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Posts Tagged ‘first drafts’

It’s time. I will now be pausing work on BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM

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in order to start the revisions on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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There’s still one critique outstanding, but I’m going to go ahead and start anyway.

I got BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM to the midpoint and it’s almost certainly a good idea to pause while I’ve got a good idea (and notes) on what’s going to happen in the next couple of chapters. That way, hopefully, I won’t lose very much momentum when I switch back again in a month or so.

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This is another on of those discovery writer issues–but a good one. I’m still writing out some of the consequences of that escape in my last post. For Kaleran. But also, as I consider it, this little contretemps is likely to set the antagonist off balance. Maybe make him do something . . . ill-considered, hasty. Which, actually, is just about what should happen at about the midpoint of the story, in this case BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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The trick will be to keep it from precipitating things too fast, because this is still only the midpoint. But, I think I’ve got that covered by what a couple of other characters are about to do next.

This is why I’m still a (mostly) discovery writer. I love discovering the story while I’m writing it. This is what keeps it fun for me.

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Kaleran is still surprising me. Turns out he’s sneaky, too. Well, with his past, he almost had to be, but I hadn’t planned on that. Well, no doubt it will prove useful elsewhere in the plot, too.

Here’s a snippet I just wrote from BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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Someone thought they could lock him in the same cellar they used to lock him in when he was a lot younger. Someone also forgot that he’d escaped from that cellar before, because they think the door wasn’t really locked that time.

“What are you doing?” Alander—Uncle Alander—asked.

“Getting us out of here.”

“I tried the door already. It’s too strong.” He stopped and eyed Kaleran for a moment, then shook his head. “There’s no way to get a good grip on it, so probably too strong for you, too.”

Kaleran smiled grimly. “I’ve been in this Tower for thirteen years. I spent a good deal of that time figuring out how to evade or escape from Uncle Cordan.” He grimaced. “Until he started sending troops of Tower guards after me, anyway.”

He reached up to shoulder height with only a slight wince and counted three bricks over from the door frame. He grasped the brick and tried to pull it out. Hmm. Maybe Uncle Cordan had discovered his secret after all. He ran a finger around the top of the brick. Nothing. Around the bottom. Oh, right. He hadn’t been quite as tall back then. He dropped his hand to the brick immediately below and tugged. It pulled out easily, revealing a shallow space just large enough for the small hammer hidden there. It was a little rusty, after all this time, but that wouldn’t matter.

“What’s that for?” Uncle Alander asked.

“Rel—” Kaleran cut himself off. He wasn’t ready to reveal Reldan’s existence just yet. “A friend once told me that it’s always wisest to attack at the weakest point. The weakest point of a door is the hinges. And this door has hinges on the inside.” Something Uncle Cordan never had realized, apparently.

The other man smiled. “Ah.”

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I introduced Kaleran in this post. He’s not behaving according to plan. And it started right there.

His character arc in BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM was supposed to be a redemption arc. The character who was deceived into the wrong path but changed sides in time.

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He’s not playing along with that plan at all. And I’m not really surprised after that start. This is what sometimes happens to a discovery writer. Characters go off script and, since the script itself–A.K.A. the outline–is very vague anyway, there’s less chance of reining them back around.

Very often, though, I find I prefer what flows over what I had planned, anyway. More often than not, it feels more authentic for the character. And this is still only a first draft. Anything can be changed in the revisions. (Some changes just involve more pain.) So, I’m going to see where this leads. Who knows, events may still lead him back to where I planned for him to go. Or to someplace better.

Fortunately, the other characters are so far sticking to the script.

 

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Today it’s Merlanan’s turn to be introduced. Well, reintroduced. He first appears, briefly, at the end of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.

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But, of course he was much younger, then.

Here’s his first scene in BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM:

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Margan patted Sunbeam’s shoulder as he finished up brushing the palomino warhorse down. The palomino had been a birthday gift, three years ago, brought all the way over the mountains from Versenna by Uncle Alander on one of his regular trips as private courier for secure messages between Mother and her family. The gift had only made Margan more restless.

As long as he could remember, Margan had known that he didn’t belong in Khatar. There was something he was meant to be doing and it wasn’t on this side of the mountains. That feeling had been growing stronger the last couple of years. Well, probably it would have grown stronger anyway, but having his own horse to make the journey with hadn’t done anything to lessen it, certainly. Probably neither Mother, Uncle Alander, nor Grandfather had really expected it to.

He desperately wanted to go visit the place where his father had died, too. Just to feel some connection with the man he’d never had a chance to meet. Not that he was expecting to find anything but the cairn, but . . . .

The spring equinox—and his birthday—was in three days. He’d be eighteen. Margan meant to leave soon after, but he still needed to persuade Mother and the others that he was old enough to undertake this journey. Finally. With the king on their side, they had the power—if not the right—to stop him.

He lifted his face briefly to the sky, feeling for the currents of weather, and smiled. Yes, he was certain the weather would remain good for at least that long.

He gave Sunbeam another pat. “Wish me luck, boy.” Margan’s cat, Mrow, followed, tail high.

As is hinted at the end, there, he does have an ability to sense changes in the weather that will play an important part later on.

In other news, the first of the critiques of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING has come back. I plan to get the next two chapters of BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM done before going back to revisions. I can see those chapters in my head, so now’s the time to get them out.

Based on that critique, though, I’m also going to have some thinking to do about how to publish these two stories. They’re very closely tied together. And I hate cliff hangers. But it was unavoidable in this case. So, I need to figure out how I’m going to handle that.

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It’s Rose’s turn.

It was difficult to choose an introduction for Rose. She’s a brand new character BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM.

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She’s also the youngest of the POV characters, which means she’ll likely be the one to change the most, in some ways. (Also, it’s quite possible that Rose’s name will change before this book makes it out into the public.)

So, I defaulted to her very first scene. Which also happens to be the first scene in the book–at least right now. All of this is still first draft, after all.

For the third night in a row, Rose dreamed of a very odd palace. It was nothing like the palace here in Versenna, which she’d walked by more times than she could count on her way to the Temple. This palace was all open courtyards and carved arches. Totally impractical. There’d be no way at all to keep the rain or the winter chill out. But . . . other things about this dream made her think that the palace might be somewhere on the other side of the mountains called The Spine of the World. They said it was drier, there.

As on the previous nights, her dream eye was drawn to a young man. The burnished gold of his hair was one of the things that made her think this dream location might be Khatar. At least, the traders that came over the mountain pass from Khatar were the only people she knew who generally had hair that color—well, and a few people whose parents or grandparents had come from Khatar.

This time, the young man rode up to the palace on a horse only a slightly darker shade of gold than his hair, with a creamy mane and tail. Rose had never seen a horse that color, but she had to admit they made a striking pair. Then again, she’d thought the young man was striking whatever he happened to be doing in her dream.

Suddenly she sat bolt upright. “Fatherless, Weather has grown strong and true, taught and guided by blood, protected by blood and Temple. Now the time arrives to seek his lost father and complete the prophecy.”

Her father squeezed her hand. “Wake up now, Rose.”

Her eyes fluttered open and her brows knit, momentarily disoriented. Why was Papa holding her hand? Oh, right. Because she’d had the same dream, or one very like it, for two nights running—three, now. Papa was a Dream Guide, as Rose would be too, someday, and he had to touch her as she dreamed in order to share the dream so he could determine if this was a true dream.

Papa released her hand and began scribbling something hurriedly on the paper on the little table by her bed.

Now, if you want to know what the reference to “Weather” means, well, you’ll just have to read the next blog post, which will introduce another character.

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This is Gaian, Kaleran’s father. Everyone thinks he’s dead–or, well, something like dead. The events at the end of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING, left him with no memory of who he is, where he came from, or why he’s in the forest.

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He’s basically been boiled down to a single imperative–Protect those who are weaker. And, since his character is (loosely) based on Hercules, pretty much everybody is weaker. Up to now, he’s mostly done that by removing (permanently) any bandits or other nefarious people he’s found trying to take refuge in the forest.

This isn’t really his first POV appearance in BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM, but it’s a better introduction to who he is now.

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But, then, this isn’t really his introduction, either, since he’s the main character of the series. He’s just rescued Rose–who I expect will be introduced in my next blog post–and escorted her back out of the forest to her family. (Snow is a white raven that he rescued as a nestling, earlier.)

Gaian stood in the shadow of the trees and watched Rose’s reunion with her family. At some point, long ago, he was sure someone had greeted him like that. He had an impression of a woman with pale, pale blonde hair. He just couldn’t remember who she was. Or where.

How long ago was that? He couldn’t remember that, either. Though he knew he’d been in the forest a long time. Cat was getting old, at least. Just this last winter she’d welcomed a new cat who’d come into the forest from somewhere. Gaian had named the new cat Blue Eyes for the distinctive color of her eyes. It was Blue Eyes weaving around his legs right now, while Cat stayed in the shelter of their cave, sleeping.

He didn’t feel like he was getting old himself. Well, people lived longer than cats, he supposed.

Snow, now. Gaian watched the raven amusing himself with another stick. Snow and his mate had raised how many nestlings of their own in the tallest tree at the edge of his glade? He tried to count on his fingers. Hmm. More than fifteen nesting seasons. Probably not as many as twenty. That was as close as he could reckon it, not having paid that much attention to the passing of time.

And in all that time, the only other human voices he’d heard had been bandits and deserters in the few moments before their deaths. Not once, until today, had he heard his name—or even thought of it. In fact, it had taken him a moment to remember his own name. And he still wasn’t sure he’d remembered it exactly correctly. ‘Gan’ was close but . . . not quite right.

It made him a little sad to think that. Befitting his mood, a chilly drizzle started. Gaian shook himself and raised the lion’s-head hood of his cape to keep the rain off, though that likely would have frightened Rose.

Rose was a problem, living so close to the forest. As a descendant of the Goddess, she definitely had a claim on his protection. And the forest wasn’t safe. It certainly wouldn’t be safe for her to get in the habit of running into the forest. Well, the first thing he needed to do was dispose of a couple of bandits’ bodies. Then backtrack and try to ascertain if they were alone or if there was a larger band he needed to deal with.

And . . . and maybe he’d come check on Rose a little more frequently.

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