Friday, April 30, 2010

Exile Chapter 11 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 11, and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter pretty much doubled in size, and nearly all of it is filling in descriptions and filling in details about the world in general. And as always I changed a lot of the sentance and paragraph structure to make it easier to read. I swear I must have been high (figuratively) when I wrote some of this the first time around, some of these sentences are completely uninteligible.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 134,373 words.

That's over a 17,000 word difference.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Exile Chapter 10 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 10 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This is a very long chapter, made more so by my editing, and there was really nowhere that I could cut it into pieces to make it shorter. Not very much has changed at all in this chapter because the majority of it is dialogue, and most of the dilogue that I've wrote out in the first draft needed few changes to it.

Something I try to keep away from is dumping a gigantic history lesson of the world I'm creating on top of the reader in my stories. Though it's usually fascinating to me to know the origins of everything in the world, it gets rather boring for other people. However, with this chapter I felt I needed to tell the story of the Demon Queen Marael, because it sort of bridges some gaps between this story and both Beyond the Lost Horizon, and Heretic Twilight (which I have not yet written, but have planned out). You see how everything is connected, not by common characters and such as a normal series might be, but by the evil entity of the Dark God. Even though these stories have not been written/completed yet, they will be eventully, and I wanted something that would prove an interesting bit of back story in this book as a stand alone, as well as tie all the others that come before it in the storyline together. Plus, you get to see how one act that, at the time will seem like a triumph, can turn out to be a horrible mistake that costs the lives of many people. I think that the story of Marael is interesting and relevant enough, and the setting and way it is told in this chapter, that I'll be forgiven for breaking one of the cardinal rules of writing epic fantasy. Most fantasy writers do it once or twice in their careers anyway, so no biggie... I hope.

I suppose I should give a bit of a spoiler warning, one event at the end of book three of the beyond the lost horizon trilogy is given away, and pretty much the entire basic storyline of Heretic Twilight is given in a nutshell. In my opinion reading these will not ruin those stories for you (and it will likely be a very long time before I get around to writing them anyway, so it's hardly very iportant anyway).

Also, something you might find interesting. I went on an LDS mission in 2002, and that was about the time I started to put together the story of Heretic Twilight. It was somewhat influenced by the release of Star Wars Episode 2 a few months earlier. During my mission I had this story coming together in the back of my mind in my free time, and when I got home the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI came out. I named my character in that game Marael, after the lead character in Heretic Twilight. It was not until a year or two later that I got the idea for Beyond the Lost Horizon (influenced by the anime Orphen btw, though I'm pretty sure it ended up nothing like Orphen in the end, especially when you take books 2 and 3 into account) and began tying it in to my gigantic mental timeline. I chose to write that one first because it was less complicated and at that time I was still struggling to learn how to write (evidenced by the fact that it took me an entire five years from the day that I started it to the day the final draft of Beyond the Lost Horizon was completed) so a less complicated story was preferable to a more complicated one that I might ruin with my lack of skill.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 133,165 words.

That is almost a 16,000 word difference in what were just the first four chapters of the first draft. That is the equivilant of 4 added chapters, and over 25 single spaced 12 point font pages.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Exile Chapter 9 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 9 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

So yeah, day off, if you couldn't tell. Getting a lot of editing done today. With this chapter I've finished up what was chapter 3 of the first draft. Mostly the changes made were stentance and paragraph structure, with a few other things added in to fill in holes that were left in the first draft. Nothing really huge to note.

One interesting thing, is that the chapter title is a sort of parody of a japanese book series that I read translations on the internet of called Spice and Wolf, about wolf god in the form of a young girl with wolf ears and a tail, and a merchant teaming up for their own reasons and making their way through the world. Each individual book was called "Wolf and --insert what happens in book here--" There is an anime series based on the book series, but I never watched it. The episode titles are like the book titles with the "Wolf and" part. It was a pretty entertaining story, so I thought I'd give a nod toward that series with "Wolf and Village Thatcher" as the chapter title.

Also an interesting thing to note about my writing in general, not just this story, is where I get my names for towns, villages and cities. I'm a mailman, and I fill in for other carriers on their days off, so I do many different routes instead of just one every day. In the city of West Jordan, there are a whole lot of interesting street names, and every single town, village, or city in every story I've written since I started that job 8 years ago has been named after one of those streets.

The first draft ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 131,995 words.

That's pretty close to 15,000 words that I've added in what was just the prologue and first three chapters alone.

Exile Chapter 8 Rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile chapter 8 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter has also changed significantly, however, not so much as the one before it. The general structure of this chapter remains unchanged, as well as the main converstation points. I've added a few things about Silmera's past to make her a more rounded and three dimensional character, as well as more on her motivation and her plans for the Exile bloodline. You need to care about her, and sympathize with her for the ending to have any emotional impact on you at all. In the first draft, who and what Silmera is was veiled and unclear. I thought I was being mysterious with her, but looking back it was a really stupid move. Your main characters and the motives that drive them to do the things that they do should never be a complete mystery to the reader, except in the case where they a mystery to the character as well. She needs to become a more detailed character for this story to be any good, so I'm doing a lot of shoring up her character early in the story so there's a broad foundation for her motives and actions later on.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft of this story is now at 130,979 words.

That's nearly a 14,000 word difference so far, and I have pretty much only just begun.

Exile Chapter 7 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 7 and you can download it at the bottom of thi page.

This chapter has been almost entirely rewritten. There are several reasons for this. First, because Silmera was a rather one dimensional character in the first draft I wanted to give her more depth and motivation, hence her quest to prove that she is not the monster that her mother was. Also, she came to the Hidden Valley in the first draft with no real plan of action beyond find the boy and the Wizard. That is not how Silmera thinks. She likes to plan things through carefully, because she does not like unexpected consequences. She is often inpulsive, and she sees the damage that not thinking things through can do. Plus it's been fourteen years. Even the worst planner would have come up with SOMETHING at least, after fourteen years.

There was also a large section of this chapter where Silmera looks into a mirror so I can give you a physical description. It was really long and pointless. Also, one thing I've realized is that when a person looks into a mirror, they see themselves, and nothing more. THey don't sit there and describe themselves feature by feature, because they've seen themselves a thousand times a thousand times, and don't need to. There's two ways to get around this, either describe them through someone else's eyes (which I already did) or give subtle hints, like the habit of constantly brushing hair out of her face to indicate it's long and unruly, or having her place a hand on her flat hard belly to indicate that she is both thin and muscular. etc.

Also, Silmera has very low self-esteem. She believes in herself as a warrior, but not as a woman. She doesn't think of herself as attractive, and assumes that no one else does because of that. Now, I'm far from an expert on women, but one thing I've noticed is that if a woman believes herself attractive, she thinks that everyone else must see her as such as well, and if she believes herself unattractive, then anyone telling her otherwise is lying to make her feel better, or patronize her in some way. Silmera finds herself unattractive to the point of almost wishing she wasn't a woman at all, and she doesn't see how anyone could ever find her beautiful like she used to be when she was a child. She avoids looking into mirrors because she doesn't want to be reminded of the fact that she thinks herself ugly. She has some serious insecurity issues, and that never really came out in the first draft.

You may have also noticed that I am chopping most of these chapters up into smaller pieces. All of the chapters were gigantic before, and editing them is making them even bigger, so I'm dividing them into pieces at places where I feel a chapter break would not go amiss.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft of this story is currently at 128,787 words.

That's nearly an 11,500 word difference, and I just started what was chapter 3 of the first draft. To give an idea of how much 11,500 words is, that is the equivilant of 20 single spaced pages at 12 point font. I've added 20 pages to the first 3 chapters of the first draft.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Exile Chapters 5&6 rewrites

I've finished the second drafts of Exile chapters 5 and 6 and they can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Again, not much has changed beyond sentance and paragraph structure in these chapters, though a lot of missing description has been added to the village and people. I did cut out some of the character introduction work I did in the first draft for Mal and Lilia as I already introduced these characters earlier in the current draft.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is now at 126,688 words.

That is a 9300 word difference so far.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Exile Chapter 4 rewrites

The next chapter of the second draft of Exile can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is new to this draft of the story. I felt that I needed to introduce Malcolm and Lilia in a diferent way, and better show how torn Mal is over what he's going to do to pay the bills and care for his ailing father. Also, I wanted to better tie it in with Silmera's storyline, so I added this little introversive introductory part to say here's Mal, these are his problems, and this is happening at the same time that Silmera is fighting for her life in the forest below the pass.

I also wanted to have a chapter of Silmera returning to the place that she grew up. She was not born in Zion or the Hidden Valley, but she spent most of the first twenty years of her life there, during the last days of the war and afterward. She was born in Avalon shortly before the fall of Asgard, capitol of the what the people now call the Old Kingdom, and stolen away from the Demon Queen Marael by the Oracle, whom I've only mentioned once so far in the story. Oddly enough, the kidnapping happened on the night of the Exile's Moon, then called the Demon Moon, because that is the only time that the Oracle can take on physical form. Of course this is all just back story that i've come with up to explain the world and everything in my notes for this story. Most of it will never actually make it into the finished project. I have plans of eventually writing this back story out, but it will be far in the future when I am able to get to it.

One thing that i've learned not to do is dump a huge history lesson on the reader. It's usually boring and superfluous. However, I wanted to get a bit of the back story of the War of Zion, the Hidden Valley, and the Exiles into the story near the beginning, because, while not really vital to the story, they make it a little more full and rounded. So, what better way to give these elements of the plot than from the memory of a thousand year old demon wolf? Plus, I never did really explain much about the Exiles and who they're descended from and why they're called Exiles in the first draft, and I wanted to remedy that oversight.

One other thing I wanted to add in earlier in the story was an explanation of Leypoints and the effects they have on magic. I didn't get that in until about a third of the way through in the previous draft and as I read through I was like, well this is dumb, how could this guy not have been found yet, I need to explain this more.

So anyway, this chapter was added to bascially fill a lot of the gaps in the plot in the early portion of the story, and I think it does its job pretty well, without pounding you over the head with my worldbuilding and infodumping.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 124,895 words.

I've basically only gotten past the prologue and first chapter of the first draft and I've already added over 7500 words. Man, that first draft was REALLY crappy. It's going to be a lot of work, but I think I might actually be able to make something presentable out of this story.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Exile Chapter 3 rewrite

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 3 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Not much really changed in this chapter, mostly it was just rearranging the wording of sentances and paragraph structure. Generally I just went through and started ore paragraphs/sentences with action words, and made everything more coherrant.

Also, one thing to note is that this chapter takes place 14 years after the chapter before it. I've used a common, recurring event to bridge the space between them. That way, even though it's been 14 years, and clearly so, it still seems like it's the same night. Sneeeeeeeaky.

The first draft ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 121,608 words.

The second draft may end up at half again the length of the first at this rate. There are still a few chapters that don't even exist in the first draft I plan to add (including the next chapter), as well as several things that need a heck of a lot of fleshing out later on.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Exile Chapter 2 rewrite

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 2 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is the last part of what was the prologue in the first draft. I've made some significant changes to this chapter from the original, mostly having to do with the character Silmera's role, which explains a little more about her character sooner, and explains a certain even that is of importance later in the story. Also I've done some more rearranging of sentance and paragraph structure to make it more readable and such as well, along with some better description for character appearances and settings and the like.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The Second draft is currently at 120,829 words.

So yeah, in just what was the prologue of the first draft alone I've added 3500 words, which is about the equivilant of an entire chapter. If that doesn't show you how much work this story needs to make it readable, nothig will haha.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Exile Chapter 1 rewrite

Done with the first chapter of the second draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is the second section of the prologue of the first draft. Mostly I added some greater details and more description to the world, and changed some of the sentance and paragraph structure to have things starting off with action words rather than nouns and pronouns.

The First draft finished at 117,352 words.
The Second Draft is now at 118,250 words.

In just two chapters I've added almost a thousand words already. If you were to look at the two drafts side by side, though they basically tell the same story they're very different from each other.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Exile Prologue Edits

I started work on the second draft of Exile. Unfortunately, it's actually a bigger mess than I was thinking it was. The prologue, while way too long, is actually the part of the story that needed the least editing.

I've split the prologue up, because of the length, and it will now be three or four chapters when I'm completely finished with it. The revised prologue can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This new prologue is about the first third of the original prologue, with several sections rewritten completely, and a some of the wording changed in others. I've added a few paragraphs here and there to better describe the landscape and such. I took out a big chunk of info that the character Narra reminisces about, because that's kinda boring to read, and spread it around a bit a sentance here, and thought there, etc. I also have made up new terms for certain things, and began adding these to the story here.

The first draft was 117,352 words in length.
The current second draft is 117,719 words in length.

The way I revise is I first read through the story completely from start to finish, and while I'm doing that I take notes on what needs to be changed. Then I make a copy of the last draft, and then read through again, chapter by chapter, changing things that need to be changed, adding things, and rearranging things as I go along. Other than not starting over from scratch, this also gives me a good way to track my progress in that I can compare word counts. As you can see, with just the first chunk of the original prologue edited the story has already expanded nearly 400 words.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spires of Infinity Chapter 45 and Epilogue

So I called in sick today, because I REALLY needed a day off this week, and I spent the day writing. I've finished the first draft of Spires of Infinity Chapter 45 and the Epilogue. They can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. I have also uploaded a file of the entire first draft if you would prefer to grab that rather than individual chapters. The full first draft includes several small edits that I've made while writing that are not present in the individual chapters.

In this chapter the battle ends, the paradox hits, and all loose ends are tied up. In the epilogue I make the ending a little ambiguous. I did this on purpose. Sometime in the future I may want to write more about these characters and this universe, so I'm giving myself an in for that, without actually really saying that the story isn't over. A lot of writers do this, it's kind of a way of saying that life will go on for the characters even if the books don't. This epilogue is basically an alternate prologue that I wrote for this story that I dicided would better serve things at the end rather than the beginning. I've done some editing to make it fit at the end.

The first draft ended at 166,888 words. That's almost 47k more than I originally expected. Over the next two or three drafts the count will probably swell to something near 200k, and in the final draft I'm going to try to condense it down to 150k.

Now that the first draft is completed I find that it's better to move on for a few weeks and work on something else before coming back and beginning the work of editing and rewriting. I plan to begin editing work on Exile next. Once I've finished the second draft of that I'll return to Spires of Infinity.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


sooooo muuuuuuch wooooooooork *dies*

So yeah, at work we had two people quit and three people decide to go on vacation this week, which means I'm delivering 2 routes every day this week, which means I'd rather come home and sleep than come home and write. Which sucks because i'm so close to finishing the first draft of Spires of Infinity. Oh well, I'll get to it next week.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spires of Infinity Chapter 44

I've finished and uploaded the first draft of Spires of Infinity Chater 44 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is the battle between the outnumbered defenders of the Spires of Infinity and the Apostle's army. It's also Kari's Climax/resolution. Again, as with the other two characters whose viewpoints are used to tell this story the climax is more of an internal sort of thing. Kari triumphs over a darkness that has been eating her away on the inside.

This was a bit of a hard chapter to write, because the protagonist (Kari in this chapter) must either convert, or completely destroy the antagonist, which is the Apostle. However, she CAN'T do either of those as it will ruin Gabriel's triumph over her which we already saw a couple chapters ago. This event has not happened yet for Kari and the Apostle, but it has for Gabriel. They are in the girls' future but Gabriel's past. Even though those events came earlier in the story itself, they haven't happened yet for Kari. (Isn't time travel fun?) So I had to give her an enemy that she COULD defeat, rather than one she had to let get away, and that enemy was herself. Unfortunately, I haven't built this up very much in this draft, and so it seems like what it is, something I thought of at the last moment to fix a problem with the plot that I didn't see before I got to it. In later drafts I will be adding bits about her insecurities and over protectiveness and fears so that it can become an actual tangible entity that she will have to defeat. Also with this chapter I had to invent a new power for the Apostle, but it goes with the others I've already given her. She can make people see their greatest fears, and force them to face what they hate about themselves. But, as this is only the first of 4-6 drafts or so, I'm allowed to have huge gaping holes in the plot and make crap up as I go along.

The first draft of this story is now at 161,430 words out of an estimated 170,000. There is only one chapter left and an epilogue and the first draft is finished. I'll probably end below 170k, but we'll see. The only thing left is letting the paradox hit and tying up loose ends.

Spires of Infinity Chapter 43

I've finished the first draft of Spires of Infinity Chapter 43 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This is a short chapter that I kinda just tossed in to better explain what is actullay going on, and recap a bit on what is going on with Kari, as she's been absent for about 8 chapters now. THere's a bit of action at the end of the chapter that will be carrying on into the next one, but other than that, I was basically explaining the messed up nature of a timeline that a time traveler has meddled with through the guise of the characters not understanding and needing explanations.

The first draft of this story is now at 157, 251 words out of an estimated 170,000.