Starting the Redraft of Shards of the Storm

It’s been a while since I posted here, what with school and all. I came to realise that as much as I liked the previous format I had (Motivation Mondays, Writing Craft Wednesdays, and Fantasy Fridays), posting regularly three times a week just took too much of my time.

However, the blog isn’t dead, and with my recent spate of free time this summer (when I’m not working my full time job), I have been steadily working my way through Holly Lisle‘s How to Think Sideways course and building up enough material that I am finally ready to begin rewriting the draft of The Shards of the Storm.

The Shards of the Storm was/is my first serious attempt at writing a major fantasy novel, and after conceiving the idea back in 2005, I put it to paper for the first time in 2006 during my first ever NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately, I didn’t properly plan out what actually happens in the story, so when I went back to revisit it after a couple years, I realised that it was an absolute wreck of a first draft. Still, the core of the story was usable, and I hadn’t lost my love for the original idea, so I set out to basically strip the story to its bare minimum before reconceiving the world and conducting several interviews with both old and new characters.

I’m currently in the process of writing out scene index cards, and twelve are done at this point. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to begin writing the prose for the new draft just yet, but with Holly’s coaxing in her lessons and an impromptu word war with my online writing community, I unceremoniously dove back into my favorite part of writing, the draft.

If you think of the writing process in terms of “zones” of perspective, I would have to describe the initial phase of conceiving the idea for the story as the “Mount Olympus” view, where you are the god of your universe, terraforming and creating a whole new world.

As you progress in the worldbuilding and character development, you zoom in to what I call the “Google Maps” view of the world, focusing on individual cities and other places of interest as you flesh out the people populating your world and write out sentences describing what happens in each scene.

And lastly, once you get to the phase where you begin writing the draft, it’s really time to “get messy, take chances, and make mistakes” (in the words of Ms. Frizzle) as you assume the perspective of Google Maps’ “Street View.” I really enjoy this phase in particular because it allows me to really enter the world and live amongst the characters. It lets me play with the language and call upon all my senses to effectively bring the world to life for the reader.

So, yesterday, I got about 438 words during my half hour word war, and today, I finished the first scene, arriving at 1,450 words and effectively launching the real rewrite of my project. I’m pretty happy with it, though I’m feeling the gears grinding as the rust falls away. I’ll be posting here to keep track of my progress, and I’d love to hear about your own writing projects as well.

It’s good to be back.

2 thoughts on “Starting the Redraft of Shards of the Storm”

  1. Hello Ed,
    Your description of the revision process is very interesting.

    I have tried in the past to follow Holly’s principles of plotting, writing plotting cards and all that. Reading ‘Beginning, Middles en Endings*’ I found that for me, it does not work. My best bet, for the firs draft, is to literally sit down with a blank sheet of paper (or an empty word document), start writing and see where the story and the characters take me. In all my reading of writing books and doing exercises I forgot that is the primary reason why I write.

    After I have a complete draft with actual text, actually describing the actual events, and actually getting the characters across I plan to use your strategy to improve and craft it into a publishable novel.

    The way i see it, writing is like clay modelling. But first you have to create that clay. You can’t model thin air. So my first draft is just getting that lump of clay. In the second draft I can make it a proper figure.

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