Happy Thanksgiving and First Draft Follies

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who is celebrating today and I hope your turkey isn’t too dry. 😉

Now that I’ve done my bit for the holiday, let’s move on to the main event: a discussion about working on that wonderful beast known as The First Draft.

The First Draft of any story is literally the first iteration of your creation. It’s the baby that forms with all the flaws, defects, flecks of beauty, and missteps that come with getting it down on paper. It’s born of passion and feeling and with time and effort can develop into a polished end result that anyone would be proud to share with the world at large.

While it would be great to skip the trials and tribulations of The First Draft, I wouldn’t advise just dashing it off and putting it out there. You only get one chance to make a good first impression and every additional minute of development time will pay off immensely in the long run. Let’s face it, very few individuals get it perfect right out of the gate and while every writer wants to believe that they will make Shakespeare’s Ghost jealous and publishers roll truckloads of cash up to their door, the reality is that every final draft of a story or novel has a trail of redrafts behind them.

Refill your coffee cup, smoke if you got em, and get that First Draft down on paper. The first stage is all about getting it finished; you can make it perfect later.

Advertisements

Lights and Shadows Update #14

Note: This is a continuation of Update #13. This particular section has been giving me trouble but I’m soldiering on. Enjoy. 🙂

She gave him a little grunt as she fine-tuned the image by turning a pair of twin knobs on the twin eyepieces. After several back and forth movements, she was rewarded by a sharp focus. “When you are finished criticizing my ergonomic choices, I would appreciate some of your out of the box thinking.”

Matson shrugged and studied the scanner’s attached monitor. “All right, I’ll bite. What do the computer records say?” he caught her look. “Be honest, we can’t be the first to run an analysis on this stuff.”

“Most of the files have been password protected. I can decode them but it will take some time.”

“Time is something we appear to have a lot of at the moment,” he turned his attention to the control console, “Now why would someone encrypt something that just about everyone on the exploration team would need access?”

Finch looked up. “If the recorders found something that someone decided shouldn’t be common knowledge. Something that would either be a huge gain or an enormous loss,” she stole a look outside. “I hope we can get out of here soon,” she went back to her work without another word.

“It’s times like these that I wish I were closer to my family,” he absently mused as he looked outside, “I have a brother in the Marines that I haven’t spoken to since he was assigned carrier duty on the Southern Front. Now that the Locknar War is over, maybe I’ll get the chance to catch up with him.”

“Anything’s possible,” she replied, “I read a while back that Earth was planning on relaxing the media controls soon.”

He nodded, “That would go a long way toward getting things back to normal. If you can call this normal.”

“Reality is subjective,” she slapped the scanner as the scanning beam flickered in and out, “Something about these crystals is definitely disrupting the scanner and I’m at a loss to figuring out why.”

“We have two people with us that may shed some light on the situation,” Matson pressed an intercom button, “Dr. Burke, Lieutenant Monroe, would you come to the Control Room, please?”

Seconds passed with no answer. Matson tried the intercom again. “They’re less than fifty feet away so why don’t they answer?” He cupped his hands like a megaphone and shouted across the room, startling Finch in the process. “Okay, enough is enough. Wakey wakey, you two.”

“If they were heavy sleepers, they aren’t anymore.”

“If they were ever sleeping,” he leaned over the console and flipped a series of switches, clearing the opaque cubicle walls and revealing empty spaces. He pulled out his pistol and checked the supply in the cylinder. He closed the cylinder and held the weapon at his side. “As much as I would love to accept the idea that they vanished into thin air, the skeptic in me thinks they are trying to escape.”

“Where are they going to go? The path back to the outpost is blocked and we don’t know with certainty what is up ahead.”

One More Step Forward

Day +6 after The Election and I am happy that I can put all that behind me and get back to focusing on my writing. I’ve never been a big fan of Politics because I’ve often found that it tends to bring out the worst in most people and I prefer not in engage in such activities. Give me 400 pages and a decent idea and I’ll spin you a yarn that will keep you busy for hours. It’s what I do.

Of course, it’s way too easy to blame civic responsibilities or whatever on not writing. The truth is that for a while I have been plagued by a lack of inspiration with regards to my stories and that bothers me because Writing is one of those things that has always filled me with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. No, I’m not thinking of quitting and though I’ve considered pulling the plug on Lights and Shadows in favor of more focus on Parallax: Genesis, I hate to leave projects unfinished so that’s not much of an option either.

Yes, I know that this reads like any number of “frustrated writer rants” that pop up out there and though I consider myself the King of Frustration, I keep soldiering on with the knowledge that I’m not alone here and one day I’ll look back and remember this process as an amusing anecdote to share with others.

Words form sentences.
Sentences form paragraphs.
Paragraphs form stories.
Stories form bodies of work.

I’ll pop the champagne cork soon enough. 😉

Sword of Ages, Part I

In all my years serving in the Legion, I rarely had to raise my sword in anger. But when I did, the Heavens trembled at the prospect – Immunes Longinus Cratos

The furs that covered his leather armor gave off a musty odor as he walked through the forest at dusk. From a distance, he appeared as any other barbarian that the land would offer up with the exception of his measured stride. The smoke from the chieftain’s cooking fires carried the aroma of freshly killed deer venison and his stomach threatened to betray him as he found a hiding spot near the camp. His brown eyes studied the camp’s design. No guards other than those at the leader’s tent. He shook his head as he sat down in the shadow of a fallen log and checked his dagger and short sword. Once the sun had completely set, he would creep into the camp and complete his task. Tied to his belt was a small leather pouch containing a collection of herbs he had collected along the way and his trusty wine pouch. After praying silently to Mars and Fortuna, he leaned back against the log and waited for the light to dim.