Since December 29th, 2014 I have been re-reading through my draft zero of The Trials of Blood and I've been taking notes. My readers will know that I finished draft zero on November 30th, 2013. Then I began writing The Burning City, and let The Trials of Blood sit and rest. For an entire year? You're probably thinking I'm crazy. "You could have had that manuscript edited and published by now!" Yes, along with countless others who have self published recently. I don't want to be lost in that sea of independent authors. I'm taking my time, damn it, and when I do publish, it will be with the best possible work I can provide. And that takes time. Every time I had looked at my manuscript for The Trials of Blood, I was blinded: I couldn't see anything wrong with it. I'm not saying there wasn't (because there was, there IS and there will be when I'm done!), but it was too fresh in my mind. It was like a new pet; infallible, even when you witness it pee on the carpet. You didn't see anything wrong with it. Well, spend some time away from that same pet... and when you return, you'll notice the stains on the carpet.
And you'll want to fix them. That is a terrible metaphor.
But here I am: 50% done with reading through The Trials of Blood (I've been reading on my smart phone, and after my smart phone screen cracked beyond readability for text, I bought an inexpensive tablet to read on). I hit the 50% mark today and I wanted to share with my readers my progress. You've been here during my hand written page phase (what was I thinking!?), through my learning the difference between ".." and "..." and it's and its. I'm a rookie, a new kid, as green as you can get but I'm also determined. I kept going. And here I am, reading through my first finished story, half way through my second, and finally sitting down to begin the mysterious editing and revision phase.
I can finally read my manuscript for what it is: a skeleton. It has some entrails, some areas of fatty meat that still cling to the bones. Some complete passages and chapters that will stay intact. But overall, it was me getting the words on paper - and now I'm questioning those words. I have many questions about why things happened, why characters did this, why the bad guy did that, and I'm determined to answer them all. And in the process, tell a better story. I'm going to dust off this skeleton, make him sit up straight and tell me the story.
I have 20 pages of hand written notes about characters, scenes, chapters. I've jotted down my character descriptions so I can type them up and stop forgetting what Starr's hair is black and that Nox basically wear's a man's corset.
December 29th, 2014 - Page 1
- Describe the Glass Plains better in the beginning.
- Explain that demons are not the norm. People seem pretty OK with them and they shouldn't be.
- We need Allyn introduced as her brother immediately so there's no confusion.
- Tor'vic and Saz'lai need to be smaller areas and there needs to be a bigger town, a third place we don't visit yet. Maybe a place that Blood Mage's visit.
- Malisyn would have noticed the blood sooner (after she searched the girl's pockets, she noticed it).
- Need to define what a Blood Mage and a Guardian pairing do. SO far, we have only seen one actual pair (Wren and Porteur). Re-establish it as the norm.
- Nox's introduction, while cool, isn't very useful. He should be with a Guardian (!) to re-establish that connection. Maybe the Guardian is killed. But he on patrol, he shouldn't be alone, Captain or otherwise.
- Nox (and all blood mages) should have a system to hang their bracers from their belts so they don't have to set them on the ground.
- Explain / emphasize the "Abandoned" status of Malisyn and Ally.
- Is there on or other Ry'one names still alive? Does it mean something, the word Ry'one, like "Fire"?
- Does the demon kill off the other [children with the last name of] Ry'one, leaving only Malisyn and Allyn alive? Something about the name ticks the demon off and it knows the BloodGate Heir lives among the orphans. After years of searching, killing, it discovers just one word: Ry'one.
- The second boy Malisyn finds, younger--someone she knew. It could be him.
December 29th, 2014 - Page 2
Notes in margin:
Kellea - Rides a small, fast white horse.
Lianca - "Much older" than Nox. Blonde long hair kept in a braid.
Matron Hawk - Dark, beady eyes, sweats. Short cropped hair, hooked nose, tight smile and jaw.
Blonde = female / Blond = male
- Nox asking at the beginning about their "given" names is now technically foreshadowing.
- Why is the Tor'vic militia so disorganized? Why does the Blood Citadel not "officially" assist the town that rests at their borders?
- Because the Blood Citadel bows to no king, queen or throne. They don't officially "help" anyone for free
- Kellea the Nightwalker - Dark blue mask that glitters like the night sky. Black robes. Black gloves. Black sturdy boots. Leather belt to hold Deatstone and dagger upon.
- Ubel in the body of Elsie, his wife?
- Why did Ubel warn the Nightwalker?
- Why did he kill all the other Nightwalkers and make Kellea flee for her life?
- Ubel originally possessed the body of Elsie to give a warning to the Grand Master. If Ubel really is angry at Av'niel, why would he warn him? This needs to be fixed!
And this is all just one page. From these re-reading notes, I have a few new things to add:
- A Guardian for Nox, who will presumably die very quickly (+ 1 scene)
- A different motivation / set up for my antagonist that ties directly to Malisyn and Allyn's past in a clearer way than it did before (+1 to antagonist motivation)
- A strengthening of some core concepts such as the Mage and their Guardian bond being forgotten. (+1 for solid ground rules)
I have 19 more pages like this, you can imagine that I've got some changes in mind. I just wanted to share with everyone my creative process, how it is an ever changing environment, and to never stop writing. Whether it's notes, whether it's a chapter, a conversation, a whisper. Write it.