Hey everyone, give a warm welcome to Misha Gericke, my guest poster for the day and author of "The Vanished Knight"! Take it away, Misha!
Thanks for hosting me today, Mel!
Since Mel gave me carte blanche, I thought I’d share the story of a novel’s birth.
Back when I started blogging, I was working on a WiP that I (aptly) named The Beast. Drafting it was a difficult, often painful experience. I hated one of my main characters. Despised him. He was disrespectful, rebellious, self-pitying, smart alec-y and on and on and on.
But I loved my other characters enough that I had to keep going. Because one of my characters needed James, James stayed. And he pretty much fought me the whole way, for my entire first draft. He was by far not my only problem, though.
The other big problem I had was working with multiple plot lines. I’d done multiple perspectives before, but always for simpler stories, where there was basically one plot that everyone contributed to. The Beast was different. Pretty soon in the story, the main characters are split into two groups and they remain apart, seemingly living out their own stories, seemingly having nothing together. And then, there was a third plotline. A silent one. I needed to stay aware of it the whole time, even if it remained behind the scenes. But for the entire story this silent plotline didn’t feel right.
Yet another major problem: I (who always planned everything out) couldn’t plan The Beast. Those plotlines I mentioned were so subtle and convoluted that I couldn’t put them down on paper. And since the silent plot (which didn’t feel right) originated the other two, things got pretty hairy. It felt as if I was trying to untangle a bowl of spaghetti. With some of the strings stuck together. And where unsticking them would make the whole thing fall apart.
So I did the two things I never did: First, I gave up on planning and let the whole thing play out. Second, I trusted my gut and wrote the whole thing without trying to fix anything. It took me five years to finish the rough draft.
It was pretty good, though. But (since I wrote the whole thing by hand) I needed to rewrite it. This time I planned, using the stuff I’d learned and liked and structuring the story around it. During this rewrite, things fell into place. James made sense. And although he’s still all those things I complained about before, I understood him. By understanding him, I… well… “like him” is still a bit of a strong way to put it. But he has grown on me.
During the rewrite, a random conversation about Snape from Harry Potter made my silent plotline fall into place. And with that, the whole thing came right. Suddenly, there weren’t these tangled bits of string. There were lines. And they converged on one point. I also saw that the silent plotline was making all the others resonate. The rewrite became the easiest thing.
I knew what to focus on, I could tolerate James, and I didn’t need to plan, because I could sense when I was veering off as I wrote.
The Beast became Doorways, and Doorways became The Vanished Knight and its sequel The Heir’s Choice.
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.
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.