The story that appears in the Epsilon series is one that has gone through a dozen iterations–and at least as many starting points. It’s a universe that I have been working in for the majority of my writing life, though the first draft of Epsilon (back then, a single volume unto itself) was something I started back in 1996, back when I was a wide-eyed student at a suburban high school. A lot’s changed since then, not the least of which being the story of Epsilon.
The original draft started with Aaron, as the curren series does, but it started well before the events of Broken Stars. In fact, the period of Broken Stars was something I had never explored until I was starting and re-starting the third draft of Epsilon (still, at that time, a single volume that would encompass the material that eventually became Broken Stars told from Aaron’s point of view and then subsequent events from Caren Flannery’s point of view). Epsilon draft one encompassed an entire war–a very simplistic war, but a war nonetheless–and roughly four years of time in 62,000 words written over thirty-six months of my college career. By comparison, Broken Stars comes in almost 20,000 words longer and doesn’t even cover six months of time.
Currently, I’m working on the second book of the series, Redeemer, a story that I didn’t even know I had in me until after I’d written what became Broken Stars. Initially, from the end of Broken Stars, there was going to be a gap of three years, then the story was going to pick up again from Caren Flannery’s point of view (it was a holdover from previous drafts–one of those “darlings” that writers are often encouraged to kill), all in one book. It was the summer of 2011 and I had been reading more and more about the indie and self-publishing revolution, and I made the decision by the turn of autumn to split Epsilon into a larger series than I’d intended. As I sat down to begin writing what was then the second book, Shattered, I began to realize that there was a lot of story that I was going to miss out on telling if I moved forward with my intial plans. In sitting down to write Redeemer, though, I’ve ripped the guts out of some old darlings from previous drafts of Caren and Aaron’s story.
For instance, over the course of every previous draft of Epsilon, a major backstory point was that during the years (and yes, it’s years) when Caren couldn’t remember who she was, Aaron avoided her, almost alienated her. This is in stark contrast to what occurs in Redeemer.
Spoilers below the cut.
Continue reading “Killing the darlings: Epsilon universe ramblings”