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!