For regular followers of my blog you know that I’ve been hung up on editing the first draft of my first attempt at a professional work. Okay, let’s be honest, it’s more like my third draft. But I thought I might give you a look at what that process looks like, step by step. So I will be taking a very old work (oh god, why?) and doing a quick five step editing process.
Note: I am NOT saying that this is how editing has to be done. I am merely giving you an inside perspective of my creative process. Take what you want, leave what you don’t.
I found this note scrawled on a couple of lines of my notebook paper. I remember writing it. I was sitting in my history class listening to life in the Edwardian Era. The note was:
-Half-Elven Edwardian marries and gives birth to a man with whom she has nothing in common. After giving birth to her first child she is free to seek out actual love, which she finds in the form of an orc.
I had to go back and look at my notes in which I found out that in aristocratic Edwardian society men and women were allowed lovers so long as they were very discreet (especially women) so long as she did not flaunt the relationship the husband wasn’t really up for caring.
I remember finding it fascinating and different from the Jane Austen concept of relationships. So, to get in the mood, I put on Mansfield Park and jot down some scenes.
My paper now looks like this:
- Chapter 1: Giving Birth and introducing the society (Should I use London/Great Britain or make a fantasy land that is very London/Britain inspired?)
- Chapter 2: Ariadnea’s first party after giving birth, a year after the birth of her son. The conversation with several friends about their lovers.
- Chapter 3: Leftenant Yurgot Vo’Morn, of Her Majesties Navy, arrives at a luncheon, late, smelling of dog, and rustic. Her physical and visceral response to his utter masculinity (Orcs are celtic based, old traditionalists)
- Chapter 4: Getting caught in the rain, first kiss.
So that’s a fascinating little beginning. Right? This is what I call my Outline Draft. It’s not a traditional outline, not really. But it is how I plan things. Now, if this were a full fledged novel (and hey, one day it might be) I would continue doing this for about 20-30 chapters. I would have the entire story done out in these little blurbs.
I’m not sure, at this moment, what the main problem would be: pregnancy, the relationship becoming common knowledge, possible death of the leftenant, the culture of my orc character getting in the way, the leftenant getting married, I haven’t got a dang clue. But that would be all of these little snippets.
Next I take the scene that is most vivid in my mind and write it. For me, right this moment, it’s that kiss.
He was tall, so tall. Her fingers trembled as she clutched the wet fabric of his uniform. He pulled her closer. His head dipped. The rain fell around them as his mouth dipped down to hers.
Okay, it’s not horrific. But it’s certainly not what I want it to be either. This is what I refer to as my rough draft. There’s almost no emotion, it’s just a series of what happens. The only sense that I evoke is the wet fabric. I used the word ‘dip’ twice in as many sentences. Ick. While I wouldn’t be disappointed if I read that in a book, I certain wouldn’t be invested either. So what can I do?
“There’s no use for it,” His green hands splayed on his hips, looking out over the field. “We’ll be stuck here till the rain lets up.”
She paused, her kerchief pressed delicately to her neck, “Pardon?”
“We can’t go out in that. Not with the moorecats out, we’ll be hunted.”
She shook her head, droplets flinging from her golden curls. “My husband will be worried if I do not make up home in time for dinner sir. You are armed, and of the royal forces, are you not?”
He smirked, a quirk of fang showing over the mossy green of his lip. “I’m an orc, Missus, not a god. Even I can’t fight off a pack of moorecats in the middle of a mistfall.”
“Oh, I see.”
She didn’t. She didn’t see at all. She was ridiculously aware of the intimate confines of the hunter’s cabin. The single room was barely large enough to fit a fireplace and a bed. The sound of the rain on the roof muffled the sound of her heart pounding.
“Are you worried, Lady?” he asked. He was watching her now, with those ruby colored eyes. She wished he wouldn’t. And, for all that, she loved that he did. It was all too easy to imagine falling with him unto that bed. To feel him peal away the layers of her clothing with those big green hands. She wondered what it would feel like to undo the thick twisting braids.
Okay, so that’s what my second draft looks like. My next step? Showing it to people and getting opinions. That will be covered in part 2.