Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Rewriting an old story by Jessica E. Subject


Many, many years ago, I started writing a story based on a dream I had. I planned and plotted this story out, did an immense amount of research for this story, and then wrote it. Though it wasn't my first story published, it was the first story I finished. It did get published, but it wasn't long before the publisher of that story went under, and I eventually got the rights back to my story. BUT, I had learned so much about writing in the time from when I first submitted the story, to when I got the rights back. I had several other stories published, and learned a lot in the editing process for every single one. I also had taken several writing courses through various writing organizations, belonged to a critique group, and read several books on writing.

So, when I read over the manuscript for that story, I was embarrassed. There was no way I wanted that story to be published as it was. But, I did want the story to be told. I had two choices. I could either revise and self-edit the whole story based on what I'd learned, or I could rewrite the entire thing with my new knowledge about story writing. 

What did I do? I rewrote the entire story. I didn't know where to start with revisions. The whole manuscript seemed to need one big revision. So, I replotted the story. And using the new outline, I wrote a completely new story. While there are some similarities between the original story, and the rewrite, it's also very different.

The hardest part of the rewrite was letting go of all the excitement I had while writing the original. It was a huge deal to have finished writing a book. But I wanted it to be a story I was proud to have my name on. 

Are there other stories I have written that I would like to rewrite? Yes! But those are projects for another time. I have too many new ideas in my head to get out before I stop to work on an old one.

What's the title of the rewritten story? It's BRYCE, the first book in my Galactic Defenders series. Check it out!

A dedicated Defender…

Bryce fell in love once, but after Lalia was ripped away from him, he locked his heart from feeling anything for anyone else. Instead, he devotes his life to the Galactic Alliance, killing every bloodthirsty Erebus he comes across.

A shunned princess…

Lalia Comosova fell in love with the wrong man. When her parents learned of her transgressions, they sent her to Earth to hide her error in judgment from the rest of the kingdom.

A second chance?

When these lovers are reunited after many years apart, they have a chance to find happiness together. But fate steps in and threatens to rip them apart as it did years ago.

And here's an excerpt...

Bryce raised his crossbow, lining his sights on the creature standing amongst the bushes, its branch-like tentacles undulating in the gentle breeze. Focusing the crosshairs on the alien’s torso, he drew in a deep breath. He had one shot. If he missed, the Erebus would cry out and alert the natives of Terra to its existence, resulting in more casualties. At first glance, no one on the planet, also called Earth, would believe an Erebus anything more than an overgrown bush, but Bryce knew the truth. He’d trained to hunt the creatures from childhood.

Each step carefully placed, he advanced until he stood twenty feet from the Erebus, no chance to miss the shot. With a slight movement of his finger, he squeezed the trigger, sending a zuranium-tipped arrow racing toward the alien.

“Quinn, would you grab me another garbage bag?”

Fornax. The creature lunged toward the female voice, Bryce’s arrow stuck in one of its tentacles. A kill, but not instant.

He loaded another arrow. At the risk of being seen, he charged through the hedges. He had to cut the Erebus off before it had a chance to kill the Terran. He leaped over metal furniture and large urns, keeping his focus on the creature.

“What the hell? Get out of my yard!”

The woman rushed him, but Bryce darted around her. When the Erebus lumbered in front of him, he raised his weapon and fired. A clean shot to the middle. The creature dropped like a fallen log, crushing the furniture it landed on.

Bryce loaded the crossbow again. No time to celebrate the kill. He had to worry about the possibility of other Erebus in the area, along with the Terran woman who had seen him. Instead of running away screaming, as he’d expected her to do, she stared, wide-eyed in horror. Not at him, but the Erebus. Her body trembled as she shuffled backward, mumbling incomprehensible words.

An unexpected sense of familiarity washed over him. He couldn’t draw his attention away from her slim figure, the way her long brown hair flowed over her shoulders. Far more attractive than he’d pictured the Terrans when others talked about them. He took a closer glance. Lalia? How had she traveled so far from home without anyone knowing? She was no stranger, and definitely not Terran. Or, perhaps she was simply a doppelganger of the woman he’d once loved. He had the sudden urge to comfort her, relieve her worry. Hold her in his arms the way he had many years ago. But what if the missing princess had somehow made her way to a planet unaware life existed beyond their own? After she’d left Hemera and him behind without so much as a goodbye, he’d searched everywhere. Though not once had he thought to look on Terra.

A ground-shattering bellow pierced the night. Bryce spun around, finding himself face-to-face with another Erebus. It stared at him with beady red eyes. Thick black goop dripped from its mouth.

Bryce raised his bow, but the creature slammed him with one of its tentacles, flinging him back. The Erebus lunged at Lalia.

Rolling to his knees, Bryce aimed and fired. He hit the alien from behind, launching it forward. Onto his former lover. Slinging the bow over his shoulder, he raced toward her. The creature’s tentacles still pulsed, even though dead. Careful not to trip himself up, he shoved his hands under the creature’s torso and heaved it off her.

Lalia stood immediately and wiped the black goop from her clothes, as if she hadn’t been flattened by an alien. “They weren’t supposed to follow me. I was supposed to be safe here.”


Nancy Gideon said...

Nice twist!! She's no innocent and now he has a whole new problem.

Jessica E. Subject said...

Thank you, Nancy! Yes, one of many problems! LOL

Maureen said...

Thanks for sharing! Great story! I have a few old stories that I keep tweaking. Maybe someday, they will be ready to see the light of day! lol

Diane Burton said...

I remember this story. I didn't remember the writing was that bad. For what it's worth, I think it's much easier to start over and rewrite the whole thing than try to revise. I remember trying to do that with a story I finished but didn't like certain things. It would've been easier to start over than to revise. I'm looking forward to seeing what you've done with the story.

Jessica E. Subject said...

Thank you, Maureen! I should work on my old ones when I'm not inspired to write my current work in progress.

Jessica E. Subject said...

Thanks, Diane! Bryce is the rewritten story. LOL I won't name the previous title, but I think there are traces of it across the web. It had a beautiful purple cover, but the inside was a mess. I didn't know what to talk about this month, so I decided to mention an older book and a topic related to it. As I mentioned though, there are other books, including a particular series, that I want to rewrite. But I'm going to have to set aside time for that.

D. V. STONE said...

I'm exactly here with a revisit to my 1st manuscript. I, too, have learned so much. Best wishes for success.

Jessica E. Subject said...

Thank you, DV! And best wishes with yours as well!

Nightingale said...

I am rewriting and separating a long older manuscript which was published for to complete a contract. It's an eye-opener that's for sure.