Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Feature: The Vanished Knight by Misha Gericke



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.

Today I have the very awesome Misha Gericke talking about: When is a good time to give up on a story? Take it away, Misha!

Is it when the story doesn’t live up to your expectations? Or when you just don’t feel your characters anymore? How about, if you have a newer, better idea? Or if you lost 90% of what you wrote in a computer crash and just don’t have the heart to start again?

Honestly, I think any of these can be valid reasons to stop working on a project. Writing is a deeply personal thing, so every writer has his/her reason why an idea can’t be taken to the end.

I don’t however, recommend that you throw your work away. Don’t give up on an idea. Just give it a rest. Even if the rest is indefinite, there’s still a difference from giving up. A small one, but vital.

Giving up is demoralizing. It says: “I can’t do this.” Resting a manuscript says: “I can’t do this right now.

Often, problem stories aren’t bad. We just don’t have the skills to take them where they need to go. But those skills can and will be learned as you work on other projects.

If there’s a newer, better idea that makes your current one look like a pre-school project, rest it until you know how to make it better. I’m not saying you should flit from project to project willy nilly without getting anything done, though. But especially in the beginning of your writing journey, you’ll learn things that’ll help you create better, more solid ideas. If it feels like the first idea is seriously inferior to the second, distance from the first might actually be a good idea.

The same with emotional reasons. Some books take too much out of us. Or we’ve moved on before we could finish the story. Anything like that. It’s not wrong to put the book aside.

Just don’t ever throw a story away. Maybe you’ll get back to it. Or maybe there’s a core idea in there that you’ll need for another story. It happens!

Mark Twain wanted to write a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. After working on it for some time, he realized the story simply wasn’t coming together right. He shelved it. For years. One day, though, he realized that Huck Finn had something important to say, so he started again. The result was The Adventurs of Huckleberry Finn, a book that’s widely regarded as the great American Novel.

Maybe your shelved book is next.

Have you ever shelved a book, only to come back to it once you figured out how to make it better? Or when you realized you wanted to write it after all?


Bio
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 blogYou can also add The Vanished Knight on Goodreads.

Links


37 comments:

  1. Hello, Kelly and Misha! The novel I wrote during last year's NaNo was one that I hated! It was an idea that wouldn't let me go, and I had to write it in order to get it out of my system so I could work on other stuff. I hated it, though. After finishing it and setting it aside for awhile, I took a look at it again and discovered it wasn't so bad as I thought. I made notes on ways to fix it. Maybe some day I'll rework that. I liked the idea, just not how I was writing it. So who knows! You're right that time may be the key to unlocking a stalled story.

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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    1. I've gone back and rewritten novels that weren't working and made them into books I loved. I think time definitely can help.

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    2. I've also gone back to stories I thought were week. Often, they just need more time.

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  2. Yay, Misha! I remember reading a snippet of your book early on...not sure how or where, but it's come so far. I can't wait to read the entire thing--as soon as I catch a moment to breathe.

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    1. Thanks for checking out the post, Crystal.

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    2. Yeah I posted little bits from all over the series on my blog over the years.

      But the current version is much better than any of those. :-D

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  3. What wonderful words of wisdom in this great inspirational post! I think I'm going to bookmark it to reread when my work starts feeling 'preschool like' :-)

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  4. Great post, Misha! I have two or three shelved beginnings and I don't plan to destroy them. I think I can use bits and pieces in other works. Congrats!

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    1. I've done that several times—taken bits and pieces of works that aren't working and made them into something new.

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    2. I do it too.

      In fact, these days, if I do writing prompts, I only ever write beginnings.

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  5. Such a great guest post, Misha! You're right - I have two trunked ms's and one I stopped at 30k because it got all wonky on me (lol!), but I still have hope that I'll be able to fix them sometime in the future. Congrats on The Vanished Knight! Wishing you much success! :-)

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    1. I'm sure you will be able to fix them one day.

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    2. I'm with Misha. You'll fix them one day.

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  6. Great post! I keep all my stories even if they didn't go anywhere. The ideas aren't bad, the stories just need some fixing.

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    1. Definitely. Nothing I ever wrote goes wasted.

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    2. Oh yeah. And ideas can be reworked.

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  7. Excellent post, Misha!

    I've shelved one- for the moment, though it's in final read throughs- til I feel up to it. Grief drains out the creative ability completely, but it'll come back.

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    1. Yeah sometimes all you need to get the creative juices going again is patience.

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    2. William, sometimes that's the best thing for the manuscript because when you come back with fresh eyes you can see what you need to do to make it better.

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  8. Interesting article, Misha. I'm struggling wth that same thing right now. Might take your advice. Thanks and best of luck to you.

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    1. Thanks Beverly. Glad if I could be of some help to you.

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  9. Great way to look at it. Nothing we write is ever wasted (although I did lose some edits in one of those dreaded crashes!) We learn a lot from every story we shelve, and there'll always be there for us if the time feels right to go back.

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    1. Yeah my worst loss was a 40k long rewrite. Shelved the draft indefinitely, although I think I might get to it next year.

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    2. I just lost over 30k due to the file corrupting. *sigh*

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  10. My current Nano project would fit the bill. Last year I was so stoked for it, even had the MC in a hero bloghop. But when it was time to write the novel. Everything went flat during Bunowrimo 2012. Not one word. Zip. This year 2013 Nano I have started and Briar's Dilemma is coming along. There are some past projects I have given up though, I still keep what I've written but I know it's highly unlikely I'll get back to those. Very good discussion Misha and thanks Kelley for featuring Misha and her novel.

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    1. You're welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. And good luck with NaNo.

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  11. Great post, Kelly. I believe there are certain moments in our lives when our ideas are more alive or valid. If we seem like we are trying to push on with something that just isn't there, it probably has a lot to do with timing. There are stories that I started years ago and picked up later in life only to find ways to work with them again.
    Thanks for the advice, Misha!

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    1. I agree. Sometimes, time is all that's needed to help an idea form into something more workable.

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  12. Gina, I agree. Some ideas are meant for specific times in our lives.

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  13. I have to say that The Vanished Knight sounds really awesome! Great blurb!

    I agree that if we decide to stop writing something we are working on that we shouldn't get rid of it- we should just put it to rest. Sometimes we see something else in them later! :)
    ~Jess

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    1. I've taken shelved ideas/books and reworked them into new stories. I love that. No writing is ever wasted.

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    2. Hey Jess,

      I agree with you. I think my first three finished rough drafts came from stuff I liked and learned from seven previous, failed drafts.

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