Time passes and we change. Wanted or not it happens to the best of us, and the worst. One can never know if the changes will be for the better or perhaps we stray down a wrong road. I, for one, have changed over the years and as I listen to the next book in a series I had initially loved, I consider both who I am as a reader and as a writer.
I first encountered Eragon at the movies in 2006 and fell in love with the story and the characters, entrigued by the entire world Christopher Paolini had created. At the time, I was a reader, but it had waned in the years and I was not an avid reader. This movie; however, sent me to the book store to purchase Eragon, because I knew if the movie was good, the book would be better. I was not disappointed. Thankfully for me, book two, Eldest came out a short time later. I bought it. I also bought them both on audio, because I love to listen while I work.
The problem came when I was ready for book three, Brisingr, I had to wait. Know me, I’m not a patient person. I waited, and waited, and waited, until I’d had enough of waiting. It’d been years since I’d written anything of any length, but excited as I was, I started to write my own book three. (Learned later others had actually done this before me and it had a name…FanFiction.) Of course, I added my own characters and moved the story along from where it had ended based somewhat on the teaser at the end of book two. Which, by the way, was not in book three, hmmm? It was a great story. This is where my renewed writing enthusiasm ignited. When I finished this book, Paolini still hadn’t released the third book and to be honest, I was done waiting. This was also around the time that the Harry Potter books came out, or I became aware of them.
I am a lover of Sci-fi/fantasy and when I started to write my own books, I wrote what I love, fantasy. It started, as I’ve said before, as kinda a dare. An old high school friend challenged me to write all our friends from back then, into a story and make them mythical type creatures. I love a good challenge and it took no time to figure what creature each of them would be. The thing is, what began as a simple short story idea, blossomed into a novel of biblical proportion, 150k words. Read the rough draft here. I’ve now written Izzabella into a series of eight books. Seven are finished, and as of the last read through, done with edits. (but are we ever really done with edits?) The beginning of IZZABELL FIRST GLANCE can be read here. (the compilation of many a rewrite.) There is also a novella and a short story based on these characters and gasp, a spin off which I am unsure I will ever finish. The last in the series, for years now, is waiting to be put to rest, finished. Part of the issue in wrapping this last book up, is I’ve changed as a person and a writer and in trying to keep the feel, I’m a little lost.
Brisingr was released a few years ago and I purchased the hardback book when it came out. I read chapter one, that’s it. I’d lost interest, not to mention I was involved in my own writing. But time passes and now several years later, I have downloaded the book in audio format from the local library. I have to say, I’m disappointed in it, both the story line and the writing style. This made me consider, is it the writing/story line/ style, that I really dislike, or is it that I’ve already written the next passage? We all change with time and I had as a reader, one must assume that Paolini had as an author.
For me it is the road traveled in getting the story out, as much as it is the story’s end. With the last book of Izzabella, I did something I don’t usually do, I wrote until I was stuck and then I jumped ahead and wrote to the end. I have the middle of the book missing. It’s not that I have no clue what happens, it’s more I’m not sure how it happens. And….I know how it ends. Like the Brisnger book, I feel I don’t need to finish because for me, it’s already done.
That said, I am committed, or should be mentally, to completing this book, just as I will finish listening to Brisnger. (And purchase Inheritance when it’s released in November.) So tell me, How do you handle these sort of situations? Can you go back and fill in? Some author’s write from the end backward. What’s your style?