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How My Novel Manuscript Has Changed Over Time, by Onil Lad

Stories change over time. So does the message you put forward and the way you say it.

I look back at some of the short stories that I have written and they make me cringe. They were just reflections of phases I went through trying to find my writing voice.

Did I really write a vampire story and a fable based on a throwaway lyric in a song I was obsessing over? Well, yes I did and they got published. In some ways I wish they hadn’t now.

The novel was always the main dish but even that has succumbed to evolution.

I suppose change for the sake of it is another form of procrastination and there’s the danger of going around in circles forever and never getting anywhere.

Still, I think I’ve finally got something. The content that was originally going to take up the whole novel has now been squeezed into the first ten chapters. The plot moves along at a brisker pace. I’ve come up with fresh ideas to keep the story going instead of continuing with stale concepts. I’ve recently thrown out one-time favourite chapters that no longer fit. This hopefully means that what has come since is better.

If anything, I’ve become more adventurous and I’m prepared to say more. I now see that my best shot at getting published is by being different and taking risks. There’s no point in holding anything back.

Can you change so much that you grow out of the genre you’re writing in?

My latest worry is that my taste for Urban Fantasy will change. I’ve read so many books in this field that I think I’m reaching saturation point. At some stage, I would like to move onto something completely different.

I’ve tried my hand at YA, Sci-Fi and Horror, and started this novel wanting to write Dark Fantasy. What came out was a lot lighter than planned. I realised that I wanted to lift the spirits of readers and tell of the triumph of human endeavour. I used to think that my writing was messed up because I read too many books with happy endings when I was young. Now I see that I’ve not read enough of them. I started out wanting to be a doom monger and now find that I’m an optimist. Change can’t all be bad.

You’ve got to be a top-drawer writer to imagine a story, write an outline, split it into chapters, write thousands of words per day and stick to the plan from start to end.

This is my first novel. I’ve never had such a clear vision, just a concept that sounded good. I’ve had to work out the details as I went along. It’s been a slog and most of the pieces of the puzzle got thrown out along the way. The ones that remain seem to fit well, for now.

It may well be an excuse for not getting things done quicker but change is necessary.  I’m sticking with what I’ve got now, though. I’m happy with the plot and where the story’s at. The end is in sight and it’s getting exciting.


Onil Lad’s bio page


The Indigo SkyPromiseThis Green HellWings of FearWild Card (Vanguard Prime)Royal Exile

Writing Novels in Australia

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Louise Allan #

    Oh, I couldn’t agree more. My novel is now unrecognisable compared to what I started with. As for a plan, I’d cringe if I read that now. How boring and formulaic it was! It’s part of the excitement of writing a novel, isn’t it, for the story to change as you go, to have moments of discovery? And if the writer doesn’t know where the story is going, then the reader can’t either, so it’s exciting for them, too.

    May 28, 2013

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