Crafting a Story of Mine

My son loves Minecraft. He loves it so much, he used his allowance to buy a picture-free Minecraft-themed chapter book from the school’s book fair. We’ve read it twice. It’s terrible. The plot is nonsensical, everything is telling, and the characters flip without a believable reason.

Last night, my son proposed we read it for a third time. I suggested we do one better and write a Minecraft story just for him. I pulled out my notebook, interrogated my son on what he wanted, and so far, this is what I’ve got:

Steve must find the orange diamond that gives him the power of a good wither to rescue his armored dog, Star, from a cage guarded by an iron golem. He’ll face skeletons and withers to accomplish his goal and save the day.

My daughter caught wind of our planning, exclaimed “I want to do that too!”, and set off to find her own notebook. When I found her camped out in my bedroom planning, she told me she was figuring out all the characters in her book. Considering she’s spent years watching me draw and map out my characters, this isn’t surprising. But I, having a MASSIVE cast of characters of my own, said, “your characters should serve a purpose in the story, otherwise you shouldn’t include them.”

Numerous characters never made it past the early drafts of Isto. There was Mae the elemental, Peter’s dad, and a village of Lasitans. Then the first shifting of timeline came around, and we lost Terrance, Glider, and the Tolvern family. Ocher disappeared too and her role was given to Huntress, who evaded the cut and appears in the current draft. As I worked to clear up some of the overwhelming factors of my prologue, Phillip and his three daughters left the scene.

I cut another character with the second timeline shift. Zinnia carried over from Thanmir War. As I reworked the later chapters, I couldn’t find a way for her to gracefully exit my scene without injury, so I removed her. And as I reread an early chapter, I realized she read like an author-intrusive device to deliver information about another character. *sigh* She does still appear in a fever dream for a total of three sentences, but she’s unnamed.

I don’t know if Zinnia will be back for later books. But I do know something…

I finished my Isto rewrites!!! WOOT! Now it’s removing unnecessary words, finding forgotten words, and making sure all my changes actually make sense. On the side, I’ll be laying out a new Minecraft-themed story for my son. It’ll be interesting. I’ve never written with a 6-year-old audience in mind. He wants pictures too, so we’ll see how that works out.

Do you tend to build up a large cast of characters? Have you ever cut a character you liked? Has reading something terrible inspired you to write something better?

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

16 thoughts on “Crafting a Story of Mine

  1. Sarah Brentyn

    That sounds fun (the writing of the Minecraft book–not so much the reading a bad book). Anyway… Congrats on finishing Isto!

  2. Congratulations, pretty cool too.

  3. Woot! So excited and proud of you, Loni!!! And look at your babies following in their mama’s footsteps 🙂

  4. I think the majority of my stories began after reading or watching something else horrible. I don’t want to rewrite, but I think of how the story should have gone. Even good stories that went in a direction I didn’t like are fair game. You might have a side career as a kid’s writer with this 🙂

  5. Congrats on finishing your rewrites! My cast of characters tend to be small. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had to cut a character, actually.

  6. You found the key as to what excites your kids about writing. Run with it.

  7. Awesome that you are writing a Minecraft book for/with your son. Sounds like a great way to get him excited about writing.

  8. Love the idea of you and your kids writing together! Better stock up on notebooks for all those characters and ideas. 🙂

  9. I like big stories, but I often get confused with a large cast of characters. When my wife and I watch a movie I frequently get confused by who’s who and what they’re doing. I’ll often ask my wife, “Who’s that person?” And since she is often as confused as I am about the answer I guess it’s not just me. Or maybe we’re just getting old and foggy-brained.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  10. Congratulations on the rewrites being done!!! Woo Hoo!!

    Enjoy writing with your kids. Nothing I write intrigues mine. I tried to do a pirate story and it kept becoming a romance.

    My first book was such a mess and never saw the printed page. My second book, I told myself to imagine it was a movie and I had to pay extra per actor, what characters could be combined or utilized to move the plot without creating a new character. That helped me end the profusion of new people that even confused me as the writer of the story.

  11. That sounds like fun!

    I have a HUGE amount of characters, but many of them just show up in one book and then are no longer important (or else get killed. I do lots of killing in vampire wars.) But, yeah, I’ve cut some out. Herrick was one who got cut because it streamlined it to have a different character in his place. I did go back later and write a short story about him, though, because his story does weave into the overall narrative, and he figures in Micah’s story.

  12. Congrats on finishing the rewrites.
    I think it’s fun you are writing a Minecraft type story for your son.

  13. Congratulations on finishing the rewrites! That’s awesome.

    One of my first “adult” books had a huge cast of characters, and ended up being a huge mess. I had to go back and rewrite the entire thing from scratch, with fewer POVs. I don’t recommend this, but it did make for a better book.

    What you’re doing for your son is a memory he’ll never forget. It’s a great idea.

  14. Anna

    I do. And then they get merged into each other or deleted depending on where they land. My worldbuilding gets a bit out of hand too. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  15. How fun! When my kids were young enough to still have spelling lists, I started writing a story with them each week that had to use all the spelling words. They would write one sentence, I would write the next, and they would alternate. It was fun, we got to bond, and they aced their spelling tests!

  16. I’m glad Minecraft is inspiring your kids to write, or at least think of stories. Something positive!

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