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!