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Posts Tagged ‘first drafts’

After finishing that latest chapter in BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING, I was forced to pause for a few days to make a decision about point of view for the next one.

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Most of the story is told from the point of view of my Hercules-like character, Gaian. But there are a few other important POV characters, too. And, in this case, I finally decided that this chapter needs to be from the POV of one of those other characters–to wit, the love interest, Mariel.

See, they’re about to visit a neighboring country–a diplomatic visit, of sorts. This particular location isn’t especially important in this book, but it will be in the next. And, while Gaian will never go there again, Mariel will. So her impressions are more important to setting this up for the next book.

That seems obvious when I lay it out like that, but it wasn’t at first. Partly, I suppose, because Mariel had recently had a POV chapter. Doesn’t matter. This is what the story needs.

These are some of the problems of discovery writers. If I was an outliner, I’d have known that from the beginning. But outlines don’t work for me. I either abandon them when the story diverges from the outline at about Chapter Five, or I spend too much time updating them as the story continues to diverge.

Ah well, back to writing. This should be an interesting chapter since, after the experience with the very large lion, Gaian has decided that Mariel needs to learn to defend herself. Not that he’s not willing, able, and happy to defend her, but–in his opinion–everyone should feel confident that they can take care of themselves if necessary.

Poor Mariel. She thought it was hard getting over that mountain pass. She has no idea.

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Nemean Lion

I said in my last post that I was about to write a scene in BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING that echoed the Herculean story of the Nemean Lion.

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Well, here it is (in first draft, anyway). A little background, first. Gaian is that name of my Hercules-like character. Mariel is his wife of a little over a week at this point. They’re on their way to visit some of his relatives along with four others. And, for reasons you’ll need to read the story (when it’s done) to understand, certain people in this fantasy world have small grey cats that act as their guardians. Gaian and Mariel each have one–named Greykin and Kitty, respectively.

Gaian had just dried off and pulled on his clean trousers when he heard Mariel scream. He dropped his tunic and ran, leaping down the small drop of the waterfall without slowing. He hadn’t stopped to grab his sword, laying on the bank of the pool, so he grabbed a tree branch as big around as his upper arm and wrenched it from the tree as he ran.

As he neared their camp, he took in the scene even as he continued to run. He owed that to battle-trained reflexes, but he didn’t think his heart had ever pounded this hard in any battle he’d ever been in, especially as he realized the danger.

Dornan and the others were still fighting their way through the panicked horses. Their spears leaned against the tent and two of their swords lay nearby. Except for Dornan. Goddess bless the man, he still wore his sword no matter how inconvenient it was when trying to hobble horses. But Dornan was also flat on his back, gasping for breath, felled by a vicious kick from Benar’s Tolaro. Couldn’t blame the horse for going into battle mode under the circumstances. Shouldn’t anyway.

Across the campsite, Mariel had her back to the tent wall, staring death in the face. Death in the form of the most gigantic cat Gaian had ever seen. Brave Kitty stood before her, back arched and every hair on end, growling at the monster. Greykin sped past Gaian to stand beside Kitty and add her yowl to the warning. Neither seemed to worry the big cat in the least.

Mariel grabbed one of the spears and pointed it at the big cat, though it was clear to Gaian that she had no clear idea how to use it. Brave, but he had no room for the flash of pride. Not yet. The spear clearly didn’t impress the beast crouching in front of her any more than the smaller cats did. With a terrific leap, Gaian landed in front of her. With the full force of his momentum as well as his strength, he swung the branch at the head of the big cat. It connected with a satisfying crunch.

As the monster collapsed, Gaian dropped his makeshift club and dove in, grabbing the cat around the throat and squeezing until he was certain there was no life left in the beast. Only then did he stand and gather in a sobbing Mariel. Their cats wove madly about their feet.

This is, actually, very much the way Hercules was supposed to have killed the Nemean lion–but not for the same reason.

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I’ve mentioned before the my current work in process, BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING, is inspired by the legend of Hercules–the real one, not what Disney did with it.

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It’s not a retelling, just inspired by the a couple of particular aspects of the legend.

Nevertheless, I’m putting in a nod to a couple of the labors–not all twelve, that would take up way too much story space. Just the first two. In reverse order.

My main character has already slain a dragon, which is a nod to the second labor, in which Hercules slew the Lernian Hydra. The one in my story isn’t a water dragon and it doesn’t have nine heads, but it is a dragon.

And now I’m just about to write a scene in which he gets to kill a lion in a manner very much reminiscent of the first labor, to kill the Nemian lion. Although, again, this lion won’t be quite so formidable as the mythological one. (Making the lion’s hide impenetrable by any weapon is probably just a little much for this story.)

This one should be fun to write.

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Obstacles

Sorry to be blogging late today. Somehow, the first week back to work always seems to be the hardest. And it throws my schedule off all over again.

I’m happy to report, though that this time I mean the obstacles I’m busy throwing up in front of my characters after a brief respite. Have to keep them busy, you know.

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Their planned journey is not starting out exactly the way they planned it–but then, what fun would that be.

Now, I’m going to get back to writing this first draft.

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The weather changed! Back closer to normal–quite pleasant, really. Nice breeze. And I’m making good progress again. Well, not today, but in general. (Other things going on today, like grocery shopping. That also has to happen, sometimes.)

Discovered that I needed to add another chapter. It’s not really adding anything extra to the story. Just, part of it needed to be told from the point of view of a different character–one who’s going to be even more important in the second book. So, a chapter break.

Still, the first draft of BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING is taking a lot longer than I expected.

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I’ll get there in the end.

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Melting

It’s been a miserable few days here–hot and humid. I generally don’t deal well with heat and I really don’t deal well with humidity combined with heat. It’s 90 degrees right now, at ten o’clock in the morning. And overcast. Which makes it really miserable.

And, since my brain doesn’t work any better than the rest of me, progress on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING has slowed to a crawl.

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Still plugging away, but . . . yeah, I haven’t finished that chapter yet. Really hard to concentrate when I break into a sweat just sitting at my computer with two fans on me.

Fortunately, the heat is supposed to break tomorrow. Unfortunately (for my writing time) I go back to work on Thursday. So, this one is just going to take way longer than I planned.

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Forging Ahead

So, I’m getting back on track for all the things I should be doing, including writing. That’s a bit slow, because I’m still more or less feeling my way through this part. But I expect to finish up this chapter and start the next by the weekend.

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I’m also realizing that part of what makes this part a little difficult is that it’s doing several jobs, not just really making clear–and poignant–what the main character has to lose. It’s also in part setting up the second book, possibly to be titled BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM. (Don’t quote me on that. I have at least two alternate titles and I haven’t even started that book yet.)

The second book will have two new important characters and some of it will take place in another part of this fantasy world–a place my main character is about to visit, briefly. So . . . yeah some set up for the second book coming up.

Anyway, moving forward.

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