I recently revised and published the new version to A Chance In Time.
I got an email from someone who didn’t see the point in the revisions I made. Now, the revisions were very minor–something I tried to emphasize to people so they wouldn’t think this was something very different. But I guess some people still thought they were going to get a fresh new tale that wouldn’t resemble the first version.
So I thought I’d take this post to explain how A Chance In Time evolved to the point where it no longer fit in with Meant To Be, which is where it was inspired from. In fact, A Chance In Time evolved to the point where it fits in with my Native American Romance series. This was a recent development, and while writing Brave Beginnings, I gave a couple lead ins into the third book (Bound by Honor, Bound by Love) in the Native Amercian Romance series.
Now while writing Brave Beginnings, I knew something was ‘off’ about A Chance In Time, but I didn’t know what that something was so I unpublished it from Smashwords and took time to let the novella simmer in my brain while I came up with the right way to handle the revision. What I already knew was that the chapter I wrote which intersected with Meant To Be needed to be removed. It no longer had relevance. So that was an easy fix. I deleted that chapter. But then I figured I had to add something to it.
Fast forward a few months and it dawned on me what I needed to do. I kept thinking of A Chance In Time as a separate entity, but what it really is an addition to the Native American Romance series. I wrote A Chance In Time and added a Mandan pregnant woman who later became the main character for the first book (Restoring Hope) in the Native American Romance series. The reason I wrote Restoring Hope was to explain how Woape (aka Martha as I referred to her in A Chance In Time) ended up alone and pregnant with a white man’s child. A lot of people assumed a white man raped her, and I felt the need to vindicate the white man because such was not the case. I knew it but who else would unless I wrote the story?
So I wrote Restoring Hope to fill in the blanks. I had to ‘kill off’ the white man somehow so found a way to do that. In the original mental outline, the white man’s part was supposed to be two chapters and he really was supposed to die, and Woape was supposed to end up with Citlali from her tribe. Okay, so after the first chapter with the white man in it, I fell in love with him and couldn’t kill him. So then I scrambled around to get the scene set up for Woape to intersect Penelope (from A Chance In Time).
This is how Julia, the white man’s sister, came to be. I needed someone who would happily turn Woape over to the Sioux who were pursuing Woape and would ‘kill’ the white man (sorry–his name is Gary). I intended for Julia to be a bad guy through the whole book, but then I realized why she was bitter (and being an older sister who’s younger sibling pretty much always shoved her aside–my little sister thought I was more of a burden than a help and maybe she was right). So I came to sympathize with Julia. This is why I gave Julia the chance to redeem herself in the book. This also expanded the book into a series. Suddenly, I wasn’t looking at a novella for Restoring Hope but a full-length novel.
After Gary’s ‘death’, an Indian named Chogan was introduced to take Woape to the tribe. I had to get Woape traveling because in A Chance In Time, she was found hiding in a train. So Chogan was there to take her out of Sykeston, North Dakota and head her toward Penelope’s place. Then I had to separate Chogan and Woape because Woape was alone. Once I did that, I brought Chogan back to Sykeston and had to do something with him, so I introduced him and Julia to each other, and while they were searching for Gary and Woape, another story idea was born. The two had great chemistry, and I almost ended Restoring Hope with them getting married.
But…I had left Citlali (who Woape was supposed to marry) hanging. So I already knew I’d be doing a second book and then thought, “I really love Julia and Chogan, so why not do their own book as the second one in the series and make Citlali’s story the third one?” And that is why Julia and Chogan could not end up together in book one.
So while writing Julia and Chogan’s story, something bothered me about the original version of A Chance In Time. I knew I had to modify it. As I gave scenes to Citlali and Onawa (who will be the main characters in Bound by Honor, Bound by Love), I realized what the missing piece was. I needed to bring Penelope and Cole back with the Mandan children they adopted at the end of A Chance In Time. The right place to do that was not in Brave Beginnings as I was thinking to do. There was too much already going in in Brave Beginnings. But the door was wide open for Bound by Honor, Bound by Love, and that is where the characters will come back. Penelope and Cole will return the children to their tribe in a willingness to give them up so the children can be happy with the relatives they lost when Hothlepoya (from Restoring Hope) raided the tribe. Yep, I’ll even bring that part back into focus. Kind of cool, huh? I love slipping in stuff like that so the stories end up intertwining in subtle ways.
When I revised A Chance In Time, I realized the characters in Meant To Be (Ted and Blake) had no reason to be in it. They were actually hindering A Chance In Time. So that is why I removed that chapter. Because I removed that chapter, I needed Cole to tell Penelope (and the reader who may not have read Meant To Be) how he ended up in the past and why he decided to stay there. Otherwise, someone who didn’t read Meant To Be will be confused when reading A Chance In Time. Then I made a subtle hint that Penelope and Cole would see Woape again in Bound by Honor, Bound by Love when they talked about seeing her again one day. It was a brief mention and something most people will miss, but being the writer, it’s a crucial point to me.
So yes, the new version of A Chance In Time is no different from the original one in terms of events. But in terms of focus, it is a lot different because now it’s connected up with the Native American Romance series instead of the book Meant To Be.
And this is why I self-publish. When my series evolves, I can modify previously published books to reflect it. I can go back and add a book here or there to connect up more dots and link this book with that, etc. To me, this is a lot of fun. It’s like working with a puzzle.
Oh, and I couldn’t resist another slip in between series. I realized the time frame for Brave Beginnings coincides with Falling In Love With Her Husband, and being that the characters are all in North Dakota, I found a way to give some characters from Falling In Love With Her Husband a brief appearance in Brave Beginnings. 😀