I've finished the 4th draft of Exile chapters 14-16 and they can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
soooooo, these 3 chapters of Exile needed very minimal edits, which is why they are finished so fast. In fact chapters 14 and 15 have not changed very much at all since the first draft. Nice to know I at least got SOMETHING right on my first try. I sure didn't get much else right. In fact, the first draft is so incredibly bad that the word count has nearly trippled between draft 1 and a partial draft 4. The first draft was 117k words and at about 23% completion the fourth draft is just under 300k, officially the longest thing I have ever written, beating out the Ark of Zarathustra by 6k or so, and I'm not finished yet, I expect another 10-15k words added before I'm done. I am not looking forward to chopping it down to size. I want to cut 40%-50% of the word count, but I'm not sure if it's possible. I might only manage 30%, which is the best I could do with Beyond the Lost Horizon without damaging the integrity of the story.
Anyway, Chapter 14 is one of my favorites in this story. It tells all of the backstory of the world. One way that writers tell you about the history of their worlds without making it seem like a stupidly boring history lesson where none of the characters are involved in any way shape or form is to have one of the characters tell a story, so you've got a story within a story that your characters can add comments and questions to rather than a massive block of text that's not hugely relevant to what's happening. Anyway, Silmera tells the story of the Demon Queen Marael, which is a story that I wrote in high school called Heretic Twilight. Like I said in previous posts it was basically my version of what I thought the star wars prequel trilogy would be like before they came out. And seriously, George Lucas should take some lessons from ME, because that story, as badly written as it was with my incomplete high school education was a thousand times better than his crappy, mostly animated movies. It's been a long, long time since anyone said "no" to George Lucas, and someone really, really, really needs to.
So anyway, we've got this story within a story, where Silmera tells basically all of the events that happen between the third book of the Beyond the Lost Horizon trilogy until the end of Heretic Twilight. These stories are all connected because I like the idea of many different stories taking place in the same universe. in fact, that's where a lot of Spires of Infinity came from. There's always another story to tell. I have a massive explanation of this on my website so i won't go into it here. The purpose of having this chapter here is to satisfy myself in putting in a retelling of one of my better story ideas, and also to show how Silmera views her mother and wishes to be viewed by people. And she is something of an attention whore, though she'll vehemently deny it if you accuse her of it. This chapter also explains who Marael is and why people hate her so much. In the end of her reign there were a little over a hundred and forty thousand human beings left alive in the entire world because of her. Silmera does not go into this in her story, because she is trying to focus on the tragedy of how Marael's life was destroyed, not all of the horrible things that she did.
This story is one of the biggest reasons for the cautious way in which Mal deals with the Dark God. He's completely terrified of turning out like her. It's also what makes his decision in the very end to merge with the Dark God so hard. Mal needed to know the reason Marael did what she did so he could have the fear necessary to make his decisions regarding the Dark God that much harder. He knows how Marael was destroyed by the Dark God, and he knows what the Dark God did using her body after he'd taken it from her. He also learns later on just what the Dark God is capable of doing if he gains even temporary control over his body. He doesn't want to become another Demon Queen Marael, even though everything he finds on how to be rid of the Dark God forever tells him to give in to teh Dark God and let it take him. His fear is a necessary part of how his character grows to the point that he's able to make the decision that ultimately saves every life in the Four Kingdoms. Without conflict stories are boring, so he needed something that would give him the inner conflict to make his coming to that decision exciting. If there's no reason or conflict behind a huge decision like that, then people reading the story don't care what happens, feel gyped out of their time, and generally want to kick the writer for messing it up.
The other two chapters there's not much to say about. pretty much the only thing that was changed were the ways that Lilia and Silmera talk, and a few little tweaks here and there to fix text that was unclear, didn't make much sense, or had contradictions in it.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
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