Wednesday, April 28, 2010

... revised disembodiment

The ends now, and this should be no surprise, return to chapter 1, for a small cleanup and tweak to Nightfall's opening section, thanks to input from none other than Jyre herself (her author, anyway). A weakness in the presentation was pointed out, one that effects the entire plot, and so the situation was rectified with the deletion of two paragraphs and the addition of two totally different ones. For those who have read it, the changes are centered at the very end of that section.

Moving along...

Monday, April 26, 2010

... Lytha's complete story

In the Q.A. "About" page for the rewrite, I say this...

I am also taking an approach to the rewrite that does not demand a sequel. Nothing is being saved, or held back, because I will “get to it in the next book”.
And now, that's true. I ended up peppering in the last few points and details I felt I needed to make into four areas in four different chapters, so there's no big info-dump of Lytha backstory just injected somewhere. It's presented when it's relevant, so it flows with the rest of the content. In the end not even 500 words were needed to get across everything I wanted. It doesn't tie up everything into a neat bow, of course. But it gives the answers to some burning questions that, in all fairness, the reader shouldn't have to wait for COT2 to have answered. They're relevant to this story, not the next one.

So, that's good.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

... just some lose ends?

Work continues on COT Draft 5 as the first three chapters sit in public and feedback slowly trickles in. Last night I was sent a list of grammar oddities from none other than Alex, the author for the original Jyre. (She's really enjoying it!) She seems to have a knack for spotting sentences which could be structured a bit less awkwardly. More work!

I've been doing more than that, though. I mentioned previously that I was doing some additional work on later chapters, focused so far mostly on Chapter 8, and dealing with Sheam. Without giving too much away, the events in the original which were reformed into the events of Chapter 8 were truncated quite a bit, and one thing that never made it into the rewrite was any kind of information about Sheam's past, even how she was hired to work for Nightfall only several months ago. My reason? It wasn't very interesting! It wasn't important to the plot! It didn't drive the story forward! And so it never made it in, and Sheam became something of a mystery, the every-day person in the story, and yet with no past or background, whereas every other character has a great deal of past/background information given.

My inspiration to change that was twofold. On the one had, when thinking up stories I want to tell in COT2: Chronicles of Thieves (just wait, I'll change that title again...) the idea of Sheam's past came to mind. But the problem was the same - it's not very interesting. She's led a very normal, comfortable life, without much drama or strife. (Didn't know I was a poet, did you?) That, actually, furthered the argument for putting that information into COT-R.

Each character in COT-R goes through a particular kind of hell, and faces challenges greater than they've ever faced in their life. That's no less true for Sheam, and in many ways it's the most true for her. All of the other characters are used to danger and mortal peril and having to make life-or-death choices. It's normal for them. For Sheam, it's totally new. So with that realization, I knew that I had to present just how much of a contrast this is in her life. I knew I had to explain where she came from, not because it's important to the plot (it still isn't) but because it's a very important part of her character arc.

So I did it. Chapter 8 was ripe for it, not only because it was already highly Sheam-focused, but it ran rather short, and it already featured another several-pages-long flashback scene for another character. Thus, it fit. In the end, I think it adds a great deal of understanding for the challenges Sheam is facing.

I have another task though, which is more deeply rooted in something I don't want to put into COT2 than something I feel is missing from COT-R. It's a much bigger spoiler though, so I have to be a bit more vague here. It basically deals with a pivotal moment in Lytha's past which is hinted to a great deal but never enough so that the reader has enough information to understand exactly what happened. (If they figure it out, they're far, far smarter than the author!) I, again, was planning to turn this into one of the short stories for COT2, (one of the Chronicles, as it were) but it wasn't right to do so. Even though each story in COT2 will stand alone, I don't want any of them to be simply background information for COT-R and have nothing to contribute to Contravention of Thieves. There's really nothing about this bit of history that will have anything to do with anything in Contravention (still hesitant to call it COT3, I guess) so it really doesn't have any place in Chronicles, which will be subtitled as "From Correspondence to Contravention". It's quite, completely, and utterly part of Correspondence.

So now I am pondering how to work it in. It could either be a simple paragraph, or it could be an entire section. It depends on where I think it would fit best and how much it breaks up the flow and momentum of the story. As always, I will blog about it when I've done it!

Monday, April 19, 2010

... week two, feels like ages

It's only been a little over a week since COT-R began to go live, but last week seemed to go on forever. I lost count of the number of times I uploaded fresh versions of both chapters. It wasn't always due to feedback, either. Some things... I just wanted to change. I'm talking about grammar, of course, and sentence structure, and paragraph flow. I didn't go adding whole new paragraphs and making chapter 1 two pages longer. No, I didn't. Okay, that's a lie...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

... a new site to be seen

Lookit ^

Here's the old one ...

See what I did, there? Also, in the new design, when you click on the PDF it opens it in a javascript window that allows users to easily go between the chapters without having to hit the back button and then picking the next in the list. Cool!

Friday, April 16, 2010

.. an ongoing 5th draft

After another load of feedback the tweaks to chapter 1 continue. Though I got far more criticism than I can do anything about (some of which because I disagree with) I saw a few spots where there was room for improvement without changing anything in the scene. Basically, just a few words here and there of clarification and additional description. Again, the provider of this great list of criticisms was rewarded with a copy of the whole story, and hopes that he'll be able to offer more useful insights for improvement before future chapters go online.

Alas, still no word on the other five covers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

... work continues

I've already posted one update of the two released chapters with a number of grammatical and content fixes. Some of these fixes include changing "back in forth" to "back and forth" and correcting an instance where a character "went" rather than "said". Both of these mistakes made me do the LOL thing.

Other fixes were a bit bigger, and involved adding a bit more information when I assumed people knew what I was talking about. In the end I had a full page of notes of things to fix for these two chapters. Let's see how much I need to fix on the next one!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

... I've Done It

Go here:

I don't think I need to explain much more. I hope everyone enjoys the first two chapters. :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

... fifth draft ahead

The doc's in hand. Full speed ahead.

Edit 1: The minor edits (mostly minor consistency edits which involved either changing one word or deleting a sentence or short paragraph) are all done. I've already begun doing the larger fixes, some of which have had some slightly surprising results. The scene where Jyre and Daelus meet for the first time in Chapter 1 got a very gentle but rather complete overhaul, mostly focusing on the priority of observations to seem more natural and less story-tellish. Chapter 2 is getting some much heavier edits, much of which is focused on the tone of some of Ghost's middle sections, where I think I strayed too far into the absurd rather than the dark comedy that he came to represent. For example, this is a paragraph that was cut.

The room seemed to be as I left it; the sink, tub, and can were all filthy, but didn’t seem to have body parts in them. That was stupid anyway; why would a zombie put its body parts into bathroom fixtures? I had this absurd thought in my mind of it trying to wash its hands, take a bath, or take a dump, and parts of itself falling off, and then realized I was probably crazier than most people told me.

While amusing, this sort of segue into maddness really didn't help move the scene forward, nor did it really add anything to Ghost's character other than that he's slightly nuts. Okay... TOO nuts. He's not really as nuts at that paragraph makes him out to be. The entire section that paragraph called home was scrapped and rewritten to, as I already said, move it from an absurd satire to more the realm of dark comedy.

Edit 2: Can you deal with more Lytha? I sure could. A 1000 word give or take addition to Chapter 2 gives us a few bits of highly concentrated totally new Lytha.

More to come!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

... anticipation

I think it won't be long now. The next draft should get here any day. After that, with just a little more work, the novel will be ready to release online.

I know I keep saying it, but the anticipation is making me a bit crazy. I haven't been working on COT-R for as long as I was on Mission X when that was released, but that still makes this my second-longest running project. Of course this project won't be finished until all of the books have been printed and bound, but publishing it online is certainly a good "beginning of the end" to mark.

Any day now... any day now.