“What’s the main difference between all the different versions of TBSOL?”
That’s the short answer.
The medium-length answer is that it depends which versions you’re comparing. If you’re asking what’s different about the final version and the first one, the answer is everything. If the question is about the final version and the second, then almost everything.
The long answer is a lot more complicated, so I’ll attempt to go into it in list-form, because lists are fun.
(This post assumes you’ve read at least one of the versions and know what TBSOL is. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then this will probably make very little sense and I apologize ahead of time. If it helps, I drew some pictures about TBSOL v2 once explaining what it’s about).
10 Things That Are Different In TBSOL FV
1. This version is more structurally sound than the previous versions, which is maybe only evident to me, but still. It’s nice to know that when I go back to work on the things I need to edit (I haven’t yet applied any of my beta’s comments or even my own notes, and there are a lot of those), I know that I can do it without having to start a brand new version. That’s revolutionary! Imagine a world in which this book finally gets published it… shh… just imagine it…
2. Parts of the plot have been removed — like the filming of Naomi’s movie. That’s coming up in the sequel. Naomi is there, her film is still a thing, and Leigh is still in it. Julianne will still get to fake-bang them both, just not now. That’ll all come later, and will affect Julianne and Kris differently as a result. Drama!
3. Sequel! I wrote v2 so that I would not have to write a sequel, and would’ve had no clue what to write a sequel about after v2 (alien abduction was a tempting mainplot, though). I wrote this new version with the idea for the sequel in mind, which freed me up a lot in terms of word count, and allowed me to focus on Julianne & Kris.
4. More focus on Julianne & Kris. I felt like v2 was too rambly and dragged on a lot because there was so much stuff jammed into it. I had similar issues with v1, in that it just dragged on forever. I really want this version to focus on what’s truly important: Goats.
5. It’s shorter. My goal has always been to keep this version under 150,000 words, which is its own sort of challenge because all previous versions were closer to 200,000 and I like to write a lot. Many scenes have been scrapped, and some scenes I’ve purposely left out and will be adding later (if needed). The novel currently stands at a little over 130,000 words. There’s not a lot left to write, but there’s a lot of work still to do.
6. Technology has evolved a lot since the days of v1, so their long-distance interactions are affected by that. I’ve had to make adjustments to the way they communicate. There’s a lot more texting, and fewer emails, because I wanted this version to be more active. I wanted them to live their lives. I didn’t want them to sit around chapter after chapter composing long emails, as much as I love their long emails, ain’t nobody got time for that. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. It just is. I wanted to write this version the way I would write it now, rather than how I wrote it ten years ago.
Just think, if I end up writing a few more versions, Kris and Julianne will get to communicate via holographic chat.
7. Kris. I wrote a very rambly blog post about Kris 3.0, which I never finished or posted, but it explained a bit about why Kris has changed so much from one version to the next. I’ll get around to finishing it eventually, but the main point of it was that I hated Kris in v1. She was so hard to write because I couldn’t get inside her head. As a result, I found her incredibly flat and boring. People have told me over the years that they really liked v1 Kris, and I’m glad, because I really felt like she was a huge failure of a character, which is, in part, why I wrote v2. But I really love Kris in this version, and I hope other people do, too. She’s more mature, and a little bit more badass, despite still having a lot of the same insecurities she’s always had. Back when I was still writing v2, K asked me one night why it was that Julianne fell for Kris, and I went into complete panic mode, thinking I had failed my entire novel if the answer to that wasn’t obvious. I really hope it’s obvious this time around…
8. Julianne. Julianne has evolved a lot since v1, and I honestly didn’t try to change her too much from where she was in v2, so I’m not really sure how she reads in this version. She’s still a beautiful, molten emocake. I’ve filled in her back story more, because I really want to highlight the differences in her and Kris’ socioeconomic backgrounds. All of that is going to come back eventually, and one of the main reasons I’ve always been terrified to write a sequel has been the question of how to keep these girls together. But that’s a different post. Julianne is still Julianne in this version, I think. Most of what’s different about her is the details about her life and her past and where she is in her career.
9. The secondary characters. They are all there, and they are all more or less the same, but they’re in it a lot less than they were in previous versions. That goes back to what I said before about really wanting this book to be more focused. There are some scenes that I mean to go back and add, though, because I know they’re missing (i.e. post-kiss Leigh reaction scene).
10. Beta team! I wrote this book very differently than I have written books previously. I have an amazing team of 130+ beta readers (comprised of TBSOL v1/v2 lovers and people who have never read a single version of it before) who’ve contributed input along the way, and I am so grateful. The process has been fascinating, enlightening, frightening, and most of all, humbling. I wouldn’t have known to rewrite an entire chapter if I hadn’t had 10 emails in my inbox within 15 minutes of posting it, all explaining why the chapter didn’t work. This forced me to return to the drawing board and try again. There are few things that challenge you more as a writer than having over a hundred strangers watching you stumble your way through your creative process. I don’t know if I’m a better writer as a result, but I’m certainly a better person. I really don’t have the words to express my gratitude. Seriously. I love every single one of you.