As we’ve been getting the Svatura series ready for release (coming soon, dates TBD!) I’ve gone through each book and done a round of my own edits/changes before sending to my editor. The process has been very interesting, because I’ve been able to see how much I’ve grown as a writer since my first books. I can see my growth from book to book as well as from where I am now looking back at the series as a whole.
I thought I’d share some of the changes I’m making. First, for my Svatura fans, there are no MAJOR plot point or character development changes going on here. There are some of what I’d call “medium” changes that I feel improve the books. What’s been particularly interesting, to me at least, is that each of the four books has needed something different than the others.
Blue Violet – Beginning/Backstory & POV
Beginning the story with the first day of school was both too similar to Twilight and somewhat misleading in terms of the age of my characters. In addition, I had a ton of backstory in chapter 2. So I backed up and start the book earlier–when Ellie leaves Griffin to find the Jenners. This fixed both the backstory and the beginning issues.
Blue Violet had a ton of Point of View (POV) changes all over the place. I like to know how several characters perceive what’s going on, so I didn’t take it all out. But I did smooth out the jumpiness of it.
Hyacinth – Backstory & More Hero
The backstory – holy cow did that need some fixing in the first couple of chapters. It was like a brain dump. Hyacinth was my first time to write a “next” book in a series. I’ve since improved in this space, learning what’s important to remind readers about, and also learning to space it out. I try to treat each book like it’s the first in the series now, which helps.
I realized that I wanted to see more of Griffin. He spends a lot of time off page. So I beefed up his appearances a bit. 🙂 Can never have too much of a good hero.
Crimson Dahlia – His Approach & Insta-Powers
Ramsey is one of my favorite heroes, but I realized that about mid-book he gets kind of gushy/angsty about Lila. I’ve changed how he approaches their relationship, and there’s one scene change in particular that I think really sets him up better.
After setting up how long it takes people to learn their powers in previous books, I realized that in this book, when the 4 heroines start getting each others powers, it was kind of insta-expertish. Now part of that was my not explaining that they have someone right there to help them learn it faster. But what I decided to change was having the girls all struggle with their new powers a lot more and have those powers interfere with what they’re trying to do more often than it helps.
Black Orchid – Series Wide Changes
As the last book, it’s the most recently written, which means I was learning as I went and there’s less I felt needed changing. In fact, I’ve officially decided this is my favorite book of the series. Only the small stuff that I’ve applied to all four books jumped out at me when editing Black Orchid. There are a ton of small changes that are minor improvements that all four books got. These are small enough that I doubt re-readers would even consciously notice the difference. These fall into 3 major categories:
- Clean Up – I have a check list for this (a long one). I clean up things like too many adjectives or adverbs. Overuse of the word “that”. Or my characters nod and smile a lot, so I’m trying to give them other ways to interact.
- Sensory – I love how sensory detail really makes a world come alive. I stick to a rule of thumb that all 5 sense try to make it into each chapter. Usually there’s a lot more than that.
- Description – I’m trying to add more brief descriptions of rooms, clothing, gestures to set scenes better.
If any of my previous Svatura fans decide to read the new incarnations, I’ll be very curious to see what they have to say. I’ve enjoyed this chance to go back and visit the world I’ve built. In fact, it’s gotten me hyped up to revisit it again. After I finish the Shadowcat Naiton series (1 more book to write – maybe 2) I’ll give the Svatura series a serious think on what I might do next. I’ve considered short stories for the minor characters or discovering a new generation of Svatura. We’ll see!