With the completion of the revision of Chapter Five—A Trip to a Real Town of “Tishta the Crystal Orb,” I have finished Part One—Coming Together! That puts me about twenty percent of the way through the novel. I feel good about my progress. Since I did a lot of reorganization and added backstory to this part, it doesn’t really indicate how work much is left.
I added seven scenes of backstory that was already written, although I did a lot of rewriting of these; four completely new scenes; and significantly extended nine, including more scenery descriptions and enhanced character and story lines. I combined several related scenes and completely rewrote one. I pulled one up from way later in the book, and moved two to the next part. I completely removed at least two scenes—I liked those stories, so that was hard.
In the first draft, there were twenty scenes unevenly spanning three chapters. There are now thirty-two scenes, more evenly distributed over five chapters. My word count nearly tripled.
My biggest concern is if the closing scene should really be the end of this part. I’ll go back to it once I dive into the next part. I’m still learning about how to manage the overall story arc. Part One would be equivalent to Act One in a play or a movie. I’m trying to master this concept well enough to tell a good story.
One of the things I found interesting in my editor Anne’s feedback was a comment she made about one of the scenes in this chapter. It was the one where Criften purchased a wagon. It’s a key element in facilitating travel with a vampire.
Her comment was, the scene didn’t move the story along. Later in the book, she made another comment about how the importance of the wagon should have been made clear earlier. This taught me that the original version of the scene didn’t grab her attention like it should have. This is the scene I completely rewrote.
The other problem with the original chapter was, I introduced two key elements, one of which was the wagon. The other was finding a sword for Brant. This was the thing Anne placed the importance on. I removed it from this chapter and plan to add it in the next one. I’ll see how well it fits there.
A lot of the additions were to flesh out Coltan as the main protagonist, and to develop his story more completely. I added exposition gleaned from the (extremely long) backstory I wrote about him in August—what amounts to his addictions to blood and sex, especially together. By adding the letter in chapter one, from him to his wife—his very first victim—I hoped to gain the sympathy of the reader for Coltan.
Some of the work was to give more personality to Criften. He’s a very aloof leader. I tried, in the original draft, to make him more mysterious by not describing him much at all. Anne convinced me to make him more known, and a little more reachable.
I also added more conflict between Malcan and Coltan, beginning with total animosity in the first chapter. Just as Coltan starts to gain Malcan’s trust, he does something that pushes Malcan into another confrontation with him, this one amounting to an intervention. And, that’s where this chapter and this first part leave off. Now that I’ve explained it, I think it really might be a good ending point.
I have to say, once again, what a wonderful writing tool Scrivener is. I can’t imagine trying to do what I’m doing without it, or one of the other writer’s tools.
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