I close my eyes, trying to focus and organize my thoughts. It's like trying to control chaos with a whip that keeps lashing back at me in the maelstrom.
I was searching for the sequel to a novella I wrote a few years ago when I came across a bright yellow binder in a file box. I plucked it out, opened it and was stunned to find it was 145 pages of the first version of Black Knight, White Rook, the sequel to Black King Takes White Queen. I remember writing the beginning, with Ivy in her crafting room, her eye drawn by a flash of white outside beyond the greenhouse window. When she investigates she sees an albino crow attacking what looks to her, at first, like a fallen slender tree. Her grandfather is out in the yard playing with his three-year old grandson, Ivy and Romney's little boy, Ezra. In moments, the tree moves, lifts its head and she realizes with horror that it is a huge serpent that the white rook is attacking and attempting to blind as its feathers are not spattered with the snake's blood. Ivy's wand is not close at hand She realizes that by the time she invokes the retrieval spell to summon her wand to her hand, and then invokes the death spell it will be too late for Ezra.
The novel starts with a bang and continues rather relentlessly as Ivy's black witch sister returns with her evil black warlock husband in tow. They are power hungry and determined to destroy the fragile peace Romney and Ivy's union in the first novel has brought about between black and white arts practitioners.
I wrote 145 typewritten pages of this novel before I realized that it wasn't quite the story I had envisioned, and was much darker and heart wrenching than I wanted the second book to be, although the one that was written afterwards that is published is pretty dark and difficult to read. In the pages in the yellow binder, Ivy's grandfather is slain. I didn't want that to happen in book two. This second novel is more about the rift between Ivy and her older sister Holly and how evil has rushed in to fill the growing void between them. Holly and her husband have kidnapped Romney and Ivy's son in this version, as well as Ivy. Ivy has managed to escape, as she does in the published version, but Ezra is still in Holly and Trowbridge's clutches.
There is a lot of good writing in those 145 pages that no one will ever read, specially in regards to the depth of Romney and Ivy's love for one another. But, with every novel I write, I pack as much as I can in every page, so, although I feel satisfied with the Black Knight, White Rook version that was published, my heart aches because this one was also very good.
I have other novels that I have written several versions of. The first novel in the Talon supernatural grim reaper series, I wrote the book four times. It was originally a series of four stories I wrote for Kelly for Halloween. Then I wrote a novel version of the four stories. In third person. Then I rewrote it, still in third person. I didn't like it because I felt it should be told from Bryce's point of view, how she experiences what happens in her life. So I wrote it again, and then one final time in which I removed some material which was then included in book two in the series, and added some additional material in book one that shows more of Bryce and Dr. Talon's developing yet still very volatile relationship, and Bryce's trying to wrap her head around the fact that the grim reaper has been on the periphery of her life since childhood, and while he was a terrifying figure, her dawning realization that he is and always has been her protector. Then comes her awareness that the grim reaper and Dr. Giles Talon are one and the same. It all had to be presented in a certain way-so the fourth revision hit the mark. But the other three versions are still sitting in binders in the dining room- still good stories, but not quite the right story written in the right way.
There were also several versions of the first Archetypes novel. Also good stories, but not quite the way I wanted it to be.
I don't want to throw these novels and partial novels away- they were each a labor of love, but I'm not quite sure what to do with them. If you're a writer then you know how much of yourself you put into everything that you write. It would be like throwing out a part of myself. So, I feel compelled to keep them around..at least for the time being!
Maybe, if I go back and read some more in this unpublished novel I will find the inspiration to pen the third novel in the series (one or two, or even maybe three times, until I get it just right!).
I did eventually find the sequel partial novella to Bending Birches that I had been looking for. I'm currently working on finishing that story, Seventh Year Itch. The two novellas will then be combined in one book in the near future. Then, maybe I'll get back to finishing The Lakeside Manor Investigation since Kelly is anxiously awaiting that sequel since I'll be writing a few of her characters from her novel Parapsychology into this novel.
I was just thinking that I should have a bookshelf for only partially written novels- a place to call their own where I could revisit them...I really don't have the heart to let them go.