My first draft chapters, bottom to top, colour coded by their revision needs
It was like grading the world’s longest midterm paper.
Coming in at 402 pages and with all but the last two chapters having been written some ten years ago, I really had no idea what I was in for when, upon completing my first novel ever (technically my first trilogy, but I count it as one completed story), the time came to read through the entire first draft.
The age of the thing alone terrified me, for how well could a ten-year-old story possibly hold up? I already knew going in that I’d have a fair amount of rewriting ahead of me, but the question was how much?
The Eiffel Tower with its lights extinguished to honour those killed in the recent attacks
My one and only trip to Paris thus far in my life was in 1995.
I was 17 years old at the time and on a trip to London with my father and his lady-friend to visit my uncle – my dad’s brother – and two cousins.
It’s a tiny, seemingly throwaway phrase I hear uttered every day – from my own lips included – and it drives me just this side of crazy.
As a writer, I’m very concerned and interested in the language I use, both on paper and verbally.
Part of the reason I’m such a slow writer is because, for me, every sentence is a search not just a word, but the exact word – the word that conveys the precise sentiment of what I’m trying to express.
Will the real Warrior Princess please step forward?
I originally started my replay of the seasons of Xena Warrior Princess to help me in re-conceiving an old, shelved novel of mine that I want to rewrite set in Ancient Greece.
Of course, I recognize that what will help me most in this endeavour is a thorough study of actual Ancient Greek history since Xena, although a rollicking good time to watch, is historical-ish at best – a work of historical fantasy that’s at times quite heavy on the fantasy, straining the linearity of the historical timeline to the limit.
(This season alone, Xena has dealings with legendary Celtic queen Boudicca, with Egyptian queen Cleopatra, in ancient China, and against the Persian army on their way to the Hot Gates at Thermopylae.)
Medieval commendation ritual
Life in the medieval times was the ultimate pyramid scheme. It was also a perilous numbers game in which, perhaps unsurprisingly, the number that trumped everything (except when it didn’t) was one.
In the history books, all of this is more commonly referred to as the feudal system, which was the dominant structure of society in England for some four hundred years, and in continental Europe, even longer.
In this first of three post on this subject, I’ll provide a general overview of what the feudal system was.
If I were to equate the current stage of my writer’s journey with that of the classic Hero’s Journey, I’d now find myself at stage sometimes referred to as “The Belly of the Whale”.
Which, in my opinion, is perhaps the most perilous of all the stages – even more so than the main confrontation of the story’s climax – for at this stage, the hero still doesn’t have a complete sense of what s/he is up against; a true, Rumsfeldian “unknown unknown”.
That is to say, I’m getting ready to revise my first completed novel.
When it comes to books and words and the creation and consumption of both, although I write nearly every day, I’ve always considered myself a reader first while only second am I a writer.
Of course, there is factual truth to this statement: I literally learned and continued to read stories before I started writing them (although the timing for both is close; I clearly recall writing my first “novel” in grade two).
Even now as an adult, my almost-daily reading occurs earlier in the day (dinner time) than does my almost-daily writing (after dinner, the last thing before I go to sleep).