Thursday, December 2, 2010

Steam powered street sweepers and second drafts

I'm two and a half chapters into my second draft.  While most of the things that have happened in the first draft will still happen, they'll happen a little differently.  I think of my drafts as parallel realities.  Do other writers do the same thing?

After a lot of thinking last night, I'm changing some roles around regarding the non-Fenlock portion of the cast.  Instead of being a renegade magician, Valaric's a jack of all trades type of character who quit being a magician after a disaster left a friend of his dead.  Thorvald and Kashgar have been substantially de-magiced, Elluria's still Valaric's former lover but is also representing the Confederation of Magicians on the voyage.  Glitch is now primarily an inventor and much more eccentric.  I'm clipping Jochi and saving him for the sequel, should I choose to write it.  Diversifying the abilities of the crew should make it easier to create more plausible obstacles.  Otherwise, why wouldn't they just magic their way around everything?

I can't decide if I want to take Zephalmachus out or not.  The zoologist/shape shifter provides most of the comic relief.  I like the character a lot.  Maybe I should save him for the sequel as well.  With two fewer crew members, I think I'd have a lot more room to develop everyone's personalities.

The science vs. magic theme will be played upon much more heavily.  Malvernia now has a neighboring city across the river devoted toward science and learning, Euklin. Euklin pollutes the river Ot and the air itself with its factories and is hyper-orderly, constructed in grids of identical buildings.  The streets are cleaned by robots resembling large steam-powered roombas, something I've been planning on working into a story for some time.

The story is still alive in my head.  That's the most important part.  At least that's what I remember reading in On Writing by Stephen King, my second favorite book on the subject.  My favorite writing book is Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block.


  1. ooh, my story also has a steampunk neighbor. They're actually at war with the MCs country.
    And no, my first drafts are pretty locked in. But i'm a plotter, i don't start writing until i have a pretty firm grasp of the story

  2. I've noticed that things don't go as well when I don't have most of the plot in mind when I start.