I save all of my writing, even if I get bored with it or don’t think it will work out. Often I will find myself returning to earlier ideas with new visions for plots, characters, or elements in the magic system. My current project, with the working title The Commanders, is an example of how many times I might have to leave a project alone before going forward.
The Commanders was one of my earliest story ideas, sparked by an image on Pinterest of a man throwing sand into the air. Unfortunately, I can’t find the picture, but my early author brain snapped up the image and got to work. The original story was called Commanders of the Sand, and I was playing with the idea of a sand-based magic system with two main characters. It sat as little more than a six-hundred word writing prompt for a while, not really growing much.
Later I removed the idea of sand. This was before I had even begun reading Brandon Sanderson’s White Sand, but the two systems are very different. I might come back to sand magic at some point, but for The Commanders I began playing with a color-based magic system. Each character had a “base color” and the manifestation of the magic would flash to different colors based on the character’s emotions. Again, this idea was eventually separated out and saved. I got some in-depth worldbuilding done for the original two characters, then abandoned the project a bit to work on something else.
When I returned to the story, there was something nagging at me. The world had four main Centers where the Commanders gathered to train and live, but my two characters only lived at one. What was going on at the other Centers? I resisted the urge to add more characters for a while, but as I tried out some writing exercises the mix of characters from different places was too much fun to resist…So now I have ten main characters.
Last week I finished drafting the first half of Part I of the story, which is basically the introductions of these characters. If I was calculating percentages, I would be a little over 5% through. As you might imagine, ten main characters are quite a lot to handle, but so far so good. I finished this part ahead of my loose schedule, and I hope to finish up the second half of Part I over the holidays.
Writing changes and grows, which is part of the magic. I know that all of my previous works in progress and writing prompts are still waiting for me, waiting for a new spark to set me to work again. Even within a single project, aspects such as characters, settings, plots, and magic systems are constantly shifting and improving. I can’t wait to see where The Commanders takes me.