Sally Odgers shares the evolution of a YA series over numerous iterations influenced by changing editors, publishers and formats over many years - and how the work not only comes to fruition but also becomes more finely crafted in the process.
Back in the late 1990s, I won a residency at the Writers’ Centre in Wagga Wagga. I had three weeks to work on a science fiction series for teenagers, set hundreds of years after a spaceship crashed into the planet Elydia. Only children and teenagers survived, so the new colony took some very odd turns. I moved in and set to, holding workshops by day and typing furiously on the Centre’s computer by night. I clocked up about 10,000 words a night.
By the end, I had two whole books, The Millichancer and Dryad’s Well written and half of another Piper’s Dream, but I’d overstrained my tendons and had to stop. A decade or so later, I told an editor about my project. She asked me to pitch it “younger” and to make it into one book instead of a series… at least, initially. I decided to write a younger prequel and pitched that. We were all set, I thought, when the editor left the company and the niche closed. Again I put aside my cherished series.
Fast-forward a few more years. Mum died and I wanted a project to love. I pitched the series to a new publisher, and started again. I meant to write 30,000 words dealing with the crash and the birth of the new colony. 120K later, the editor explained the pricing of ebooks and asked me to make the book into three. These were published as Elysian Dawn, The Silvering and New Dreams. I hope to write the next three, Rachel Outward Bound, The Hundredtree and Flotsam soon.
|The first 3 titles in the Elydian Dawn series by Sally Odgers|
The books I wrote in Wagga, after a lot of rewriting, will be rather late in the series. The reading age of the first book is pitched to high school and above, so I suppose it’s a crossover. And you know what? I think these are some of the best books I’ve ever written. Writing is a skill that keeps on developing… as long as my tendons hold out.
Visit the Elydian Dawn website to find out more about this fascinating series
Sally lives inn NW Tasmania with her husband and multiple dogs. Her writing career has spanned 40 years with around 400 titles published - including children’s books, YA, crossover, romance, photo verse and how-to books for writer. Sally holds workshops and author talks and runs a manuscript assessment and editing service.W: https://sallybyname.weebly.com
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