In 2012 I was living in Seattle and trying to supplement my part-time job with some freelance writing. One of the things I contracted to write was a personalizable novel for a European company called PersonalNOVEL that allowed readers to change details like names and places in order to personalize them to their own specifications.
Because I wasn’t getting paid big bucks and therefore didn’t want to spend a lot of time getting the job done, I pitched them three potential plots based on old ideas that I had already written or at least started but that never went further than that.
The idea they selected became Through the Dark, which was based on a complete novel I had written almost thirty years earlier. The original manuscript itself was actually in storage in Illinois so I tried to recreate it from memory since I was not able to edit the original story itself. I put the title out under my pseudonym of Deb Donahue because it was quite a different style from my Debra Borys novels and short stories.
The result was a decent book, I think; they liked it anyway, and paid me for it. I even eventually self-published the same book as Eyes at the Window for U.S. readers. When I moved back to Illinois, however, and got my things out of storage, I reread the original manuscript and realized how different the published version was from my original intent. While the three main characters were basically the same and had the same motives, I’d completely forgotten that I had used a fourth point of view character which added a whole different set of complications to the plot.
In addition, the character’s personalities were quite different in the two versions, and there were key scenes missing that provided depth and added action. The original story, in fact, was different enough from what got published that I have decided it is worth rewriting to publish under my real name, adding that dark suspense flavor you can find in my other Borys books.
It will be fun to compare the three versions of a story that was sparked by the same kernel of an idea. I’m going to post comparison excerpts here from time to time to show the evolution of the idea from concept to remembered to revised. If you are curious to see how one story can be written three different ways, I hope you’ll check back each week to see what I’ve done with the piece.