Guys, I’m into my final edits. I’m processing CP feedback and doing line edits; once that’s done, it’s just one more round of proofreading and then Lady of Daemons will be ready for querying.
This has been a long, long, looooong time coming. I came up with the initial idea in May 2014. That’s FOUR YEARS AGO. And let me tell you, this book has changed a LOT in the past four years. I went through my initial notes the other day, just for old time’s sake, and—no joke—I wheezed with laughter at some of the things I wrote. (Beth used to be a sweet, outgoing girl who didn’t obsess over her appearance to the point of paranoia. HA.)
Anyways, I thought it would be fun to look back and see what’s changed.
- Beth’s personality. Beth 1.0 was—as I just said—sweet, outgoing, and not too concerned with how other people saw her. Looking at the sharp, cynical, awkward girl I’ve come to know and love, I can’t believe she was every any of those things.
- Winnie’s gender. Winnie used to be a boy. A boy who had a twin brother. They were meant to showcase the two extremes of being infected, with Beth treading a sensible middle ground. (Again. Beth. Sensible approach to infection. HA.) But with two of the three main characters being boys, the book was struggling to pass the Bechdel test. Nooo thank you. And speaking of which…
- The gender ratio. The original draft had three named women and four named men, but once I finished making Winnie a girl, axing the twin (who wasn’t contributing to the plot at all), and reshuffling the bit characters in the background, that changed. Now there are five named women and two named men.
- The setting. The very earliest sketches, before the plot was anywhere near being solidified, involved Beth, boy!Winnie, and Useless Twin running off to the Giant’s Causeway for Adventure Purposes™. I don’t think I had a reason for it; I just think the Giant’s Causeway is cool. Nowadays, Beth and Winnie are sticking a lot closer to home.
- The background characters. Oh, the background characters. I never know what to name them, nor what to do with them, and I’m happy to have them only appear when necessary. I’ve created and killed so many of them over the past four years.
- The ending. I am the worst at endings. The wooooorst. (I hope you read that in your best Jean-Ralphio voice.) That’s why Lady of Daemons has had not one, not two, but FOUR wildly different endings. From staring mournfully out over the sea, to hatching a clever plot in secret, to using daemonic magic to knock the living daylights out of someone, this book has always struggled to end. This is why I need outlines, people. I can’t be trusted to just wing it.
Looking at my early drafts, it kind of blows my mind how much has changed. I wasn’t really aware of most of the changes; they happened organically as I looked for ways to make my novel tighter and stronger.
To be honest, I’m not sure that I’ll ever have a novel change this much ever again, because Lady of Daemons was the last novel that I pantsed. Having to constantly restructure the plot and characters was time-consuming and frustrating. This novel was the one that turned me from pantser to plotter. My next projects—The Final Days, None of this Means Anything, and a few other baby ideas that don’t yet have titles—are all being plotted from start to finish. I’ve got spreadsheets for characters and sketches of skyships. I love Lady of Daemons with all my little heart, but I never, EVER want to have a manuscript change in so many fundamental ways mid-edits.
What major changes has your novel undergone between the first draft and now? Do you keep your old drafts? Are you a plotter or a pantser (or a plantser)? And, for the love of god, does your novel pass the Bechdel test???