Friday, November 15, 2013

Splitting Up Is Hard To Do

Today on the woefully neglected My Pet Blog, we are pleased to play host to Misha Gericke and her newly released novel, The Vanished Knight.

Take it away, Misha!


Splitting stories 

I woke up one morning with a contract offer. It thrilled me to bits, but at the same time, I was terrified.

The reason was that I’d submitted my 107k word novel (Doorways) to a publishing company, whose guideline word count is about 65k words for a YA book. Luckily for me, my editor wanted to give me a chance, but that chance came with one ultimatum:

I had to split Doorways in half.

Now, I’d spent years and years working just to get to the contract, and having to divide what I’d written… Just felt impossible. And yet… And yet, I got the feeling it could be done. Technically, I mean. I knew I’d written the thing in ebbs and flows, so in theory, I could turn some major event earlier in the story into a climax of its own. So I said I’d do it.

It took me a week of calming down, rereading and creating a timeline to discover that mercy above mercies, my story actually had two natural halves. And the first half was in fact finished at one chapter short of Doorways’s middle chapter.

So I copy pasted the first half and let my editor know the split had been accomplished.

This was far from the end, though. Everything in Doorways’s first half was written to lead to a climax in the second. Now I had to shift the focus so that everything went towards a much earlier point in the story.

It took some trial and error, but after having some suggestions from my crit partners, I realized I’d lucked out yet again. My series has five main characters and multiple plot-lines. In Doorways, I’d mainly written to follow Callan’s plot, but in the half I’d now split off, Darrion and Gawain’s plot was more complete. So I wrote in more scenes to bring their story to the fore and voila, the the first half became The Vanished Knight.

Anyone else ever need to split a manuscript for a publisher? Thanks for having me over, M.J.!

Blurb

Since the death of her parents, Callan Blair has been shunted from one foster family to another, her dangerous secret forcing the move each time. Her latest foster family quickly ships her off to an exclusive boarding school in the Cumbrian countryside. While her foster-brother James makes it his mission to get Callan expelled, a nearby ancient castle holds the secret doorway to another land...

When Callan is forced through the doorway, she finds herself in the magical continent of Tardith, where she’s shocked to learn her schoolmates Gawain and Darrion are respected soldiers in service to the king of Nordaine, one of Tardith's realms. More than that, the two are potential heirs to the Black Knight—Nordaine's crown prince.

But when the Black Knight fails to return from a mysterious trip, the realm teeters on the brink of war. Darrion and Gawain set out to find him, while Callan discovers there is more to her family history than she thought. The elves are claiming she is their princess.

Now with Darrion growing ever more antagonistic and her friendship with Gawain blossoming, Callan must decide whether to stay in Nordaine—where her secret grows ever more  threatening—or go to the elves and uncover the truth about her family before war sets the realms afire.



About the Author:

M. Gerrick (AKA Misha Gericke) has basically created stories since before she could write. Many of those stories grew up with her and can be seen in her current projects. She lives close to Cape Town, with a view over False Bay and Table Mountain.

If you’d like to contact her, feel free to mail her at warofsixcrowns(AT)gmail(DOT)com, Circle her on Google Plus or follow her on Twitter. If you'd like to see her writer-side (beware, it's pretty insane), please feel free to check out her blog. You can also add The Vanished Knight on Goodreads.

31 comments:

  1. All the work paid off Misha, Wishing you all the best with The Vanished Knight.

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  2. Glad you lucked out multiple times. Splitting a novel in half sounds difficult. And reorganizing subplots? Good job!

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    1. Libby, reorganizing is really the tricky part, because everything you move around changes the stuff before and after it.

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  3. YAY! Sir Poops and Hair Ball can't wait to share on Monday!

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    1. So excited to see what they come up with. ;-)

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  4. It's always nice when things work out naturally. Congrats on your book(s).

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    1. Yeah it would have been heartbreaking otherwise.

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  5. You are so clever, Misha! I'd freak out if I ever had to make big changes in one of my books. I like to think I'm adaptable, but ... I'm not ...
    Congrats on your book - it looks wonderful! :-)

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    1. Yeah it's not as easy, since the reason why the book was in its original shape was that I liked it that way.

      Still, I honestly believe the book is much better now.

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  6. Congrats, Misha! Sounds like you brought out the best of the story.

    And wow, that opening page is a stunner.

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  7. Lovely to see Misha here! Now I'm even more intrigued about her story. Congrats Misha!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  8. Wow. What a great story about your stories! And now you two books to share with everyone!
    Best of luck.
    Heather

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    1. Hahaha yeah that was the best part. Not having to draft a sequel. :-P

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  9. Wow, I can't ever imagine splitting a novel in half like that. It seems like such a stressful process! Very impressed that you were able to make it work for you, Misha!

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  10. Funny how things work out sometimes. Sounds like an interesting book.

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  11. That was a blessing in disguise if I've ever seen one. Now you have two books to publish. I'd say it's like hitting the lottery!

    Beautiful cover!

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    1. Hahahaha yes it was actually pretty useful to have two books in one. It meant I was actually ahead, which means I'll hopefully stay ahead for the whole series. :-)

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  12. Hi M.J.,

    There you go, Misha, as stated, I'm here at our friend's delightful blog to see what you took away. Well, it does state, "Take it away, Misha!" Right then, you know I'm wishing you much fulfilment with your book and the one after that and the movie and the talk show circuit...

    Thanks for having Misha over here. Take it away, Gary!

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    1. Hahaha mmm... what did I take away... *checks around for McDonalds' cartons or the like.*

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  13. I read this book a second time and couldn't put it down. Misha is the next C.S. Lewis in my opinion. She's really amazing.

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  14. Great guest post, Misha! Can't wait to read it! :)

    (MJ, my son walked in while I was commenting here and saw your background. He asked if it was his house! Hehehe! Yes, we have a lot of books.)

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  15. Goodness, look at all that spam... Anyhow, I haven't had a publisher ask me to split a story, but I have had one ask me to turn a stand alone into a series. I wasn't happy about it...initially. Now I LOVE the idea. Funny how our perspective can change, eh?

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