Sunday, May 30, 2010

Exile Chapter 20 rewrites

I've finished Exile draft 2 chapter 20 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page .

This is another chapter new to draft 2. This chapter takes the place of another chapter in the first draft that i have thrown out as unsalvageable. There have been too many changes to the characters and plot to keep the old chapter, even in part, so I wrote this one to take the place of it. It basically serves the same purpose, bridging a four year gap and letting you know what's been going on in the break. This time I didn't just sit there and summarize the events between this chapter and the last like I did in teh first draft, I just sort of worked the events into the conversation, which is a much better way of doing things in my opinion.

As I said before, four years have passed between this chapter and the one before it. In later drafts I plan to split the story into different parts, each part being a different time period, as this story takes place in four different ones. The first is at the Exile's Moon, the second takes place fourteen years later beginning with the next occurance of the Exile's Moon, the third begins with this chapter, four years after Mal begins training to be the Exile, and the next will be after a several month jump during which Mal is in a coma. There needs to be a more solid break so that the jumps in time periods are not confusing to readers. If you have part one about 14 years ago, then an "end of part one" and part 2 taking up 14 years later, people are probably going to grasp the concept that fourteen years have passed between these two chapters a lot easier.

This chapter deals with Mal's emotional turmoil over losing his father. It's been four years and still he can't let go of the pain. Silmera is very worried for him, but doesn't have much time before she will have to leave him forever. Mal is cold, hard, calloused and distant, thinking only of how he wants to exact revenge upon the Samirreh, and how he can never let go of his pain at the loss of his father, because it would be like letting go of his father too. Silmera manages to find something that get's through to Mal, but the realization of what he's doing wrong, and letting go of his rage are two different things. It will take him a long time, or a great shock, to help him past it. My money is on a great shock, coming, oh, sometime in the next three or four chapters, but then again, I am the writer and already know what's going to happen, so you'd kinda be retarded to bet against me on that. What short of shock could make a man suddenly drop hatred and grief deep enough to last four entire years, you ask? Well, you could always read the crappy first draft, or just wait and see =P

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 167,264 words. Just shy of a 50,000 word difference, and there's a whole lot more where that came from.

Once I've gotten everything the way it should have been the first time through, and run through a draft or three making sure everything is fitted together just right I'll do a final draft or two where I do everything I can to lower the word count as far as possible without straining the integrity of the story, and basically clean up all of the text so it says what it needs to say in as few words as possible and still get the story, imagery, and emotion across to you. This makes it easier to read and understand. I did this with Beyond the Lost Horizon and cut nearly 100,000 words from it without actually cutting anything important out of it. In my opinion, though, the difference between the final draft of that story and the 5th draft is very profound, though very little of the story has actually been altered. Think of it as a sculptor smoothing off all of the rough edges on a statue, cutting away the excess stone, and polishing it up to finish.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Exile Chapter 19 rewrites.

I've finished with the second draft of Exile Chapter 19 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page .

This is another chapter that is new to draft 2. The part where Silmera tells Mal about how his mother died did appear in the first draft, though in a way and atmosphere very different from the way it is here. It's different enough that I can say that this entire chapter is new material. The reason for adding this chapter is that the death of Mal's Father is a very important event in his life. It is part of what shapes him into the man he will become, and in the original draft I just sort of glossed over it like it was nothing. Also, Mal needed to hear from his father that his father lied to him in order to be able to forgive Silmera. He still does not trust her completely, but he has forgiven her. And on top of that I needed to begin building for more future changes in the story between the two drafts, namely that Mal is to marry Lilia rather than Silmera, which makes a heck of a lot more sense when you think about it. This chapter makes some very significant changes in the storyline from the first draft, and better ties in this part with what is happening in the next chapter.

Also, in this chapter you see the beginnings of the strength that Mal will show in the end. In the first draft he was basically a total pussy that did everything everyone else wanted him to, and believed everything they said without question, then all of a suddenly showed a backbone when it suited the plot. In this draft you will see that he always had the strength to stand up to the situation and take charge and only allows things to beat him down because it's the only way he knows how to deal with his anger, bottle it up and go with the flow until he finally explodes in the end. This is a much more realistic protrayal of how someone in his position would act, and for the story to be anything resembling presentability this chapter, showing Mal's inner self, was very needed. He's actually physically suffering over the news that he's Cursed, and over his father's death, and over being lied to by not only someone he thought was his friend, but his father as well, the very person who taught him never to lie. He's ashamed of how he can't do anything to alter his situation, and people are making big life decisions for him like he doesn't have the mental capacity to do it himself. He may just grin and bear it on the outside, but inside the pressure is building up, and eventually it's going to explode. None of that really came out in the first draft, which makes for a rather boring story.

And last of all, you might have noticed that this chapter is chapter 19. The first draft only had 18 chapters total, but I am barely halfway through with the second draft. You might be wondering what gives. Well, the simple answer is this. The chapters of this story were HUGE to begin with, and when I began to add text to them they became even bigger. Many of them needed to be cut, so I started making splits when there were breaks in the story. I have just completed what was chapter 7 of the first draft with chapter 19 of the second draft.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 164,893 words, which is a difference of 47,500ish words. To put that in perspective 47.5k words is the equivilant of 78 single spaced pages in 12 point font, and about the length of a typical novella. In a side by side comparison these two drafts look very very different from each other. Friends and family that have read both agree wholeheartedly that the changes have been greatly for the better.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Exile Chapter 18 Rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 18 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is new to draft 2. There are many things that are being added and changed that I needed a chapter here to help explain them. This chapter also shows taht Aaron isn't just hiding from the Samirreh, he's planning how to destroy them. Things that are important to the plot later on in the story are discussed. When I wrote the first draft I made much of it up as I went along. I knew the general flow of the story, but didn't plan out much of it, or really what happened in the story between the large events. That left out nearly ll of the explanations, character developement, and foreshadowing that are needed to keep the reader interested in teh story all the way to the ending. You need to know that the characters are aware of certain things and working on them earlier in the story so that they don't just literally pull the solutions to problems out of their back pockets on the spur of the moment to solve all their problems. That does not make for an interesting book. The character have to work for their solutions, and suffer for them before they can win, or else what's the point? So I put in this chapter, a much needed oreshadowing, plot building, set up, and explanation chapter.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 160,583 words, a difference of over 43,000 words.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Exile Chaper 17 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile chapter 17 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

There are perhaps two paragraphs that survived between the first draft and the second draft of this chapter. It has been completely and utterly overhauled with almost 6000 words added to it. This is the chapter where Aaron, the Wizard reveals to Mal that he is the Exile. In the first draft this was a very short conversation, and Mal, lacking anything resembling personality, just sort of accepted everything that Aaron said to him. This is not very realistic or true to his character. Now you have him hurting over Silmera's lies and manipulations of him, Aaron giving him a much better explanation, a lot more emotion and reaction to everything from Mal, as well as Silmera's plan for the Exile Bloodline worked in. This is a MUCH better chapter than the original draft, and really gets everything that needs to be expressed, expressed much more clearly and with greater emotional impact on the characters.

The changes made to this chapter were very much needed in order to make Mal a more believable character, as well as to flesh out the story so you actually give a crap about what's happening, rather than getting bored and skip ahead. What I'm trying to do in this story, which I've never done before in a story, is to make it more about the characters than the events in the world around them. The reason for this is to kind of test myself as a writer and see if I can pull it off.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft of this story is currently at 156,333 words, which is just under a 39,000 wor difference. 40k words is the size of the average novella. Halfway through the story I've already added an entire novella worth of additional content to the story. Looking ahead, I think that the second draft is probably going to break 200k words.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Exile Chapter 16 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 16 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Almost this entire chapter has been rewritten from scratch to incorporate character personality changes, general storyline changes, and other such things. The only things that remain nchanged are Aaron's descriptions of where he met Anna, and about the Oracle's prophecy. This chapter now gives a much better picture of Silmera's plight, and Aaron's life up to now, and the mutual distrust that there is between them. This did not come out in the first draft but they are rather unwilling allies. Silmera considers Aaron to be a lazy coward that's too stupid to do his responsibilities, and Aaron views Silmera as an abominably evil beast that is the offspring of the one that nearly destroyed the world. Yet they have little choice than to work together.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 150,789 words.

That is a 33,437 word difference. To put that in perspective that is the equivilant of 56 single spaced, 12 point font pages. The first draft manuscript was only 186 pages to begin with, so 56 pages is almost a 1/3 addition already, and I'm only about halfway through the second draft, with the majority of edits still ahead of me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Exile Chapter 15 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 15 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter needed little in the way of changes. Most of the work went into adding details, and things of that nature, however, a few things were changed to account for Mal's distrust of Silmera, and the general paragraph and sentance structure has been changed up a bit to make it more readable. I also added a bit of sorrowful reminiscence from Silmera, which is something I thought needed to be there. It's the first time she's been home in a thousand years and it's in complete ruins now. Of course she's going to give a reaction to that.

Also something any mormons might have noticed, I've drawn some correlations between the remnants of humanity in the War of Zion and the mormon pioneers. They're people chased out of thier homes across a great and harsh wilderness to an unforgiving land because it's the only place left for them to go where they can hopefully be safe for a little while and try to rebuild their lives. The queen's words are a quote of Brigham Young's "This is the place" upon entering the Salt Lake Valley for the first time.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 147,952 words, a difference of over 30k.

Exile Prologue Revision

I've added quite a large chunk to the prologue and the revised version can be downloaded on this page.

The added part deals with the character Shayla. If you have read the Ark of Zarathustra yuo'll know that the child born to Raven and Temari is named Shayla. This Shayla is the same person, though you'll have to wait until I get around to writing the Eternal Chain to find out how she got to her current situation.

The reason that I have added this part is that Shayla is a very important character in this story, though she has very little "screen time" in it. The entire story is about Mal proving himself worthy of becoming her successor, and cming to realize that it's his duty as the only one that can. Shayla is briefly mentioned once or twice and met briefly near the end, but in the first draft I never really played up the importance of her character, and what she's actually doing in this story. Plus, the Epilogue is about her, i figured that I should add something to the prologue to ballance that, as well as introduce her character right off, so there's no confusion as to who she is and why she's important. Though she does not appear very often, she is the one that basically manufactured the events that take place in the story in order to test the main character so taht he can prove himself worthy to her. I came to the decision to alter the prologue while revising my outline over the last week.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 146,091 words, just short of a 30,000 word difference.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back to Work

I've finished outlining and will be getting back to work on the manuscript tomorrow. I'm actually getting a bit excited about Exile. It's really shaping up to be pretty good, despite the horrible first draft. I think that the changes I'm about to make in the characters and their relationships are for the best and that they make the story better, more entertaining, and more readable. Where it was a mess before I think I have everything put in good order now.

One thing I never really delved into in the first draft is Malcolm's feelings about his situation. In the first draft he just sort of accepts everything and goes with the flow, which is boring and lacks anything resembling personality. I mean, if someone walked up and tapped you on the shoulder and said, "hey, so, dude, you're the descendant of an ancient line of exiled kings, the bearer of a horrible curse, and you've got all these duties and obligations to see to. And that awesome chick taht moved in with you, yeah she's sort of the thousand year old hellspawn of the most infamous figure in human history. Oh yeah, and there's this hoarde of Demon summoning psychos that have been raping and pillaging their way across the land like a spreading stain bent on capturing and killing you, and some weird naked Oracle chick trapped in a giant piece of crystal that keeps telling random Wizards you're her successor. Oh, and don't forget the fact taht your father, the one that taught you all about lying and how evil it is has been lying to you your entire life about it, but hey, it's cool. No pressure dude, but look, if you don't do something about all this crap the world is going to end and there'll be nothing left but barren scorched wastelands and Fayts roaming the ruins of humanity. Seriously uncool, I know, but would you kindly deal with it so civilization as we know it can contiune, oh pretty please?" Would you just sit back and take it as it comes? I don't think so.

I, for one, would be complaining bitterly about it from start to finish. That's what I do to relieve stress, I piss and moan and grumble under my breath about the injustice of hte universe whilst grinding my teeth through whatever horrible task I have to complete. It annoys the heck out of everyone around me, but it's how I deal with things and find the strength to continue onward. Every day of work I can be heard to mumble about how much I dislike mail, I mean, it just keeps coming. You deliver it, and then the next day IT'S BACK!!! And Mal isn't going to just sit back and let himself get swept away either. There's a little bit of myself in every character I write. And every now and then I find that they react to things exactly as I would. Most often I try to stay away from that, so that my characters don't all seem the same and clones of me beside. He'll piss and moan about his situation like you wouldn't believe, but in the end he'll realize that he's got balls dammit, and he's going use them and stand up to his situation and do things his way. Why? Because that's what I'd do.

So, anyway, I'll be getting back to work tomorrow, though between church and heading over to my parents' house for laundry and dinner I'll probably not have enough time to complete a full chapter to post, so expect the next one on monday, tuesday at the latest.

Oh yes, and I've recently found a very good fantasy series called A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, which has been occupying a lot of my time lately that I would otherwise be using to work on writing, so if it seems like I'm going slower than I was, that's why. The series starts out a bit slow, but once it gets going it's epically awesome beyond words. I literally cannot stop reading. I've been dead at work all week because I've been up all night unable to put the books down. The man is a fricken genius.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Exile Edits

Despite the fact that I haven't posted anything in the last few days I'm still hard at work. When I first started my second draft I read through it completely and took notes on what needed to be changed/revised/whatever. While I did this I also jotted down a lot of random ideas I had for the way I wanted to change things, and though some of them are good, many of them are bad. Right now I'm running through all of these random ideas that I jotted down in notes, as well as others I've had while editing the first 15 chapter, and making up a more solid outline for the way that the rest of the story is going to play out. I'm currently about 1/3 of the way through the second draft. So far there haven't been any really major changes in the overall plotline or character relationships, but that's starting to change now. I'm getting into parts of the story that are going to see significant rewrites, and as good as my memory might be, it's not good enough to keep everything completely straight without an outline I can check things against, and that is what I've been doing the last few days. I've been planning out all of my changes on paper (so to say, more like digital paper, but whatever) so that I don't have to keep everything in my head and can add all my random thoughts and ideas and notes to as I go along.

Soooo, despite the lack of new chapters posted on my website this week I'm still working on it, if not actually making edits to the actual manuscript. In my experience writing a story this long is 50% imagination, 40% planning/plotting/outlining, and 10% actually writing. The reason this story is requiring so much work now is because I skipped out on nearly all of the planning/plotting/outlining part when I wrote the first draft. If you don't start out with a good foundation for the story by planning and plotting, and brainstorming, and developing your characters' personalities before you actually start writing then you're going to end up with crap. If you, the writer, don't know your characters inside and out, and how they'll act in every given situation, then you're not ready to write. If you don't know everything that is going to happen from start to finish then you're also not ready to write. But also, a problem that a lot of people in writing classes I've been in have run into is making an outline and sticking to it without allowing any room for improvising, or the fact that maybe their characters personalities will not allow certain events to play out exactly as outlined. I've often run into things that were great when I imagined them and outlined, but then when I started writing those parts I realized taht they go against the characters personalities and things ahve to be changed. Also, some of my best ideas come to me as I'm writing, rather than while I'm brainstorming and outlining. So you do need to do all the work before you actually start writing, but you have to remain flexible as well.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Exile Chapter 14 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 14 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter has almost been completely rewritten from scratch. Perhaps 20% of the original chapter remains with 80% being new material. There is a lot more description of the surroundings as they make their way up to the ruins where the Wizard resides, as well as a lot of new dialog. Most of the new material centers around Mal's trust issues, and a little of Silmera's back story. We get to see a little of what has shaped her into the person she is today. What I want to do with this draft is really play up the trust issues that Mal has with Silmera, ending in him finally realizing that he loves her right as she's taken from him. I think this is a far more realistic way of doing things than the way I had them in the first draft. Of course there are many significant changes that will have to be made throughout the second draft to account for this new focus I'm putting into their relationship.

Something I'm really trying to focus on in this draft is emotion, because all of the characters in the first draft were rather wooden and one dimensional. In my mind these are real people with real pasts and real feelings, but conveying that into writing is harder than you might think. I want these characters to be as real to someone who reads about them as they are in my imagination, but no matter how I write it, I fear I'll always fall short. Still, I do my best, and in this draft I'm working very hard to make these characters come to life, with their own seperate and disctict personalities and motives. That was something that was lacking, for the most part, in the first draft.

In writing classes you are taught that there are three main things that a story must have to make it worth reading. First is an original plot. Second is likeable, distinct, and well developed characters. Third is clear and simple writing that is easy for the reader to understand. I think I'm doing much better this time around on all three of those points than I did with the first draft, and it really shows in the difference in word counts so far. I've added nearly 25% to the word count so far and I'm barely coming to the half way point in the first draft.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 144,920 words, which is a 27,568 word difference between the two drafts. 27.5k words is the equivilant of about 45 single spaced pages at 12 point font.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Exile Chapter 13 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 13 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter has also changed significantly. Originally Silmera planned to have Mal "accidently" come across her bathing. This is something that no woman would ever do, so i changed it to it being just an accident. I've also changed the descriptions in this chapter to be both at the same time less graphic and more descriptive. It seems like you can't do one without the other, but it's possible. Also changed were a lot of Mal's emotional responses. He was rather wooden in the first draft, and that just wouldn't be the case in real life if he walked past and basically saw one of his sex fantasies happening right there. I let a female friend of mine read this chapter before posting it and she basically told me I was overdoing it a bit, because a fourteen year old boy is not going to have those sorts of feelings yet, BUT my response was "you've obviously never been a fourteen year old boy."

A great deal of description about the world around the characters, the characters themselves, and their emotions has been added to this story, as well as a crapton of new dialog to reflect the changes, as well as make the character interactions here more meaningful. I've also ramped up Mal's suspicion of Silmera, because she has lied to him, several times, and she happens to belong to a race of people that are hated and feared. A fourteen year old boy is old enough to have naughty fantasies, certainly, and definitely old enough to begin to question, and choose what he wants to believe. This is going to be a big focus for the story that I'm introducing in teh second draft. Mal is going to be constantly wondering how far he can trust Silmera, and also added to this draft, Silmera has a psychological need to prove herself due to who her mother was (that's right, i planned all that out ahead of time, I'm not making these changes up as I go along)

The next chapter will deal greatly with Mal's internal struggle over whether or not he can trust Silmera, and whether or not he dares not to.

The first draft of this story was 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 141,605 words, which is a diference of just over 24,000 words.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Exile Chapter 12 revision

I had intended to write another new chapter to come after Chapter 12, but it turned out that there was not enough material to make a complete chapter out of, so I tacked it onto the end of Chapter 12. There are now 2 pages of additional material at the end of Chapter 12, which is a good 1400 words or so, but to make a full chapter it needs to be at least 3000 or so, or to be a complete event, which it is neither.

This small piece is something I felt needed to be added to the story. Silmera makes peace with Mal's father before his death, and asks his blessing on her plans to bear the next Exile. While this might not seem very important to the story, I intend to use Viktor Thatcher's blessing on Silmera's intentions later on in the story, making it somewhat important that she actually does recieve it, because, as she has come to realize, she hates lying to Mal.

You can download the revised version of this chapter at the bottom of this page.

The first draft of this story was 117,352 words.
The Second Draft is currently at 138,371 words, which is just over a 21,000 word difference.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Exile Chapter 12 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile chapter 12 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

There was a lot added to this chapter, most notably a section where Mal asks Silmera about Heretics. This is important because Mal needs to know the difference between a Heretic and a Samirreh in the very next chapter. Silmera gave a small explanation of the fact that Samirreh are tattooed during her story, but Mal never really learned the difference between the two in the first draft. I've also changed Silmera's plans a bit for telling Mal that she is a Heretic, and in the next chapter a little of how he will find out, because in the first draft I had her planning things that no woman in her right mind would ever in a billion years do. I may not be an expert on women, but I do know THAT. Now it's not going to be planned, it's just going to happen, much more realistic that way.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 137,018 words.

That's almost a 20,000 word difference. That is the equivilant of 32 12 point font single spaced pages, or about 5-6 chapters. Man, oh man, did this story suck before I started editing.