Behind The Scenes is a blog series documenting my journey as I trudge through the editing/revising process of my upcoming Epic Fantasy YA novel “V. Chronicles.” For every milestone reached, a Behind The Scenes will be posted.
Today’s milestone is celebrating 100 pages out of 270 pages of Draft #3 edits finished! And what a relief that is, let me tell you. *phew* Time to celebrate with a plateful of Christmas cookies and desserts! 😀
First I’ll talk about what challenges I faced, offer some writing tips, and then share an excerpt from V. Chronicles with you at the end of this post! Please let me know what you think. 🙂
This Milestone’s Challenge
Every chapter was a rocky ride, but chapter 7 was by far the worst. The reason being there were two big scenes that didn’t quite fit, yet were special to the story. And a third scene needed its sense of humor tweaked (back when I first wrote it, I had a simpler way of thinking and a boring sense of humor, lol).
The third scene took a while but the boring humor has been corrected, and it’s now a very entertaining scene, in my opinion. 😉 The two big scenes that didn’t quite fit were a trial, though. I went over them again and again, hoping in some way to change them and make them fit in the story. But whatever I tried, they refused to fit seamlessly into the plot. My final solution? Taking them out of the chapter, and finding better “homes” for them elsewhere. They are special scenes, and although they didn’t fit in chapter 7, they do fit in other places of the book. I’m glad of that! 😀
One of the big things I’ve been fixing throughout this 3rd draft is confusing or over-descriptive sentences and paragraphs. No one wants to read a wordy paragraph or a boring sentence, heh, so I’ve been simplifying those sentences, while keeping just enough description.
I’ll use this little snippet for an example, from one of my WIP’s paragraphs:
He kept silent a moment; a stray sunbeam catching his face, casting highlights, and tranquil eyes closed slowly with a flicker of sorrow and pain, tugging from a distant thought of the past.
He kept silent a moment. A stray sunbeam dappled gold across the surface of his vision before his eyelids closed. “Let them be.” Sadness momentarily tweaked his features.
The “after” paragraph might not be perfect yet–I’ll get to it more in Draft #4–but it makes a whole lot more sense and is less cluttered than the “before” paragraph. Yes, the “after” is about the same size, but it’s broken up into smaller pieces that are easier to understand, and the added dialogue helps break it up further and read less boring. I call it progress, but let me know what you think. 🙂 Is the “after” paragraph good?
Now for: Ways to Deal with Unruly Scenes:
No, you don’t have to nuke them right away, lol 😄 ! You have options to consider first!
- Check and make sure how necessary the scene is to its chapter. If it doesn’t fit, or slows down the chapter’s pace too much, then it’s time to consider taking the scene out. Otherwise, a bit of revising may be all it needs to blend in with its chapter.
- If it’s one of those scenes that’s special to the characters and adds depth to the story, think over the rest of your book and see if that scene would better fit someplace else.
- But if all else fails and you can’t find a fit for it, save the scene for a “deleted scenes” post on your blog. 🙂
V. Chronicles Excerpt
Now it’s time to share with you a snippet from my WIP! This short scene takes place early on in the book, when our second main character, Aken, is still a youngster. This is still draft #3, so it isn’t perfect, but I hope you enjoy, and please let me know what you think in the comments. 🙂
From a scattering of clouds overhead fragile snow fell, silent. Blankets of snow all ready caking the earth pulsed a dim eerie glow in the late evening light.
Aken shuffled down a cluster of white-caked steps, and down a curve as the path lowered. A small lantern—hexagonal glass, metal frame—swung back and forth on a short ash pole resting across his shoulder. He continued humming his cheerful song, lantern bouncing—anything to tune out the eerie forest suffocating his nerves.
He paused, ears twitching to listen behind him. He quick spun around to face the krunch’s source.
Nothing was there. Only snow, and the overbearingly silent woods.
“…Huh. C’mon, keep focused, Aken.” He berated himself, and slapped his face with both palms. “I gotta get home with these herbs before Mom get’s mad.” He patted a bundle tucked inside his thick winter coat, then pulled the long wool scarf closer around his neck, just above the chin.
It sounded somewhere to the right. He turned an eye. Nothing there—again. But he couldn’t help a chill fingering up his back. Earlier on his hike to the herb collector’s house, the woods had been quiet and nice. But now, on his way back home through the dark… ‘I just gotta hurry,’ he told himself.
Again, the sound of someone—or something—approaching from behind.
He looked nervously left.
He spun around.
He spun back, and forward, pulse racing. ‘What the?’ Creaking twigs and munching snow came from every direction—everywhere at once.
‘Where…’ he swallowed. ‘What is it?’ He turned, round and round, gripping the lantern pole like a weapon. Scanning every which way, fast as he could.
And then, it jumped out at him.
Aken stared, every hair on his body standing on end.
A black squirrel—pawing the snow at his feet.
It cocked its head and blinked liquid dark eyes up at him. His grip on the pole relaxed. He suddenly felt very stupid; all that fear over a squirrel.
© 2015 E. E. Rawls and Rawls E. Fantasy
A lot more happens in that scene, but we’ll leave it there for now. 😉 I hope you enjoyed this first edition of Behind The Scenes! Please tell me your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear from you.
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