more schooling and research in writing. Evaluating his old story, he realizes that a lot more things need to change. This time the story retains the original content and story, but major changes are made to characters and events in the plot. Then–finally–the lad continues to write the story until it’s reached completion.

But through all this time, the lad’s achieved significant advance in his writing. He’s now nearing manhood with a story that’s grown up with him. He tackles the story with renewed fervor, editing and making further changes in a frenzy. He kicks up a lot of dust, but once it clears, he’s holding (wearily but triumphantly) a finished manuscript of his book…the book that was later published as my first novel.

Stories change, and often for the better. My story wasn’t the same after over six years of development, rewrites, playing pretend on paper, and failing. But that’s something I’ve learned to take in stride, and so should you: learn to accept change. Don’t fight the current: use it.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Until then, writers!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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