Today I was cleaning out some old desktop files on my laptop and I found the file where I’d stored all my querying drafts and partial request pages. Hiding in that folder was also the querying version of Nameless, back when it was still called Woman’s World. I gibbered and shivered and squealed.
You guys, I thought I’d lost it. The draft, I mean. 2 harddrive crashes ago I lost the first ever version of Nameless, and gmail decided to mysteriously eat the one where I sent the full manuscript to my agent. I thought this version from all the way back in July of 2008 was something I’d never see again, but it was hiding in this dusty folder all along.
I take this as a good sign from the Universe, because last night I had Ideas! Ideas led to Revelations. Revelations led to scribbling in bed when I was supposed to be sleeping. And it’s pretty much all your guys’ fault.
Readers are still finding me back from the old days on Fictionpress, even all these years later. Lately I’ve had several comments and emails asking about the status of Nameless. One reader really touched my heart when he expressed how dearly he wished I would make at least the old version available. And now the universe hands that old version to me on a silver platter.
Now, don’t get excited. I want to sell this thing one day so I can’t release it to the public again, but I did want to give everyone an update on how I’m feeling about Nameless and what the forecast for it is:
The Official Nameless Update
In April of last year, I told you guys I was just so worn out with trying to make the pieces of this story fit together. Just a few months later I announced I’d had a very interesting new idea for how to restart the story, but my progress stalled out again. Even with a new beginning, I still had this problem with the plot of the last half of the book, and how to fix it or trash it entirely to make it fit for YA.
The problem, of course, was how attached I was to the plot of the ending, and how much sense it made, and how it brought the entire story (including the prequel) full circle. But to keep the ending I had to keep the middle. But I couldn’t keep the middle, because it was too adult.
I went round in circles this way for some time.
Today I’m pretty sure I have the solution which allows me to keep most of the original plot. Unfortunately, it means giving up on the dream of Nameless being a YA story, and accepting that it’s an adult story, with crossover potential. You guys know I hate to do this, since my audience has always been young people, but I have a feeling this story would jump the barriers for teens who like to read adult fiction.
The SECOND part of my realization is what I’m super excited about, because it’s something that hasn’t been on the table in a few years, but with my new plot ideas I think it’s the only way to really make this work. Are you ready?
Did you feel that? It’s the breath of DESTINY!
For some of my older readers, you might remember how the second book on Fictionpress had alternating points of view for the first half of the story. We saw the Poetess in first person, and Shae in third. That’s a format that stuck with me; I can’t imagine her or him written in anything else. Two points of view would give me a chance to naturally show readers the realities of the slave system, and what it felt like to be a part of it. There’s so much that goes on behind the Poetess’s back now, that part of the reason I struggled last year was how to imply or show it when she herself wasn’t really aware of it.
Ack, I wish I could really dive in and tell you guys all of what I’m thinking, and exactly why multiple POV’s is so exciting because of plot changes. You are going to love it, seriously. So much tension!
The third reason I’m super excited is because how it will work is so clear in my mind, which is pretty rare for me, actually. I can feel the tone and language I’m going to use. Laying in bed there, all of these sentences and openings and tension hooks came to me and I just saw it so tangibly… I want to work out exactly the new plot before I dive in, but I have a feeling (cross your fingers!) the new work is going to just flow out from my fingers.
But all of these realizations came second to what got me started thinking about Nameless that night, which was its prequel, Cuaranth.
An Update on Cuaranth
Cuaranth (kwor-anth) was never posted on FictionPress (though it is a term I used in the original trilogy), so it’s okay if you’re scratching your head and wondering what I’m talking about. Cuaranth tells the story of how the world in Nameless came to be, through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Siddalee St. Clair. That name might mean something to older readers.
In Nameless we see an abbreviated version of how their society and the slave system started, basically by the Poetess reading the diary of Siddalee and summarizing it to the reader. It was always my intention to go back and write Sidda’s actual story because it’s a pretty cool one. But I held off because if Nameless never worked out, then there was really no point to Cuaranth.
The weird thing about Cuaranth is how I held the entire story in my mind, but never really wrote any of it. So there I was, trying to sleep, and then Sidda loomed out of the shadows and presented herself, full grown and just waiting for her story to be written down.
Something I have often lamented is that I had the idea for Nameless too young. I just didn’t have enough life experience, or the writing talent and insight, to really give it the treatment it deserved. Cuaranth was the same way. Except suddenly I knew how to write it; what it would feel and sound like. How to handle everything that happens to Siddalee, and effectively communicate the neuroses of everyone around her.
This fills me with great relief and contentment. Details of the plot I’d never thought of before surfaced, and so I’m ready to start work on that story, too.
Where This Leaves Us
As soon as I get ACORAS back from my agent it will become my first priority. But I guess Nameless and Cuaranth are now my second ones. Boy is that weird to say. It’s been a long, long time, you guys.
Thank you for staying with me and waiting for my subconscious to work everything out. The wait will be worth it, I promise.