Had another fantastic weekend with friends – Sean and another friend, Case, came up to form a three person team so we could compete in Grand Prix San Jose, Magic: the Gathering tournament. 571 teams made it out, so the convention center was absolutely swarming with magic players. The tournament was Swiss style but effectively ended when you lost your third match. We managed to stay in through round 9 before dropping our third. Sweet moments included playing the featured match against a team of Japanese pros including reigning player of the year (who Case beat!), and me winning the deciding game of a close match after getting a penalty game loss for improperly storing my cards.
In the midst of the tournament I even managed to write two blurbs to submit to the online workshop I’m taking.
Sean and Case left Sunday afternoon. After dinner, I opened The Wildfire Crown and started to write. Three hours and five thousand words later, I typed ‘The End’. I put poor Gare through a lot. The both of us could use a rest 🙂
Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve finished a rough draft, it’s the sixth. But this project’s different – I raised the bar a great deal, and as you know if you’ve read my previous posts, I have a ton of unfinished versions of this story sitting around. I’d estimate I’ve written close to 400,000 words for this project overall, less than a quarter of which made it to this draft.
A draft which is far from done. Finishing wasn’t quite the emotional high I’d hoped for, because the ending just isn’t very good. It’s not terrible, but it’s got too many ideas in it. Key themes are handled in a clunky manner. A secondary character got dropped. A planned denouement didn’t happen, though I still may add it in if I can get some other elements to work out.
But that shouldn’t be much of a surprise; I’ve spent hardly any time on the ending, compared to the rest of the story. Other portions have seen multiple full-rewrites. The last twenty thousand words are a true rough draft. The good news is, some of it works really well. In the mess I still managed to find some wonderful moments I want to keep, some unexpected developments I want to build around. The setting of the final sequence is really cool, but I didn’t decide on it until a couple weeks ago, so it’s not fleshed out as well as it should be.
So, there’s a lot of work to be done. The good news is it’s work I’m excited to do. I’ve come to realize I like revising more than writing a new scene for the first time. The second version’s always better than the first, and with enough polish, a rough misshapen mess turns into something elegant, beautiful.
I’ve learned more than I could have imagined with this project, but I’m not done yet. I’ve met my bar for the first draft; the bar for the second draft is much higher. I’m going to have to push very hard to hit it. I honestly have no idea how long it will take – I’m hoping only a couple months (or less), but it’s hard to say. It’d be nice if I could get the story out for beta readers before the holidays, though that may be a tad optimistic.
I’ll be taking a break from novel-writing this week, to try my hand a couple short stories, with plans to submit them to the Writers of the Future contest if they turn out well. The first is about two outlaw brothers who concoct a risky scheme to trick the kingdom’s most dangerous thief, only to find out that the thief’s been playing them the whole time. The second is about a were-wolf named Simon trapped in a truck with another were-wolf, intent on turning Simon into a killer, with two humans trapped in back the perfect test to see just how much control Simon has.
Can’t wait to see how they turn out. I think that’s half the joy to all this, each story is it’s own discovery, and no matter how well or poorly they turn out on the page, they always live on in my head.
I’ve decided I like ending these posts with a video. Today this song came on my Pandora stream, and it was perfect for the mood I was in. Hope the same is true for one of you, wonderful readers. Till next time!