In June of 2012, I was talking to my wife about a novel of mine called Child of the Downers and all the ideas I had for it.
I began developing the story in 2005-2006, and wrote the first draft in 2007. After that, I spent a year working out the history of my world, splitting the original book (130,000 words) into smaller books, and other rewrites. But in the end, I was never satisfied with the final product, so I put the project away.
In 2008, I wrote another book called The Last Rose of Innod. Then, in 2009, I began another novel called The Drowning of Martin Ashby. In the intervening years, I edited, and worked on other projects. But there I was in 2012, stalled, unable to get past the 30,000-word mark in my Martin Ashby novel.
But during those five years, ideas for Child of the Downers were springing up. Pieces of the story I was never satisfied with began to work themselves out. Holes were being filled, and characters were becoming more defined, while new characters were emerging.
So as I was discussing this with my wife, she suggested something that I strangely didn’t feel free to do. She said, “Maybe you should put the Martin Ashby novel away and try working on Child of the Downers.”
Without hesitation, I agreed.
It was as if I was waiting for her to suggest it all along. It had been five years since I wrote a sentence in and for that book. Once I began writing it again, I enjoyed my writing more than I had in the past year. I always loved the story. I love the world I created and the characters that inhabited it. I loved the changes I made to the story and the world, and I hope that others will love it just as much. (MARCH 10th, 2015)
Since then, the name to my novel has obviously changed (Scar of the Downers) and I’ve written another draft to another novel (The Cry of Kilhaven).
As I’ve thought about this, it made me think that sometimes in life, when things are not going as well as they should, we need a change. Sometimes, it’s all we need. The smallest change can make the biggest difference. You just have to know it when you see it, and hope that when you don’t, someone will point it out for you.
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Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.