I don’t know if I will ever stop talking about An Altered Ending. Maybe that’s a good thing, I dunno, but I do know this: It’s coming back out, and I’ve never been prouder of it.
Why? Because it’s finally the story I wanted to tell.
I originally started writing Altered January 2010. It had been in the incubator for four months with roughly five or six false starts and stops. While Ellen had always been who she is as we know her now: A young twenty something a little lost in life, raised by her single mother, and had a vegetarian diet, those around her had not. Claire, Angela, and Liam were all there in name alone, all of them having shaped and morphed into their final incarnations with each new attempt. And Simon, oh Simon, sexy professor that he is, hadn’t even been conceived until I started writing the first draft. Up until then Ellen’s love interest was a young, blond man from her past. His name was Aaron in every single start, though I never really figured out what he was about. Simon came into the picture when I started thinking of Ellen turning to an old, trusted professor for advice, and all of a sudden I could see her falling in love with him.
The version originally published by Girlebooks back in 2012 wasn’t that different from the first draft. While originally there was zero touching between Ellen and Simon in the past, it became impossible for that to make sense to me. But that wasn’t the only thing that bothered me about it, I just could never quite put my finger on why. By the time I started writing How We Began, An Altered Ending was already in the process of being published. I already learned a lot more about writing, as well as me as a writer, so I knew the first draft of How was horribly flawed despite it being a nearly direct link to it’s inspiration.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is where I really learned how badly thought out some of Altered was. My hands were tied, however, and I had no real way of fixing it. Not without, as I thought, writing a whole new story.
I didn’t like this idea. Okay, that’s a lie, I loved it. But only partly. While I made it a good chunk into the whole new version there was always something off about it. There were scenes I loved and will eventually find a home somewhere, but it felt like a lie. This wasn’t really them, this was Ellen, Simon, and crew playing make believe in another world.
Just as I was lost (as I always get when I’m faced with major writer’s block and lack of direction) Girlebooks ceased their author program and I was given back my books.
And here we are, months later, and Altered is the story I want it to be after a few simple changes.
Now, seeing as how this is already a long post, I will try to keep the rest brief.
What changed from the original version? A lot, and yet not much at all. It’s five years later instead of six, everything that happens plot wise follows the same line it did previously, it’s mostly in the gap between How We Began and An Altered Ending that’s changed. In fact, here’s the main differences in point form:
- Ellen’s mother has not been sick this whole time. While people can recover from Stage four cancer, it’s highly unlikely. Instead of her being sick from the time Ellen left university, she has only been knowingly sick of a couple of years. This effects other things, of course. Like:
- Ellen and Simon stopped talking for another reason. I won’t get into details, but neither actually abandoned the other in anyway. In fact, they were headed in the right trajectory for a while.
- Donovan is a much more prominent character. Here’s the thing: I loved Donovan. From the moment he was created I wanted him to have his own story. He still might, but he now plays a bigger part in Ellen’s past. The past without Simon.
- Dialogue. Some conversations have changed. This is simply because past events, as well as some current ones, have changed as well.
- Scenes have been cut. It’s all part of editing, and if I didn’t feel the scene was needed it was hacked. On that note, some chapters have been split apart to make them a touch shorter.
I am immensely proud of how this version has turned out. There are no more voices in my head questioning what could have been different. It’s a tremendous relief, and while I love these characters I’m glad to put them to bed once and for all. As I said, some secondary character may get his own story, much in the same vein that Eddie got his, but that won’t be confirmed for a while yet.
If you had read the old version, or purchased it and have yet to read it, e-mail me at megantrennett-at-hotmail-dot-ca with the file attached and I will send you the update FOR FREE!