Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The Broken Brick Road

8:30 AM Posted by Tara 2 comments
I have long wanted to write a retelling of a classic story, and last year, I finally took the plunge with The Wizard of Oz. But instead of simply putting my own spin on Dorothy's adventure, I decided to shift my focus to her daughter. What would life be like for a girl whose mother was convinced she had traveled to a magical land over the rainbow? What would happen when that girl discovered Oz was real? And what if it wasn't the wonderful place her mother had told her it was?

These questions, and a few thousand others, gave rise to The Broken Brick Road.

Meredith Gale never believed her mother's stories of Oz. They were only the twisted fantasies of an addled mind, delusions of witches and wizards, of yellow brick roads and ruby slippers. But when Dorothy's desperation to get back to Oz takes a deadly turn, Meredith chases her into a storm, and is whisked away in a tornado.

The sinister world in which she wakes is a far cry from her mother's wonderful and whimsical Oz. Munchkins wield fangs instead of songs. The Emerald City is a foul gutter of slave labor and black markets. The line between magic and science is blurred. And there is no such thing as a good witch.

Surrounded by danger at every turn, Meredith gathers a band of misfit allies—an engine hacker running from memories of his past, an escaped slave ashamed of his unnatural boldness, and a Tin Man who inexplicably has a heart—to help her find the Wizard, and a way back home. But with the Wizard trapped under Glinda's spell, Meredith's only hope is to kill the witch, and end her tyrannical reign over Oz.

Though I crossed the finish line with a little over 50,000 words, the story was nowhere close to being done. Not only had I not touched the final act at all, but I knew that a lot of what I had written would need to be heavily revised. But I liked the skeleton I had built, and I didn't want it to sit in the corner collecting dust, like so many of my other unfinished manuscripts.

I spent the first few months of 2015 working behind the curtain, if you will, of this novel. I gave my outline a complete overhaul, cutting up and reorganizing existing scenes and adding several new ones; I wrote more detailed character profiles than I ever have before, which gave much greater depth and dimension to my characters; I put a lot of thought into the story's theme and symbolism, and my characters' internal arcs. And I grew ever more confident that there was true potential in this book, and ever more determined to see it through to the end. And so, I've decided to devote this November to writing 50,000 new words towards the second draft of The Broken Brick Road.

This will be my seventh time participating in Nanowrimo, but I expect it will be a new experience for me, as it will be the first time I've spent November revising and continuing a work in progress instead of starting from scratch. I have to admit, I'm going to miss the rush of writing a new novel, of raking up a pile of ideas and jumping right into the middle. But I'm looking forward to making a more focused and meaningful effort this year... even though I'll still be writing with abandon. After all, it isn't really Nanowrimo unless you make a mess.

Have you ever continued a work in progress for Nanowrimo? I'd love to hear about your experience!


  1. I can't wait for you to finish this story and for it to hit shelves. I will be buying a few copies of it for myself, my daughter, and a couple of my friends. Not only are we a fan of The Wizard of Oz, but we are also lovers of Wicked. Another story would be a great addition to my collection!

    1. Wow, thank you so much! Hopefully it will hit shelves someday!