Category Archives: Practice Story

Dragons of Wellsdeep- pages 28 &29

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Page 28 has a lot of things to change. Mostly, I think there’s a lot better ways to show this information rather than telling it. It’s going to expand the material greatly when I get to rewrite it.

Page 29 has less to fix, mostly because it’s dialogue, but there are still some things I can do better.

I also just noticed a spelling error I hadn’t seen before. I misspelled Moonhunter’s name on page 29, paragraph 8, by adding an extra “e” on the end. Does that make it French? “Moon-hun-tier”?  I wonder how many other things I have missed.

Happy writing.

Dragons of Wellsdeep- pages 26 & 27 edit

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I actually like page 26 a lot. I didn’t have too much to say in the way of edit comments. I do have a couple things to check. You’ll notice that one of my notes is to “check compendium.” What’s that all about?

When I was reading about screenplay writing – I dare not say “studying” because I don’t think I went that deep – I learned that a lot of tv shows keep “bibles.” This is a list of characters, traits, habits, gestures, episodes – essentially everything a new writer would need to know when he/she started writing for the show. It was at time when I was working on my Sacred Knight story and I knew there would be a lot of characters and information. My character, Steigan, has a birthmark on one of his palms and I could never remember which side it was on. I finally made a decision that it was in his sword hand – a link between him, his sword, and his magic. But then one day I encountered a picture I had flipped just to make the composition better. Now his sword was in his left hand instead of his right. Really confusing! I had to go back to my compendium of notes just to get it straightened out in my head again. The side effect of this was that I now had my subconscious working on why he was carrying his sword in his left hand, and sure enough, it spit out the answer. Yeah, flipping that picture actually moved the story into the realm where the story is now. But that’s getting too far off course. The important thing is that you need to have a central place where you write down details that you will someday need to reference. I call this my “compendium.”

I have a compendium for Sacred Knight and I have one started for Dragons of Wellsdeep, both of which I keep in Celtx. I have a compendium for The Loki Adventures in Evernote because at this point I don’t need something as robust as Celtx, though I will probably need to convert soon when I start writing true episodic adventures. I have lots of notebooks in Evernote which serve as beginning compendiums for several other stories.

So, when I say, “check compendium,” I hope that I have my information already in the compendium and don’t have to go searching back through the story for the details. In this case that is fairly easy because I know it was in the prologue or in the first chapter when I established the names for the weapons.

Page 27 doesn’t look too disastrous, but I do have some areas to expand, places where I can show information rather than telling. I am on the fence about whether or not I want Balthier’s statement to be separate from the following paragraph or not. I think if I merge it all into one now, I’m going to need to break up that awfully long paragraph.

Well, that’s all I have for now.

Until next time, happy writing!

Dragons of Wellsdeep- pages 24 & 25 edit

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Let’s look at my edit notes for these pages:

Page 24 is a lot of telling and prodding for more details. This really is where showing first draft material gets a little hard because I know that this is one of my weaker points. But it’s also very important, so please don’t get too bored. When I get started on the 2nd draft, you’ll start to see how this all rounds out, how it gets deeper because I know where I need to add things.

Do notice that I also point out things I like. That doesn’t mean they won’t be cut or emphasized more, but it’s a mark of something I feel I did right. Sometimes, you do need positive notes in your edit too, even to yourself so that it doesn’t get to feel like, “Oh, I’m such a failure! I can’t write. What am I thinking?” Again, that’s why I’m here showing you what the first draft looks like and illustrating how to fix it. If you’ve got it down, you’ve got a great start on people who only want to write a book but never do the work. So mark the spots you like!

Page 25 – what was this? Was there an explosion? If the ink was red, this page would be bleeding! Look at all the “was” words. There’s a lot of suggestions for improvement, plus a note to go into out-galaxy (OG) missions earlier. Yes, this is the mark of true first draft material. I really am learning the story here. In earlier pages, I had no idea that there was going to be a difference between off-world missions and out-galaxy missions, much like I didn’t know about the abilities of the dragonborn when I first started. I am learning as I go. That’s your proof.

How’s your manuscript coming? Hopefully well.

Until next time, happy writing and editing!


Dragons of Wellsdeep- pages 22 & 23 edit

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Let’s look at my edit notes for these pages:

Page 22 is run amok with alliterations (words starting with the same letter: i.e. Peter Piper picked a patch of pickled peppers). I mostly wanted to notice it on the page when I come back to it because I kind of like it — all those “s” words give the illusion of spinning. However, I know that “spinning on her slippered foot” is really something I do with Keteria from my Sacred Knight series. I really need to make Sundancer different. Maybe she pirouettes. Okay, I really need to get some dancing terms for her — and that’s something I’m only realizing now as I’m writing this. So, if you notice while editing that something like this stands out, it might be more than just a note on the page. Dig deeper into your reason for why it stopped you.

There’s also a lot of “was” words. I do like the connection to the Norse mythology — it emphases the fact that this is an Earth-based universe versus a non-Earth based universe (blog coming on that later). It also ties it in to The Loki Adventures.

Page 23 – still wanting more information from the characters, how they are feeling, showing versus telling items. Then nearing the end of the page I’m getting into a lot of similar sentence structure: he tore, he couldn’t, she was, he wanted, he curled, he felt, etc. That tells me there is a good opportunity to add setting to their actions, and a lot more action and interactions between the characters. This is a very loose lace where I can embroider in more juicy details. That’s why there is the big MORE! at the end.

Are you getting enough in your writing? Maybe a second glance over it wouldn’t hurt.

Happy writing!

Dragons of Wellsdeep – Pages 20 & 21 edit

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When I get to editing this for the rewrite, I need to push the characters more here and how they are reacting off of one another. Especially if you take a look at all the “was” words on page 21. This is an overload for me. That definitely tells me there’s a problem! Yes, it is all telling. Fortunately I have a lot of room to work with, so it’s just a matter of of untying the knot I’ve got here and fixing it. I look forward to it.

Yes, adding those layers and deepening the story is what makes if fun. I promise.

Happy writing!


Dragons of Wellsdeep – Pages 18 &19 edit


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Remember my post from last Thursday about balancing your posts. Yeah, these pages show my definite weakness for setting. Fortunately, that’s why we edit our manuscript!

Once again we’re in the “white room” and there’s a lot of talking. It’s not all talking, so that’s good, but wouldn’t you like to know what Sundancer looks like. I do, but right now it’s in my head. I have so got to get it out.

Another thing I’ve alluded to, but never really said is that they have speed healing. This would be a great scene to put it in. I started thinking about his mouth and gums, how he had steam coming out of his mouth. It’s not possible for him to be unhurt. When was the last time you drank scalding coffee or tea and wished you hadn’t?

Also, notice how with the names, Serchk and Sundancer, we start to have a lot of alliteration going on in the middle of page 19. I’ve underlined all the S’s just so I remember to change something.

Well, I have a lot of work ahead of me to get this part whipped into shape. Bring it on!

Happy writing.

Dragons of Wellsdeep – pages 16 & 17 edit

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We’re starting to get into a scene that was very easy for me to write. I’m starting to feel like I have a good handle on the characters, though what Moonhunter is up to is still a little vague and unclear. It’s developing and that’s good. I’m still also waiting to get his motivation, but I trust that it will fall into place; I’ve been giving it a lot of thought still.

In some ways, writing this is feeling a lot like writing The Loki Adventures. I don’t see the whole journey, only the next step. But, if you’ve been reading the posts I’ve been putting out on Thursdays as well as this one, you know that I’m a big believer in just getting the story out on the page. Once you’ve written something, then you can go back and figure out the actual story. It’s like going to the store and buying clay; okay, that part has been successful, but now you need to mold it into something.  Honestly, I’ve reached a point where I wish my painting was as easy as my writing (strange, because for quite a number of years it was the other way around). Enough whining. Onward!

On these two pages, I’m wanting a lot more description. Yeah, that’s no shocker. I know that I first write with a lot of action and dialogue. You might be completely different. I know authors that write tons of description in their first drafts, then they have to go back and work it in. But for me, I’m moving with the story, transcribing what’s happening. Then I have to go back, re-dream the dream so to speak, and pull the setting out of my head to put it onto the page.

Now that I know exactly what Moonhunter is up to in the next scene, I really need to go back and heighten his worry that Balthier knows something. And because he’s developing his special powers, I need to really slow down and introduce the reader to what he’s doing and why. Again, I know it’s in my head. I just have to get it out on the page for the reader. I know you don’t realize it, but when Moonhunter’s voice deepens, that’s part of the dragon change and him gathering fire within him. You’ll see that again in the next couple of pages that reference is made to it again, along with a note to myself that when Moonhunter is aboard the ship with Balthier and he makes the room hot that it’s him working on his dragon breath. I might not have even remembered that when I was editing those pages, but I did make myself a note to go back and check.

Get it out, get it down on the page. Form into something later, once you know what you’re building.

Happy writing!

Dragons of Wellsdeep – pages 14 & 15 edit

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Well, there’s not really a whole lot to say about these two pages except that my pronoun problem which I spoke about in last week’s post has gotten so much worse. I’m still not sure how to rewrite this other than to slow it down and add setting and narrative, but that will come.

Because this is a repeat problem, I really don’t have a lot to say about these two pages. I hope your own writing is coming along well.

Don’t forget: if you’re having any questions on your own work, patterns that you’re seeing and would like to solve, send me an email.

Until next time, happy writing!


Dragons of Wellsdeep – pages 12 & 13 edit

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The drafts on top are the original manuscript pages as it has been written. On the bottom are my edit drafts with my handwritten comments.

I found page 12 surprisingly clean, but again there is a lot of dialogue. Still, there are some actions that can be cleared up. This would also be a good page to insert more setting if I found that I needed some room. I’ve found that if I come across a scene where additional dialogue or action can be added, then the scene wasn’t pulling it’s weight in the story. Some people would ask if then I’m just bloating the story with more words, but I like to think not in word count but effectiveness. If I have a character going back and forth between places, chances are I’m not being effective in my order of scenes. In the first draft of The Three Books, I had Steigan going and coming from Whalston several times. Once I lined out the scenes and reconfigured the story so that he left Whalston and never went home again, it became more effective. The counter to this is in Manifest the Magic when he goes to and from Searn’s fief to Lilinar multiple times, but each time he goes back to the fief he thinks of himself as going home, which has effect when Searn places him in the Temple. I can always cut words later after I have the structure of the story securely in place.

The object they have retrieved (the rock) is an item of concern for me in these two pages. For me, while I’m writing this, I know it’s a placeholder. I don’t have the whole backstory for what they were doing and why this object is important. Because, after all, if it’s not important, then why did I have this whole last scene? True, it might be something I’ve written for myself — a way to have discovered some of the powers of the dragonborn. The prior scene might well be unnecessary when the story has been written. I don’t think this will be the case though. I’m sure it will have some usefulness; I just haven’t written enough to discover it. Again, this is where I’m trusting the process. My instinct tells me that it’s important. So, it’s a placeholder and I know that I will have to figure out the backstory before I can rewrite these scenes.

What concerns me more is what’s starting to happen at the end of page 13. Do you see the overload of pronouns which I’ve underlined in the last paragraph. If you really look at it, you’ll start to see repetitive sentence structures as well. He brought, he gathered, he breathed… his lungs, his hand, his skin. It’s always “he” followed by a verb or “his” followed with a body part. This means I have a lot of rewriting to do to smooth this out. I feel like this is a sign of something, but I don’t know yet what I should be picking up from these clues. I do feel like this pattern is similar to a “trigger word.” I’ll have to consider this for a while; I certainly have never claimed to know all there is to know about writing — in fact, I recently learned about a new writing terminology which I had unknowingly stumbled upon while writing To Birth A Destiny. I had discovered it all on my own before another writer mentioned it to me and I started researching. I’m not sure I agree totally with it and the practice they are preaching, but I have much more research to do on it before I can say that I’ve added it to my toolkit and can use it correctly. It made me wonder about some of the things I’ve judged over the years, but in researching examples, I decided that I stand by my critiques, though there are some things I would have reworded. Sorry for being cryptic here — I will discuss all this at another date once I’ve gotten a handle on it, but I do want you to take away from all this that even I am still learning.

I hope you are learning lots from this too. If so, please don’t forget to support me on my Patreon page and let other writers in your online and offline circles know about this blog so they can come get the help they need too. Let’s make better stories!


Happy writing!

Dragons of Wellsdeep – pages 10 & 11 edit

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The drafts on top are the original manuscript pages as it has been written. On the bottom are my edit drafts with my handwritten comments.

When the writer gets confused about what’s going on, it’s not a good sign. I did have to ask myself why I had Moonhunter waste time reaching over the seat for Balthier unless he was checking to see if he was okay or maybe to hoist him back into the seat. You’ll notice that a lot of times I do ask myself questions when I’m editing and that’s to help spur my thinking. I’m throwing out suggestions to myself. I even do this when I’m editing for others to help stimulate their ideas.

I have been told repeatedly that I have an issue with dangling participles and modifiers. Even after 40 years of writing, I don’t claim to be great with grammar. These dangling thingies have made no sense to me for years. Then, my youngest son sat down and explained it to me using one of my stories. The light bulb went on. I saw it, I got it. Now I’m beginning to see it in my writing as you can see from the bottom of page 10. That’s a good sign that I’m learning. To keep this learning going, I now have to learn how to fix it and once I can do that I’ll begin to reprogram myself when I’m writing so that it’s automatic as I’m drafting. This might be a very long way for me to go, but I’ll get there. I use to be very heavy with the trigger words of “was” and “had,” but I’ve retaught myself. There’s a lot of times when I’m writing that I’ll recognize that a sentence will need to be rewritten and my brain will work faster than my fingers so it automatically comes out cleaned up. I know I will get to this point with dangling modifiers too, after I learn and train myself to fix them.

Page 11 looks like it was run over by a big truck and it’s bleeding out everywhere. The writing was not tight. There are things missing, mostly description and series of event issues. I can hear the audience screaming, “More, more, more!” That’s not a bad thing; I just have to work harder.

I will transcribe all my chicken scratches here here for you. The passage should read:

When his eyelids opened, his vision filled with the sharp clarity of dragonvision. A red veil magnified his attackers as though they were only meters in front of him. The three men standing on the ridge wore cloaks of tanned hide. The one in the white and black fur yelled at the other two men, who were having a hard time holding onto the large blaster…

It’s still not a perfect edit, but that’s how I have it suggested to read now. It gives me a starting point. Having something to work with is important. A description of their attackers probably should come much sooner than this and I’ll rewrite to have the description used as a pace controlling device (so much more on that later!). As I’ve said before, this really is a first draft and I’m discovering the story as I’m writing — I didn’t know about the dragonvision until this moment. Surprise! So, my challenge will be in weaving all these elements in so that the reader isn’t jarred while reading the story. This is working the craft. It takes time and patience. If you aren’t willing to work it to be your best with all the knowledge of your craft that you have at that given moment, then maybe you should stop. It’s like me with learning about the dangling modifiers — I didn’t know any better before, but now I do and I will fix forward. I want to write and publish the best stories I can and I hope I’m always improving. I hope you desire the same thing.

Go back through the page and read the proposed changes. How would you incorporate changes? What would you do? Do you see something I missed. Comment below. Then we can have fun and see how the page develops into the second draft together.

Don’t forget about my Patreon page. Let other writers in your online and offline circles know about this blog so they can come get the help they need too. Let’s make better stories!

Happy writing!