If anyone knew me from my early teen years (okay so not many people were aware of me writing back then) they would know that a decade ago, I decided to move on from writing roleplaying by moving onto my own personal projects.
Now first off… yes, I did a lot of written roleplay. I look back at some of the old stuff and it’s just cringe – and no, I will not be showing anyone.
But on a serious note, after taking my adventure away from roleplaying, I had three friends that I was close with while going through school. If they’re reading this, they know exactly who they are. Now, I wouldn’t try to base my characters in my stories on my real-life friends because I like to bring life to my own characters and it prevents constant requests, but back then was a different story (pun unintended).
I began writing my Sacred Stone series, which originally started with a title called Rising Winds. I had grand plans and before I really got to know my characters, I may have drawn a little on people I knew in real life! The series was going to take off with the characters already grown up and established, and include a prequel at the end to explain their backstory. Later I realised that this backstory was important and really needed to be told first.
The difference between these two ‘first’ books, Reflection of Fire and Rising Winds, was… basically everything! I had different protagonists; Laria Alfero is RoF’s because the protagonist of RW was someone I didn’t like. I mean, she was okay, but overall she was rather bland. The storyline was vastly different compared to the original, having the story based on two races fighting for a land away from the humans (on a side note… I still find this concept interesting, so who knows?). In my current version, the story is about reuniting a mysterious stone and everyone is forced to face the worst parts of themselves. Each of my characters has changed significantly. Originally, Laria’s first love interest was to be her childhood friend (shock factor) and back then she had more of an open mind as opposed to her now stubborn self. The me of ten years ago could never have guessed how much she and her cast would change.
Despite the differences, I tried to make sure that I followed the original plan – people with the ability to turn into animals. Werewolves were most certainly out of the question, as I had intentions of writing a future trilogy (which is still within reach – it has potential) so I went with shape shifters. The character of Lesley has technically been one of the few things that haven’t changed – her fate has stayed the same across all versions. Maya, Brodie, Jason and Jenna were all in the original version with different names and they were all shifters. The difference became obvious when I discovered I liked writing the interesting plot twists and surprises, that included killing off beloved characters that I’ve learned to love. I never would have done this in roleplaying, and I never would have guessed how much I love the characters that had grown to be my own.
But in the end, while Rising Winds never became the success that I dreamed of, I’m glad that Reflection of Fire was able to take this place. Ten years has gone by so fast and I know for a fact that I would never be here if it wasn’t for those early stories that lifted me up.
If I were to advise anyone about writing, if you finish your story but find it off – rewrite it. Just remember you are not writing to please everyone. Writing is the one industry you’re allowed to be selfish because I can tell you that someone will like it, even if it’s 1 person in 1 000 000. I couldn’t count the amount of times when I had to rewrite my stories simply because it wasn’t right. I’ll casually ignore the virus deletes… those were dark days my friends.
Even now, I’m finally finishing off the series. My final book, Pride of the Light, has literally been the hardest thing to write not because I am terrible with closing, but because I have to say goodbye to the characters that have been with me for ten years.
Annalise is the author of the Sacred Stone books
Visit Annalise’s bio here