Randall Flood: Bring on The Magic0 words written so far (about 0% complete)
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TACKLING THE EDITING AND REVISING STAGE OF YOUR NOVEL: PART THREE

Posted on June 22, 2013

A lot changes in a chapter. Chapter 18 went through some major revisions.

First, Keith wanted the events to happen in sequence. I shuffled events around so Logan finds a place to sleep then dreams then goes out and about. Much clearer. By doing this I could get rid of a bunch of "had" statements, which made the action so passive and remote.

The other big change was Keith didn't buy that Logan would think the vehicle would be a serpent. While the language in the original scene was among my favorite, it had to go. The result is a cleaner chapter that progresses briskly. See for yourself below. it might be entertaining to print them out and read them side by side to see the numerous changes made. if you are so inclined, that is.

Here's the original chapter:

Logan snapped to attention as best he could, his head still groggy from his brief nap. He felt around for his knife, finding it where he had left it on the small table next to the couch. He slipped his fingers around its hilt and scanned the small room.

After the incident with the kalibacks and the Breaker, he had stumbled outside, hoping to spy whoever had been on the roof. Try as he might, he couldn't see anyone and sensed whoever had come to his aid was long gone. He had returned to the interior of the building searching for a way up to the roof. Discovering a door that led to a stairwell, he had been disappointed to find the stairs blocked by a cave-in.

Unable to inspect the roof, he had returned to the first floor and done a little exploring. He had selected some sort of store for his shelter.

There was a large area in the front where shelves and display furniture sat empty, their wares long ago sold or pilfered. He had also found a storeroom, its metal shelving bare. He had marveled briefly at the craftsmanship of the metal shelves. No Weavers in the Enclave could manipulate metal to the extent he saw in those shelves. Adjoining the storeroom, he had found a small room with a simple desk, a broken chair on wheels and a long overstuffed couch. After slapping out most of the dust from the weathered cushions, he had locked the door, slid the desk next to it as a barricade, and curled up on the couch to rest. With being consigned to the Pens and his escape the night before, the lack of sleep had caught up with him and he had quickly fallen asleep.

His hand shook as he remembered the fever dream he had fought his way free from seconds earlier.

He stood on an ornate balcony, looking down over a stunning cityscape. The buildings were loftier than any in Apparata, including the reaching heights of the ruins, all even taller than the Broken Lands' tower. Below, he saw hundreds of people running here and there along winding walkways and bridges that crisscrossed throughout every open area. Spots of greenery defined small parks and gardens. They were few and far between and looked more planned than natural.

What had frightened him about the dream had not been the scope of the city. Yes, it was huge, but it wasn't that. What unsettled him was the long metal serpent that wound its way through the city atop a metal path that not even an army made of the finest Weavers from his village could dream of constructing in their lifetimes. Most mastered wood and stone.

Manipulating metal was reserved for smaller scale objects and structures like weapons and windmills. The metal serpent had stopped just below Logan and several points along its side had opened, belching more people from its hidden innards onto a wide platform. They exited, indifferent to having been swallowed by the beast.

What horrified Logan even more was how people who had been waiting on the platform, scurried into the openings, willingly entering the beast. While they were too far away for him to make out their faces, he was certain none of their expressions were fearful. They're body language indicated they were quite used to being consumed by the serpent, possibly doing it several times day with no digestive consequence.

The dream ended with a disturbance by a large building. It appeared a crowd had gathered. They waved signs about. Larger citizens wearing what looked like armor, waded into the crowd, attempting to clear a path.

The edges of the scene faded first, but before the dream completely dissolved he saw the disturbance erupt into a full-scale riot.

It wasn't difficult to remember his dream. It hung in his head, defying the usual conventions of dreams to wane upon waking.

He couldn't dwell on it now. He had to get moving.

He guzzled down one water sac, wringing every last drop from it before storing it in his satchel. He woofed down three strips of dried brindle meat and a fresh leeg seed muffin his mother had packed for him. With no windows in the office, he had no idea how long he had slept.

He pushed the desk out of the way and pressed his ear to the door, listening for any indication he had uninvited guests. Hearing nothing, he opened the door. He swept it open and dashed out and to his left, skirting behind a large stack of flat wooden frames whose purpose escaped him.

He peered intently through the numerous openings in the stack. The storeroom was lit by high windows. He saw light coming from outside. It was either late morning or early afternoon. The light was too strong to be approaching dusk, but he was uncertain.

He shuffled quietly to his left, traveling down a narrow aisle between two towering rows of shelves. The dust around him swirled as if excited at being disturbed after such a long time. He coughed and tried to swat away the cloud of fine airborne particles.

He froze, taking in every nook and cranny of the storeroom, expecting the three remaining kalibacks to come charging at him.

A small bird with red markings on the tips of its wings flew toward the back of the storeroom. He had never seen that species before and wondered how many new creatures he would find in the Broken Lands. He allowed the thrill of discovery to briefly take him. Maybe that would give him a purpose. He could catalog all the new plants and animals he found. But to what end? He couldn't come marching back to the Enclave, waving about his startling new findings and expect them to welcome him with open arms, could he?

Satisfied he was alone, he headed toward the swinging double doors leading to the front of store. He peered out one of the inset windows before pushing the left door open enough for him to squeeze through. The door creaked harshly as it slipped closed. He winced, his eyes flitting toward the open door leading to the street.

Nothing lurked in the front either. Outside, the red fog had mostly dissipated. This surprised him because from a distance, the fog had always looked ever present.

He padded over to the door. The fallen kaliback lay next to the puddle, its immense back to Logan. It had not moved. The Breaker had really killed it.

There was no sign of its pack returning in larger numbers. They must be as spooked by the Breaker attack as I am.

Just as he was about to exit, a blue flash of movement in the air caught his eye. Above, a swarm of orb scavengers swirled about, their upper arms threaded together to form their distinctive mode of transport. Orb scavengers basically emulated the shape of a balloon with the stretchy skin that went from their wrists down to their ankles. The creatures had very slender, hollow bones and rode on air currents aided by the warm jet of flame they could expel from their tiny mouths. No Enclave citizen had ever discovered how they could generate such flame and not burn their throats or tongues because the creatures were almost always spotted in the air. If they came to ground, it was in large swarms and they dropped to the earth only to feed. No one in the village was foolish enough to approach a swarm of feeding orb scavengers. Better to let them have their fill and then allow them to take back to the air undisturbed.

An orb scavenger by itself was not a threat. But a swarm, especially one as massive as what was drifting to the ground before Logan, went beyond dire.

He didn't move, didn't dare breathe as he watched the swarm land on and around the kaliback carcass. He counted over forty with still more dropping from the sky. As they landed, the orb scavengers wasted no time descending on the dead kaliback. With their tiny teeth, they tore into its flesh, feasting with relative cooperation. As more set on the meat, a few disagreements erupted. It was almost comical watching the orb scavengers hock fire at each other in an attempt to stake small territories of ripe flesh for themselves.

Logan backed away, taking a slow breath in and exhaling with just as much caution.

With the size of the kaliback, the swarm would be several hours picking it clean. Noting the sun already dropping in the eastern sky, he knew he couldn't wait that long. It would be dark before they finished their feast. He had to find another way out of the store and skirt well away from the street laden with the orb scavengers.

He shuffled back, pushing the door open to enter the backroom. The hinge let out a pronounced squeak, and he froze.

Outside, through the narrow opening of the door, he saw the orb scavengers pause and swivel their heads toward him.

They cocked their small heads quizzically. In unison, they shrieked and took to the air, darting into the store at an alarming speed.

Logan swung the door shut, hoping it would take out several of the lead scavengers.

He had found out something new about this mysterious species – apparently, orb scavengers fed on more than just the dead.


Here's the new chapter:

After the incident with the kalibacks and the Breaker, Logan stumbled outside, hoping to spy whoever had been on the roof. Try as he might, he couldn't see anyone and sensed whoever had come to his aid was long gone. He returned to the interior of the building searching for a way up to the roof. Discovering a door that led to a stairwell, he was disappointed to find the stairs blocked by a cave-in. Unable to inspect the roof, Logan returned to the first floor and did a little exploring.

He had selected some sort of store for his shelter. There was a large area in the front where shelves and display furniture sat empty, their wares long ago sold or pilfered. He also found a storeroom, its metal shelving bare. He marveled briefly at the craftsmanship of the metal shelves. No Weavers in the Enclave could manipulate metal to the extent he saw in those shelves. Adjoining the storeroom, he found a small room with a simple desk, a broken chair on wheels, and a long overstuffed couch. After slapping out most of the dust from the weathered cushions, he locked the door, slid the desk next to it as a barricade, and curled up on the couch to rest. With being consigned to the Pens and his escape the night before, the lack of sleep had caught up with him, and he quickly dropped off.

He sank into a frantic dream almost immediately. He stood on an ornate balcony, looking down over a stunning cityscape. The buildings were loftier than any in Apparata, including the trinity of the Hallowed Spires in the capitol and the reaching heights of the ruins, taller even than the Broken Lands' Tower. Below, he saw hundreds of people running here and there along winding walkways and bridges that crisscrossed every open area. Spots of greenery defined small parks and gardens. They were few and far between and appeared more planned than natural.

What frightened him about the dream was not just the scope of the city. Yes, it was huge, but what unsettled him even more were the long machines winding their way through the city atop metal paths that not even the finest Weavers could dream of constructing in their lifetimes. Most mastered wood and stone. Manipulating metal was reserved for smaller scale objects and structures like weapons and windmills. He playfully envisioned the vehicle threading along the path below as a giant metal sliff serpent, stopping at several points while openings along its side belched out people from its hidden innards onto a wide platform. They exited, indifferent to having been swallowed by the beast.

What power these people held in their hands to create such impressive machines and buildings.
The dream ended with a commotion by a large building. It appeared a crowd had gathered. They waved signs about. Larger citizens wearing what looked like armor waded into the crowd, attempting to clear a path.

Before the dream completely dissolved, he saw the disturbance erupt into a full-scale riot.
Logan snapped to attention as best he could, his head still groggy from his brief nap. He felt around for his knife, finding it where he had left it on the small table next to the couch. He slipped his fingers around its hilt and scanned the small room.

It wasn't difficult to remember his dream. It hung in his head, defying the usual conventions of dreams to wane upon waking. He couldn't dwell on it now. He had to get moving.

Logan guzzled down the remaining contents of one canteen before storing it in his satchel. He wolfed down three strips of dried brindle meat and a fresh leeg seed muffin his mother had packed for him. With no windows in the office, he had no idea how long he had slept.
He pushed the desk out of the way and pressed his ear to the door, listening for any indication he had uninvited guests. Hearing nothing, he swept open the door and dashed out and to his left, skirting behind a large stack of flat wooden frames whose purpose escaped him.
Logan peered intently through the numerous openings in the stack. The storeroom was flooded with daylight through its high windows. It was either late morning or early afternoon.
He shuffled quietly to his left, traveling down a narrow aisle between two towering rows of shelves. The dust around him swirled as if excited at being disturbed after such a long time. He coughed and tried to swat away the cloud of fine airborne particles.

He froze, taking in every nook and cranny of the storeroom, expecting the three remaining kalibacks to come charging at him.

A small bird with red markings on the tips of its wings flew to the back of the storeroom. He had never seen that species before and wondered how many new creatures he would find in the Broken Lands. He allowed the thrill of discovery to briefly overtake him. Maybe that would give him a purpose. He could catalog all the new plants and animals he found. But to what end? He couldn't go marching back to the enclave waving about his startling new findings and expect to be welcomed with open arms, could he?

Satisfied he was alone, he headed toward the swinging double doors leading to the front of the store. He peered out one of the inset windows before pushing the left door open enough for him to squeeze through. The door creaked harshly as it closed. He winced, his eyes flitting toward the open door that led to the street.

Nothing lurked in the front either. Outside, the fog had mostly dissipated. This surprised him because, from a distance, the fog had looked ever-present.

He padded over to the door. The fallen kaliback lay next to the puddle, its immense back to Logan. It had not moved. The Breaker had really done a number on it.

There was no sign of its pack. They must be as spooked by the Breaker attack as I am.
Just as he was about to exit, a blue flash of movement in the air caught his eye. Above, a swarm of orb scavengers swirled about, their upper arms threaded together to form their distinctive mode of transport. When they weren't hunting solo, orb scavengers flew in an intertwined mass, linking together to form a balloon shape thanks to their stretchy skin from their wrists down to their ankles. This arrangement kept the group aloft by their combined flame alone, allowing their wing flap muscles a respite. The creatures had slender, hollow bones and rode on air currents aided by the warm jet of flame they could expel from their tiny mouths. Because the creatures were almost always spotted in the air, no enclave citizen had ever discovered how they could generate such flame and not burn their throats or tongues. If they came to ground, it was in large swarms and only to feed. No one in the village was foolish enough to approach a swarm of feeding orb scavengers. Better to let them have their fill and then allow them to take back to the air undisturbed.

An orb scavenger by itself was not a threat. But a swarm, especially one as massive as what was drifting to the ground before Logan, went beyond dire. They were an impressive configuration. While each individual was no more than three feet tall, their combined bulk was twice the size of the fallen kaliback.

He didn't move, didn't dare breathe as he watched the swarm land on and around the kaliback carcass. He counted over forty with still more dropping from the sky. As they landed, the orb scavengers wasted no time tearing into the dead kaliback. With their tiny teeth, they ripped into its flesh, feasting with relative cooperation. As more set on the meat, a few disagreements erupted. It was almost comical watching the orb scavengers hock fire at each other in an attempt to stake small territories of ripe flesh for themselves.
Logan backed away, taking a slow breath and exhaling with just as much caution.
With the size of the kaliback, the swarm would take at least an hour picking it clean. Noting the sun already dropping in the eastern sky, he knew he couldn't wait that long. It would be dark before they finished their feast. He had to find another way out of the store and skirt well away from the street laden with the orb scavengers.

He shuffled back, pushing the door open to enter the backroom. The hinge let out a pronounced squeak, and he froze.

Outside, through the narrow opening of the door, he saw the orb scavengers pause, swivel toward him, and cock their small heads quizzically.

In unison, they shrieked and took to the air, darting into the store at an alarming speed.

Logan swung the door shut, hoping it would take out several of the lead scavengers.

He had found out something new about this mysterious species. Apparently, orb scavengers fed on more than just the dead.



Right now, Keith and I are heading into the chapters in the early thirties. With the book topping out at forty-two chapters, the end is in sight.

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