I am starting this year by opening my inner closet and show you the old beginning to Northern Wrath. Unedited, untouched, exactly as it appeared that first day, when I began to write this novel.
This blog post will therefore include slight spoilers for Northern Wrath.
When I was starting to write, I would have loved to see how a published author had begun writing their novel. It wold have served as great inspiration.
That's why I plan on sharing first drafts of pieces that never made it into the published version of Northern Wrath. This is the first. An attempt to share a part of my process with the writing community without holding back.
Much mystery shrouds the craft of writing , and when I was starting out, I was often met with closed doors whenever I had questions about how others went about the craft. The answer was always that each writer has their own way of doing things, and this is true, but it also only part of the story.
Techniques are developed over time. A whole journey of learning unfolds when a writer sits down to write a book. It was then, as I was just starting out, that I decided: if I was ever in a position where I became a published author, I would want to talk about these things and create a space where writers could freely discuss the craft and where their questions would gain honest answers.
I am of the opinion that the more we talk about the craft and show our own improvements, and the more we talk about the techniques we are working to improve in our own writing, the more inclusive the community becomes, especially towards new writers who are just starting out.
I strive to be transparent as a writer, hoping others can learn from my experiences and be inspired by them.
That is why I've embarked on the scary task of showing you an old, unpolished and unedited piece.
What I am about to show you was the very first chapter of Northern Wrath I ever wrote.
I started writing it in September 2013, right before I started my MA in Creative Writing. A month later, excited about what I had written, I brought it into a manuscript workshop and it got absolutely slammed!
Somehow, though, parts of this chapter has survived until the bitter end to be published, granted in a very different format.
When I wrote the following piece I was 20, and had just gained a true interest in pursuing writing, but I knew that there was a lot for me to learn. For one, I was still learning English. I was hopeful about this story though, and I was right to be, because some years later a different version of the same story became my first published novel.
Back in 2013, the story was called "Valhalla". The plot looked quite different from Northern Wrath today, although the overall plan for the series was similar. It was, however, a different book. Much has changed but this... This, is how it all began.
This is an UNEDITED first draft of the first chapter I ever wrote for Northern Wrath.
There will be typos, there will be grammatical errors, and there will be many sentences that make me squirm of embarrassment today. It is a confusing first chapter too, but I think it's meaningful to show the beginning exactly as it was. Because it shows how much had to change for this to turn into the Northern Wrath you know today.
Stories aren't magically born perfect. They need to be reworked, rewritten and improved, but they also need to start somewhere...
Readers of Northern Wrath will recognise that certain pieces of this chapter were readapted, re-written from a different point of view and turned into chapter 2, while other ideas were saved for a Darkness chapter much later in the book.
Character names have since changed. Regnar became Ragnar, Dagny became Gunna, and the name Dagny was recycled for someone else. Place names too have changed, as has the title of Einer's father (King then, and Chief today).
You may also have noticed that in this early version Hilda and Einer were foster siblings. Their relationship became difficult to explain to modern readers because of the modern day connotations, and was removed from the story entirely at a later pass.
The tone here was quite different as well, and this was a loooong chapter.
It was a confusing chapter too, with many characters and with too few paragraphs, making it difficult to understand who did what. Besides, the ending is very odd.... but... in the text something else appears too. Phrases that I invented already back then to give a sense of the Scandinavian voice; phrases which were used in the published book. The characters too are mostly as they were then.
So, while a lot needed to change, there is also the spark of something, which inspired the rest of the trilogy.
In the future I will explore what the stages of change this chapter went through and why. Hopefully it will be a testament to the importance of editing, but for now... for now you know how it all began.