Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Exile Chapter 33 Rewrites

I've finished chapter 33 of the second draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

And at last I'm back on track with work on Exile. This chapter had a few paragraphs and sentances here and there that got carried over from the first draft to the second, but for the most part it was completely rewritten. I've done a lot more of dragging Mal through the coals in this draft so he had a lot more to think about on his way down to the Oracle's chamber. Also, he's a lot smarter than I gave him credit for in the first draft and he's realized that the Oracle has been trying to manipulate him, so he's pissed off at her rather than civil and asking her questions that serve no purpose but to move the plot along like in the first draft. Also, the Dark God has given a couple hints as to why he hates humans so much. That was one of the difficulties in writing this chapter, I didn't want to give too much of that away, because there is a big scene later on where Mal and the Dark God fight each other face to face that I'm adding to this draft, where the Dark God tells the whole story. So I didn't want to give away too much, but enough for you to know that he once loved someone, and something horrible happened to her, and because of that he has vowed to destroy all of humanity.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 199,551 words.

I've just about hit the 200k word mark, which if you didn't know, is usually the cut off point where an editor will tell a writer that it is too long and needs to be cut down to size or split into multiple volumes. My final draft will get cut down by quite a bit, I cut nearly 100k words from Beyond the Lost Horizon in the final draft, so I'm pretty sure that I can end up below the 200k mark with the finished manuscript, but for now it's going to balloon up to giganto-size.

Spires of Infinity Artwork

So I have a friend (actually the one that tried to readdict me to Final Fantasy XI) who drew me a picture of Kari from Spires of Infinity (his favorite character). He's a super anime fan and you can definitely see it in his artwork, she looks like an anime character, and is wearing japanese clothing etc. Anyway, he says he's going to draw me pictures of the other characters too, but it took him about a month to draw this one so it may take quite a while.

Click the picture for a larger image =)
I linked to his photobucket of it, because I don't have my own and an kinda too lazy to set up an account right now.

It's pretty good in my opinion, just a few mistakes (her eyes are purple and the tips of her tails are supposed to be white) that are understandable because I normally don't have much in the way of description in the first drafts of my stories. If ever I get published I may ask him to draw my covers, he's got some other pretty good artwork. I like how he got her hair and ears, those are dead on ^^V.

Back to writing

Soooo, after taking the weekend to remember what the heck I was doing after my week of being dragged back into Final Fantasy XI hell, I'm back to writing again today. I'll probably start posting chapters again either later today or tomorrow. I'm getting close to the end of Exile, and should be finishing it within the month (July, not June haha) This had taken FAR longer than I thought it would. I didn't realize how much work this story really needed, how much material would need to be added, and how much of the manuscript would have to be completely rewritten.

I've also decided on a storyline for Spires of Infinity 2 over the weekend. This story will be in the same format as Spires of Infinity, with a bunch of little side stories with one main storyline going on in the background until all of the characters come together. I've decided on the main storyline, not all of the little side stories, I think I'll do that like I did the first book. I put the titles of al of my short stories in a hat and then I drew them out when I needed something new to happen. It kept things random, and made it pretty fun to write. I'm calling this story The Path. The title is significant as it ties in to religious beliefs of a new character that I'm going to be adding. I won't say what it's about, but let's just say I put a whole bunch of genres into a blender like in Spires, and hit puree. This one will be more on the fantasy side rather than sci-fi, and will involve pirates, magic, gods, an immortal king with the powers of the gods, cool sea battles, sea monsters, a quest into the unknown mysteries of the islands scattered about the sea, and a revolution.

It'll take me quite a while to really work out what's going to happen and all, so don't expect me to start writing The Path for a pretty long time. I still have to finish Exile and Spires of Infinity before I can even think of starting another project. I also want to write Splitplane Saga (maybe Splitplane Chronicles, or The War of Echoes, still haven't decided on a title yet) sometime too, and it's starting to become a pretty awesome story the more I think about it. I'm pretty sure it's something that has never been done before, which is pretty much the holy grail of writing, because seriously, EVERYTHING has already been done before. Trying to come up with a truly original idea these days is like jumping into a lake without getting wet. I can sum it up in 3 words, but I won't, because I wanna keep this one SUPER secret until I'm done with it BWAAHAAHAA.

Anyway, back to focusing on the project at hand. I really want to finish Exile before the end of july so I can get back to Spires, which, to me, is the more interesting of the two. I hate leaving things unfinished, and the longer I take with Exile, the longer Spires remains unfinished.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Where I've been...

So, several years ago an MMORPG came out called Final Fantasy XI. As a fan of the Final Fantasy series, I bought this game, and became extremely addicted to it. Once I finally managed to make myself quit I found that I'd basically wasted an entire year of my life that i would never get back.

Anyway, a fried managed to convince me to come back on a more casual basis, even though I'd sold my character on ebay so that I would never be able to log onto it again. I had forgotten what FFXI was like. I remember now why it is that I made myself stop playing it and why I will never play it again. It's an evil soul sucking vortex of doom that completely and utterly destroys your life if you let it. I've done little else this week but play that stupid game and when I looked back and saw how I'd wasted an entire perfectly good week I immediately uninstalled the game, told the friend thanks but no thanks, and promptly threw out the game discs so as to remove the temptation to ever reinstall it again. I will admit that I had a very major addiction to that game, and though I have not played it in quite some time before this last week, I see now that the addiction is still there, and probably always will be. I thought I had managed to claw my way out of it by focusing on other things like my writing, but then I let it suck me back in. Well, that's never going to happen again.

Anyway, one good thing did come out of this week. Whilst my brain was rotting away during countless hours of pointless character leveling up I came up with the idea for what I think is going to be a very good story. I'm still in early brainstorming stages with it, but I think it might become my next project after I complete Exile and Spires of Infinity. At the moment I've given it the name Splitplane Saga, but that will likely change as I get more into it. It's really kind of hard to briefly explain what it' about, so I won't. PLus there's the fact that I think this is a truly original idea for a story, and I'd like it to stay that way until I have a chance to actually write it. So i think I'll just keep it a secret until then ~_^ I will say that there is a war on epic scales in this story, but the story is not necessarily about the war.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Exile Chater 32 rewrites

I've finished chapter 32 of the second draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is made up of completely new material, and is basically the beginning of my completely new ending. The antagonist, Fayt Nightfang, makes his first real appearance, and reveals his true identity. I call this plot twist #2. Plot twist #1 being that Fayt Stain has been after Silmera all this time, not Malcolm. It's really not much as plot twists go, but there's some better ones coming up.

Fayt Nightfang takes this time to gloat and brag to Silmera about his plans, though he does not reveal his true objective or how he plans to complete it, only that he needs Silmera, Avalon, and Malcolm's success in fulfilling the prophecy to do it.

This story has been something of a nightmare to plan through, because normally you have your antagonist introduced early on, and he's there making your protagonist's life miserable throughout the story. This antagonist, though spoken of several times, has not had much of a direct hand in the events of the story up until this poing. He sends out his minions, and has kept his presense and plans mostly to himself. This makes it a little hard to keep things interesting, and to keep events moving an focused. it can also be a little confusing to readers and make them feel as though you're just dropping everything on them at once, which is usually a bit of a no no.

This chapter was added to the story in order to introduce him to you as early as possible, and give a taste of what's to come in hte ending. I literally could not bring him into the story any earlier than this, because I'm trying really hard to keep the ending a bit of a secret, so it hits you with more force than it normally would have had he been twirling his mustaches and spilling his guts througout the story like a bond villain. I want what happens at the end to come as a surprise, something that no one could have possibly seen coming. A good ending can make a crappy book great, a good book awesome and an awesome book spectacular. I'm not quite sure whether people will think of this book as crappy, good or awesome, but the ending is really going to make a lasting impression to those that read it, or at least I hope it is. In my opinion it's a pretty awesome end that better fulfills the promises I made at the beginning of the book than the original ending that I wrote for this story.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 198,577 words, which is a difference of over 81,000 words.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Exile Chapter 30 & 31 rewrites

I've finished chaters 30 and 31 of the second draft of Exile and they can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

There's a lot going on in these two chapters, without much actually happening. Mostly they deal with what's going on in Mal's mind and his heart. Mal has got so much going on inside of him, that he really just needs to take a break, sit down and deal with some of the emo, before he can really move on and do anything else, or he's just going to be completely useless. He sits down, goes over his options, and comes up with a goal that he hopes will fix at least some of his problems so taht he doesn't have to deal with them anymore.

Mal also has to deal with his questions of who he loves, what he wants out of a relationship with a woman, and whether his marrying Lilia is the right things to do for both of them. Now, love, for me has been a bit of a touchy subject for several years. I dated someone for almost three years, and I was deeply in love with her. Unfortunately, for me, on the night I had planned to propose to her, I saw her kissing another man, whom she had been dating almost the entire time she'd been dating me, and decided to move away to alaska with. Mal's feelings for Silmera are much like what I remember feeling before she ripped out my heart and squashed it under her heels. A feeling like being warm, when everything else is cold. Anyway, ever since that messy and painful breakup I've found that I have a really hard time writing about love between my character, as I've also had trouble even finding the desire to go back out and look for someone else in my own life. I've only recently started dating again, with mixed results, and I think I'm doing a pretty good job of facing a pretty big dilema in the love life of this character. Mal deals with the problem much like many people probably would, he puts it off until later, because he's really got way too much going on to even bother thinking about what he's going to do.

Silmera also takes the opportunity to let Aaron know she's been the one wearing the pants all along, and he's basically been her prison bitch the whole time, dancing on her strings to give her everything she wanted from him. Of course, if he wasn't such an idiot, and prone to breaking his word so often, he might have avoided it.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 195,282 words.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Exile Chapter 29 Rewrites

I've finished chapter 29 of the second draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page

Most of this chapter remained true to the first draft, needing surprisingly little in the way of editing. A few changes were made to sentance and paragraph structure, and there were a few more changes in the end of the chapter to account for some major changes in the plot between the two drafts.

So, anyway, Mal has become what he has been taught to hate his entire life, and there is no way that Aaron knows for him to become human again. And as if he wasn't suffering already from that, as well as everything else that has happened to him, one of the few friends that he has left has decided that it is time to take her leave. An important thing to note in this chapter is the feeling's Mal is beginning to realize that he has for Silmera. Lilia is one of his best friends, and she will always be, but he has never loved her like everyone is expecting of him. His conflicting emotions between the woman he is coming to love, and the woman he is supposed to marry are just one more thing pressing down on top of him. He can't take much more punishment, but too bad, because I'm not through dragging him through the coals just yet.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 192,162 words, which is a difference of almost 75,000 words.

Exile Chapter 28 rewrites

I've finished chapter 28 of the second draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

After a brief bit of rest and relocation, Mal and Silmera are back in the middle of some action. Fayt Stain has recovered from his unfortunate immolation at the hands of the Dark God and has come for them with a vengeance.

This chapter is about 15% text carried over from the first draft and 85% rewritten material. The carried over text is mostly at the end of the chapter after the fight has ended.

One thing I've always had trouble with is writing action scenes. I think that the real problem is that despite a brow belt in some sort of martial art, I forget which, that I got while young, I don't actually know much about fighting. Especially if that fighting involves swords. I'll be the first to admit that I know the pointy end goes in the other guy, but that's about the extent of what i know about sword fighting. So, how do you write an engaging sword fight, while knowing little to nothing about fighting with swords? As I've practiced at writing action scenes over my life, I've come to realize something about fighting. It's not just me that doesn't know the first thing about swordplay... No one else knows a thing about it either. That makes it very easy to bluff your way through. All you have to do is pretend that you know exactly what you're talking about and the reader will believe it.

Another trick I've learned that makes writing action easier is to block it. Don't describe a fight blow for blow. That's incredibly boring to read about. Describe a series of events without actually saying what happens in them, and instead focus on the emotions that the characters are feeling, and the effect of the fight on the surroundings, the reader gets the idea of what's going on, and anything that they come up with in their imagination is going to be a lot cooler than anything you could ever describe blow for blow. There are a lot of examples of this in this chapter, and finally, after who knows how many badly written acion scenes, I think I'm starting to get it down to where I don't suck at it quite so much. I have to say, I think this is probably the best written action scene I've ever written.

Here's an excerpt that illustrates this method of writing action very well:

"Fayt Stain’s movements seemed slow and sluggish because of the sword in his body, but he still moved with supernatural speed and grace as he tried desperately to fend off Silmera’s brutal attacks. Their blades flashed in the moonlight, and blue light exploded wherever they met. She hacked at him again, and again, without pause or care for any wounds the Fayt managed to get in on her, showing none of her earlier grace. Her arms were a mass of blackened, cauterized wounds, and she was snarling like a wild beast as she pressed the Fayt into the water."

I told you absolutely nothing at all about how they're fighting, only that they are. I describe the flashes of the blades in the moonlight, and the graceful movements of one character while the other hacks away with brute strength, and the wounds inflicted by their weapons, but not exactly what they're doing with them. Still, you understand exactly what's happening, and your imagination fills in the rest.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 191,440 words.

What started out as a project that I intended to be a very short book, has instead turned into a pretty gigantic beast, and it's going to keep growing as I move into the ending and the massive changes I have planned there. It probably won't be an exaggeration to say that the second draft is going to end up at about 250k words.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Exile Chapter 27 rewrites

I've finished chapter 27 of the second draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is basically two pieces that I cut from different parts of the first draft and rewrote into one chapter here while the characters are taking time to recover from tehir wounds. They are both important events, but they were in bad places for the flow of the story in the first draft, and they were pretty poorly written. Not much of the original text from the first draft was used because of the graphic nature of some of it, and the extremely vague description I gave before of what the Oracle actually does.

First we have An explanation of who the Oracle is, what she does, and her importance. Her role was always this defined to me, I just did a HORRIBLE job of explaining it in the first draft. And the revelation that Mal has been dreaming about her for his entire life is made as well, just to confirm what a clever person could have already figured out on his or her own. Mal also notices that when Silmera isn't working at being gruff and stony she is actually very pretty in her own way, which is a small but important detail to the ending.

Second we have Silmera's naughty time, shall we call it, with Mal. In the first draft this part was really kind of graphic and done with pretty bad taste. I think I've done a pretty good job of rewriting it so that you get a really good idea about what's happening, without my having to describe the details of it to you. Sometimes subtle is much, much better than descriptive, and this is one of those times. I focus more on Mal's feelings of insecurity and humiliation rather than what is actually happening to him. Now, There are people on both sides of the argument for sex scenes in books and movies and TV and all, some say it's necessary for the plot, some say it doesn't belong in any story. Me, I believe that as the child concieved in this chapter is extremely important and is the main force driving Silmera for the rest of the book, and I always like to follow the rule that showing is better than telling. which means having the scene, rather than having one of them remembering it later. Either way I've really, really toned it down for this draft, and I'm happy with the changes that I've made.

The first draft of this story ended at 117.352 words.
The second draft is currently at 188,834 words.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Exile Chapter 26 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 26 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is half new and/or rewritten material, half original text from the first draft. Everything after Silmera starts talking about the blue moon is, for the most part, carried over from the first draft with a few small edits having to do with changes in the plot between the two drafts, and adding more emotional response to Mal's reactions.

In the new material, I wanted Mal to see what he's done to his village, and see someone whose life he has completely and utterly destroyed. Why? Well, for one, I'm a sadistic bastard and I take pleasure in the suffering of others. Another reason is to give readers the full impact of just what has happened to this village and its people. And another is to give Mal something more to feel awful about what's happened, because the more awful he feels, the more he's going to want to do something about it.

I also wanted to give Silmera something that she could use to really just scathe the hell out of him, because she's suffering here too, it's not just Mal. She thinks everything is her fault, because if she had not healed Mary Miller, the Fayt never would have come, and the village would never have been destroyed. She's looking for anyone at all that she can shift the blame onto so she doesn't have to deal with it, and she uses what she sees on the way out of the village to really just thrash Mal while he's down for the count before she realizes how stupid she's being, and how much her words have hurt him.

The fisrt draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 186,713 words.

I've reached almost 70,000 added words to this draft. To put that in perspective, the average mainstream novel is 70k-100k words in length, with exceptionally long novels been 150k-200k, and then epic fantasy (my forte) being typically 200k+. I've added the equivilant of an entire mainstream novel to the second draft and I still have about 90 pages left to edit/rewrite/add to/etc. When I started on this draft it was 186 single spaced pages in length, it is now 297 single spaced pages in length(with those 90 pages of the first draft I've yet to complete still added onto the end).

Exile Chapter 25 revision

I've made some minor changes to the second draft of Exile Chapter 25, the revised version has been uploaded and the old version deleted from my site, you can downloade it at the bottom of this page. It's the one that says "Chapter 25 - Draft 2 (revised)".

Silly me, I forgot to add the most important part of this chapter while I was writing it. The revision is in the first little chunk while Mal is unconscious and dreaming. He has a recurring dream that he has had his entire life. The addition is about 900 words or so. This is something that I went back and added into earlier chapters during the time when I was revising my outlines. These small changes in previous chapters will not be available for download until I post the full second draft as one file, as there are really too many of them, and most are very minor changes that you wouldn't notice unless you're looking for them anyway.

Anyway, the gist of what's going on is the Oracle has gone for about as long as she possibly can (nearly 10 billion years) but now she can feel insanity creeping in because the human mind was never built to last that long. She's been desperately seeking someone that she can trust to take her place as the gatekeeper of a doorway that connects all the worlds in the universe to the realm of the Northern Sage, and through there to the afterlife. She's chosen Mal, because he has what she believes it will take to become her successor, and sent out her prophecy which brought the Samirreh to the Four Kingdoms searching for him. She did this, knowing full well what the consequenses would be, in order to engineer a situation where Mal could become what he needs to be in order to take her place, and to prove himself worthy of it. She basically created a future where she would be replaced by manipulating events to make it happen for her the way that she wanted, but in such a way that Mal would still have the ability to choose whether he will or whether he will not. There are deep consequences for both choices. Later on you'll see what the consequences of the action she has taken will be if Mal refuses, and it's not pretty.

This is not the only thing that she has done in order to lure Mal to her so that he can fulfill the calling that she has given him. She has also given him dreams, like the one I added to this chapter, in order to make him WANT to take her place. She'd kind of sneaky, she's preying on his sense of chivalry to help a woman in need, and hoping that he won't be able to ignore her calls. The biggest obstacle that she faces is free will. She can't force Mal to take her place. Only he can choose to do that. So she'd trying, through dreams, to make him want to save her, and want to take her place.

A big thieme in most of the stories that i write is free will. When I was on my LDS mission it was shortly after the 9-11 attacks, and a lot of people were turning away from religion saying things like "If there's a god he wouldn't have let that happen, so there must not be a god." This got me thinking very deeply about free will, and why bad things happen to good people. The answer is very simple. Free Will. God has rules to live by the same as us, and he cannot disrupt the greatest gift that he's given to man. Free Will. Bad things like the 9-11 attack happen not because god doesn't care or isn't there, it's because if he stepped in to stop them he would be breaking the rules of his own game. Everyone has the right to choose their own path and actions, and if he steps in to stop someone from doing something bad, he's taken that person's free will away. This idea has intrigued me ever since, and it has become a very large part of everything that I have written after returning from my mission.

He has not had this dream since the day before Silmera arrived because his heart has become impure in the four years between then and now. He only has this dream at times in his life when his heart is worthy of taking up her mantle. He was driven by pain and revenge before, but now that Silmera has made him realize the wrongness of his ways, he's begun to see the world differently, becoming clean and worthy once more. And so the dream has returned to him.

And now that this post has become longer than the actual addition to the chapter it's announcing, I think I'll go get back to work on overhauling the next chapter.

Exile Chapter 25 rewrites

I've finished chapter 25 of the second draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Soooo, one whole chapter of usable text from the first draft, and now I'm back to completely rewriting chapters. That was a nice short break from doing actual work. Oh well.

The first draft of this chapter was from Silmera's point of view, which makes very little sense for the standpoint of a writer. The far more interesting character in this scene is Mal, because of the emotion he's going to feel over having basically murdered seventy of his fellow villagers by accident. Seeing though his eyes as this is revealed to him is far more interesting than seeing through Silmera's. It helps the reader to sympathize with him as having had this horrible thing happen to him, rather than to see him through someone else's eyes that is wary of him and thinks he's done something horrible.

Because of the viewpoint change, and several very major changes in the actual plot, this chapter had to be completely rewritten from scratch. I have to say that it's better this way than it was before, but it still needs work, as I sort of threw it together on the fly. Oh well, that's what third drafts are for . . . and fourth drafts . . . and fifth drafts . . . and sixth drafts . . . and so on.

Something I'm trying to do with this book is mimick one of my favorite authors. He does a ton of character developement and building up in the first two thirds to three fourths of the book, and then all of the action just crashes down on you in the final third or fourth of the book. I've done all the character building and set up, so all that is left is the action. I really like how he does that, and I've really wanted to try and duplicate it, so I chose this story to do it with as it was one that could be molded to that sort of framework. It's pretty much just battle after battle after battle for the rest of the story, with a few brief spots for the characters to take a bit of a breather. Anyway, if you'd like to see what I'm talking about, read Elantris or Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 184,468 words which is over a 67,000 word difference.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Exile Chater 24 rewrites

I've finished chapter 24 of the second draft of Exile and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This is the first chapter since chapter 15 that has not either been entirely new material or completely rewritten. Though there has been some dialog added to this conversation, mostly having to do with foreshadowing the new ending and giving a few questions that hopefully readers will want to continue onward to find answers to, most of this chapter remains intact from the first draft. I did add some more to the end of this chapter dealing with Silmera's horror at what's happened, and the destruction she sees around her. Before I didn't really describe what happened, now I'm trying to hit you hard with the graphic detail of what has happened so that you can better feel Silmera's pain and self loathing over having been the one to call it down on the first people to allow her in and accept her for who she is that she has ever met in her entire thousand years of life. In the first draft Silmera was somewhat indifferent over having brought Fayt Stain to the village, but now she's heartbroken over it, which is, in my opinion, the normal human reaction to having caused so much death and destruction.

I've also introduced the antagonist of the story, Fayt Nightfang, much earlier than I did in the first draft. He's actually been talked about quite a bit in the second draft, but this is the first time that he's named, and, of course, his identity is something of a secret at this point in the story as that is one of the plot twists in the end. While I was writing the first draft I came up with the idea for this character when I was almost done, and so he only appeared in the ending. I've decided not to have him make appearances until the ending still, but have left several clues as to who he is and who he was throughout the story so that he doesn't just show up and say, hey, I'm the bad guy, now die. Everything that is happening was actually planned out by him seventy years ago, and he's worked very hard and made many sacrifices to get what he wants up to now. His part in the second draft will be greatly expanded, and his plans are far deeper than simply convert the Exile to our cause so that the Samirreh need never fear him as they were before. He wants something, and he'll stop at nothing to get it. He holds nothing sacred. Buuuuuuut, if you wanna know what, you'll have to wait for me to finish writing it, because I'm not about to give away all of the plot twists and ending =P

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 181,903 words.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My first follower

Yay, I have a follower... I feel so special.

Congratulations Josh, for being my first follower you've instantly won . . . nothing.

Well, what did you want, I'm poor *shrug*

Exile Chapter 23 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 23 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This is yet another chapter that was completely rewritten from scratch. This draft is taking a lot longer to complete than I thought it would, becuase I did not expect to have to completely rewrite so much of the existing text. I am quite happy with how the second draft has turned up up to this point, but I wish that I had put the effort needed into the first draft so that there would not be so much work now.

Anyway, this chapter brings some much needed action to the story. The last chapter where anything physical happened was back when Silmera and Anna fought, and before that it was all the way back to the beginning when Silmera fought the Fayt. So far there hasn't been much in the way of action to keep this story moving, and I'm hoping that the characters themselves and their own personal demons will keep people interested during the first half of this story where everything is set up. This fight marks the beginning of a sort of avalanche where everything that could possibly go wrong does, and Mal is forced to face all of the darkness he's let build up inside of him. I've spent a lot of time trying to build up his character in this draft and make him seem like a real person so that you actually care about him when his life starts to go to hell. This fight was rather short and unsatisfying in the first draft, and nothing really happened "on screen" just a bunch of howls out in teh forest and people fleeing in terror. Now we've got the howls, the fleeing in terror, and an actual attack fended off by two supernatural beings, which is a whole heck of a lot cooler in my opinion.

I really mean to rake Mal through the coals before I let him triumph in the end, which is how every protagonist should arrive at his resolution. If he has his victory handed to him, what has he learned? How has he grown as a character? It makes for a very unsatisfying ending if the protagonist hasn't suffered to find victory in the end. Look at Star Wars Episode One for instance? Anakin saves the day and wins the battle completely by accident. Was that very satisfying? No, it certainly was not. The hero of the story is supposed to work, and strive, and suffer before finally finding a way to triumph instead of randomly pressing buttons and oh hey look, I blew up the enemy ship, wonder how that happened.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 180,033 words.

That is a difference of over 62,600 words, which is the equivilant of 100 single spaced 12 point font pages, and over half again as much text as the first draft.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Exile Chapter 22 rewrites

Ive finished the second draft of Exile chapter 22 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This chapter is where the conequences of Silmera's actions come back to bite the wntire village . . . literally. Mal also sees some of his mother's memories, and begins to realize how stupid he's been. The first draft of what became this chapter is about a page long, and has been greatly expanded to the point that this chapter may be split into two in hte next draft.

Something I've been asked is why is Silmera so crude and tomboyish. It seems like she's really going over the top in trying to be unladylike. Well, here's an explanation for that. She's not doing it on purpose. Silmera comes from a different time than any of the people alive today. She was born during the War of Zion a thousand years ago. Before the war there was a futuristic sort of society with flying cars, floating cities, and stuff like that. During the war mankind almost came to extinction, and most of the people that knew how to build all of this technology died. So things degraded shortly after the war to something like our modern day technology and society. Silmera grew up in a day and age much like our own, where women are generally viewed equally with men, and such notions as what is ladylike and what is not, have been rather ignored by most girls for several decades. Silmera makes crude jokes, references bodily functions, and isn't very modest at all, because she grew up in a time when no girls were. The way she acts was normal to her. As the centuries passed society and technology degraded to something like midieval times where women are no longer viewed as equals and basically expected to shut up and let the men do everything important, and they've grown rather prudish as well, so what was once an acceptable way of talking for a woman, is now considered crude, crass, and unacceptable. That someone needed to ask and I had to explain, means I haven't done a very good job of working this idea into the story. I have already put it on my list of things to take care of in draft 3.

Another thing about Silmera that i plan to change in the third draft also has to do with the fact that she is from another time and doesn't quite fit into the society of today quite so well. Usually in the later drafts of stories I change the way that each character talks to be specific to them so you can tell who is talking just by the way that they say things rather than having everything tagged with he said she said etc. If you'd like an examle of this read Beyond the Lost Horizon. Each of the four main characters has a unique way of talking. Raven talks like a hick, leaving the Gs off the end of words, saying Ain't a lot, and replacing you with ya. Kriss uses completely perfect grammar at all times, never uses contractions, and though she tries to dumb down her speach for the common people she associates with, sometimes she forgets and begins to use very large words that only someone who had a royal tutor would really know the meaning of. Temari always talks like she's speaking to a young child and trying to get a smile out of him. And Brand basically talks like I do. Silmera is from--for all purpoes--a completely different world than all other people in this story, and that will be reflected in her speach in later drafts. She will use more archaic words and patterns of speach, and slang terms that no one else understands and stuff like that.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 177,029.

That is just shy of a 60,000 word difference.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Exile Chapter 21 rewrites

I've finished the second draft of Exile Chapter 21 and it can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

This is another new chapter that takes the place of a chapter from teh first draft. In this case I've thrown out he original chapter for the reasons that Mal and Silmera's relationship has changed, which makes the events of the first draft of this chapter impossible. I needed another way to force Silmera's hand in using magic to call the Fayt to her, and a dying child is just the sort of thing she can never ignore. If there's one thing Silmera will put her life on the line for without fail, it is a child in need. I also decided for the village to learn that she is a Heretic, and to accept her because of her healing of the child. This makes the events of the coming night even harder for her to endure. She feels very grateful to these people for allowing her to remain, even knowing that she's a Heretic, and she will want to protect them if she can. In the first draft she didn't have any underlying motives directing her actions and I needed to give her a reason to protect the village.

The first draft of this story ended at 117,352 words.
The second draft is currently at 171,479 words.

That is a difference of over 54,000 words.

The coming chapters have a lot more material that I'll be able to keep, so I'll not be writing so many entirely new chapters to replace them. One thing, however, that will be changing, and quite drastically, is the ending. The original ending was rather flat, boring, and anti-climactic. The new ending that I've come up with has a lot more action, a lot more emotional impact, a plot twist, some personal sacrifice, an epic duel or two, and a much better battle sequence. The entire ending is probably going to be completely rewritten from scratch, because there are just going to be too many changes to keep even a little bit of the text from the first draft.

I've put a lot of work into putting this ending together over the last year or so, because the ending is really the most important part of the book. Your book can be the best book in teh world, but if the ending sucks everyone will hate it. People are more likely to enjoy a crappy book with a spectacular ending than they are a spectacular book with a crappy ending. The ending can make or break a book, and I think that my new ending is really, really good. I've already started laying hte groundwork for these changes in the ending almost as far back as the beginning with Silmera's trying to figure out exactly what the Fayts are, and with Shayla's thoughts about the traitor Wizard. It's going to be awesome . . . or at least I think so. It should be a good sign to you that I'm excited about the end, because if I wasn't it would probably be a good sign that it sucked.