Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

I once thought the above saying to be one of those things everybody says, but which isn't actually true. I've been proven wrong. After finishing the first draft of Ice Roses, I set it aside to simmer while plunging into a new work in progress, Ethereal. I figured I would let it sit a year before attempting to rewrite it. I printed it all out, put it in a binder, squealed with my friends over the fact that I'd finished an entire novel!, and then went on with my life: homework, outlining Ethereal and writing it out on Sundays. In general, ignoring poor, unloved Ice Roses.

However, last night a whole slew of new ideas about how to expand Ice Roses' world, tweak the plot, and make the story a fantasy EPIC rather than a retelling struck me. At 11:30 at night. When I'd have to get up at 8:00 the next day. Needless to say, I didn't get a whole lot of sleep.

Regardless, I'm now rethinking my decision to let Ice Roses be. Ethereal is still trying to figure out who it is, but Ice Roses' characters are only shining more vibrantly inside my head. Gerda, my main character, especially. Parts of her I hated in the first draft are sinking out of sight, revealing who she truly is and has always been meant to be. Her character arc and even her ending is going to change drastically, but it's all in favour of writing the best story--a story full of meaning and layers, love and loss. A story as true to life as possible, yet with the thrill of something beyond.

I am so excited to immerse myself again in Gerda's world, this time with a new sense of who she is and what she must do. It's been a while in coming. Yet I have a great feeling about this story, and with the helpful feedback of friends and family, I'm pretty certain Gerda and I will go a long way together.

So, my question (or questions) to you, readers, is this: Does absence from a manuscript make your heart grow fonder? Do you ever get the urge to go back to one you've set aside or abandoned completely and see if you can tweak it? How do you feel when you gain insights that may mean you have to redo a story from scratch, or change a character's personality? Let me know in the comments!