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.

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