Friday, May 1, 2015

Behind the Scenes: DROPPED STORY CONCEPTS

Now that I'm one week away from finishing my first semester back in art school, I wanted to try and get back to blogging. One thing I've really wanted to blog about was my initial story ideas for Ebon City and the changes I've made throughout the writing process. I want to point out that the endings described below are concepts that will not be included within the final drafts of the Ebon City novels. So I don't feel a need to leave a spoiler warning, although it is possible these ideas might inspire similar concepts in future installments of the Ebon City series.

First Iteration (circa 2001):

My initial concept for Ebon City was an anthology series, each book focusing on a different cast of characters and monsters, all set within the same supernatural city. No characters featured in one book were going to factor into another book until a crossover in the final novel. One book would have focused on vampires with Ezekiel Blake as the main character. Honorato Leite (originally named Emilio Leite) and Angela Thorn (originally named Angela Montague) would have served as the main characters for a book focusing on sorcerers. Ghosts would have been the main focus of another book, therianthropes in yet another book . . . and you get the idea. Ezekiel was going to die tragically in the final novel, impaled through the heart while fighting his creator Vlad Tepes and callously left to rot on the battlefield.

I scrapped this anthology idea pretty early on because I developed a fondness for Ezekiel and wanted him to remain in the story throughout all the novels. So I altered the premise to focus on Ezekiel and used the other story ideas to supplement Ezekiel's adventures.

Second Iteration (circa 2001-2002):

Once I decided to merge my anthology concepts into a single storyline, I brought Angela and Emilio into the first book. Originally, Angela and Emilio were going to fall in love with each other, and Ezekiel was going to take them both under his wing. Angela and Emilio would have both been sorcerers from two separate covens. Angela came from an Italian coven who used fire magic, and Emilio came from a Portuguese coven who used water magic. The covens start out wary of each other, having very contrary temperaments, but would have united to fight the vampires, who are led by Ezekiel's creator Thobias Allemand. The vampires would come to Ebon City to execute Ezekiel for revealing their secrets to humans, but Angela and Emilio would rally the covens to defend their vampiric friend and defeat Thobias. Eventually, Angela and Emilio would have married and had a son, who they would name Zeke in honor of "Uncle" Ezekiel. Ezekiel would find love himself later in the series, though I never got around to conceptualizing his love interest in this iteration. This version of Ebon City would have ended with Ezekiel and his spouse settling down with an adopted son (possibly Zeke, as I was considering having Angela and Emilio die while defending Ezekiel). Ezekiel lives on to help rear the descendants of his adopted child.

I then started playing around with the idea of having Angela and Ezekiel fall in love instead of Angela and Emilio. Between the two male leads, I found Ezekiel far more interesting, and if there was going to be a romance, I wanted it to focus on a character I was excited about writing.

Third Iteration (circa 2002):

The plot of this iteration was very close to the version that I would finally write. One difference was Ezekiel's backstory. In this iteration, Ezekiel came to America aboard the Mayflower in 1620, only to be turned into a vampire a few months later. The novel was originally going to open with Angela being attacked in the subway on the night of a blood moon. Ezekiel kills her attacker by drinking his blood, revealing himself to be a vampire before running off. They would officially meet a couple of months later at her uncle's art museum. Angela would have known that Ezekiel was a vampire from the very beginning. I dispensed with the idea of the covens in order to isolate Angela and make her feel a sense of kinship with Ezekiel, who was also alone. Having decided to pair Angela with Ezekiel, I changed Emilio Leite into Angela's cousin and renamed him Angelo Montague. Angelo would have been the son of Corin Montague, Angela's uncle. To better distinguish between AngelO and AngelA, I changed Angela's last name to Engel ("angel" in German), making her Austrian on her father's side (Corin and Angelo would have been Angela's maternal uncle and cousin). It was at this point that I started to write the story.

I won't give away the ending of this iteration, because it's still the ending I currently have planned for the finalized Ebon City novels, and I don't want to spoil that for my readers.

Final Iteration (Circa 2003-2009):

Over the course of about five years, I wrote the first book in the Ebon City series, Death and the Maiden (which was originally going to be titled Ebon City: Blood and Fire). As I wrote, I made the final changes to the plot as it now stands. Not spoiling any major plot points, the changes include Ezekiel being turned into a vampire in Europe instead of America, thus missing his voyage aboard the Mayflower. I also changed Angela's last name to Thorn, because Angela Engel translates to "Angela Angel," which just didn't work. It was for that reason that I also changed Emilio/Angelo's character once again. I realized giving Angela's cousin a gender-swapped version of her own name was going to make things very confusing. Additionally, I didn't really find the relationship between Corin and his son very engaging, not as much as the relationship between Corin and his niece. Angelo just didn't seem to fit in their family, so I instead made him Angela's classmate and closest friend. I reestablished his surname Leite, his Portuguese ancestry, and renamed him Honorato. Corin was also changed from Italian to French, because I learned that Montague was of French origin and not Italian as I initially assumed. And lastly, I changed the beginning of the novel so that Angela doesn't know Ezekiel is a vampire when they first meet. I came to the conclusion that Angela being so accepting of his vampirism right off the bat made her come off as foolish.

I hope you all found this interesting. Please leave a comment. I would love to hear what you guys think.

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