Thursday, 10 January 2013

Novella? Ah ... nah.


Seems like an age since I've spoken about Golden Dawn - the first of the Unborn Trilogy. In fact, I don't thing I've ever mentioned it quite like the others. It sort of became the middle child pretty quickly as I ploughed through all three stories and then worked on Dragon. This left my poor trio of novellas as the paranormal with romantic elements that nobody talks about.
But I do still love my little vampire novellas and, since Herald would likely smother me in my sleep if I sat down to write Anubis' Handmaiden, I'm going through what I hope will be its final major rewrite (no, I do not kid myself on the rewrites, but major for me qualifies as a full-blown overhaul).
It'll also be the rewrite that'll drag it out of the novella category. Joining the big boys already crowding my mind. Granted, none will ever attain the size of The Rogue King. That sucker is HUGE. Yes, so big it needs caps.

But I digress.

See, when I originally wrote Golden Dawn way back in 2008, its word count was a modest 28,000. I still have that copy. That's how I know. No, you can't see it. I'd die of embarrassment.
I did a minor rewrite on it in the beginning of 2012, tightened a few things in an endeavour to made it clearer in the places it needed it. After all that, the count was 33,000.
Then, after it came back from its round of critiquing, I settled down to address the issues. I figured it might add enough to reach 40k. But something strange started to happen. Right now, the chapters I've rewritten are all roughly two thousand words long. That wasn't planned.
Sure, the chapters wobble between 1700 and 2500, but evened out ... I've reached the original word count halfway through the story. If I continue at this rate, Golden Dawn will breach 50k.

Why it's happened is no mystery. Not when, just last night, I discovered I'd turned a paltry sum of 70 words into 422. Yes, that wasn't a typo. I'd managed to multiply it by six!

The original went like this (after he declares he loves her in the previous chapter):
Acarna took a small step back, face blank. He detected no repulsion lurking beyond that mask. Perhaps she felt the same measure of affection for him. He hoped so.

She leant against her crystalline cage with such care. As if it might shatter under her weight. Eyes swirling from blue to grey, she peered at him as if suspecting falsehood. "Say it again."

He repeated the words. Strong in his belief he spoke truthfully.

It's okay, I suppose. A bit weak now I've got this as a comparison:
Acarna took a small step back, her face blank. Not an instant dismissal, more than he expected, but the crushing ache in his chest pierced deeper all the same. Herald fought the constricting swell as it made a bid for his throat. He turned from her before she did or said something to necessitate it.

His sword still lay beside the window where he'd discarded it. He calmly collected the weapon. Deliberate in his movements as he inspected the blade's length before sheathing it. The door stood open. Jaw set, he marched towards it. He could not bring himself to linger a moment longer. He wanted to stay. So desperately ached to remain with her.

She already gave him more than he deserved by not laughing to his face. No one can love a demon. Was his mother and her rejection of Ștefan, after everything his father had done to keep them together, not proof of that?

"Herald," she whispered.

By the monster that'd spawned him, the way she spoke. So sweet. It hummed through him, plucking at something deep inside his very being. That one word rooting him where he stood. How could his name, gifted to him by a monster, sound so delectable upon her lips? It wasn't fair. Nor the way it pulled at him. Unbidden, he faced her. At his back, the door clicked shut. It took all his willpower not to rush back to her side.

Acarna leant against her crystalline cage with such care, as if the fragile walls might shatter under her weight. She peered at him, those glorious eyes swirling from blue to grey and back. Did she think he spoke falsely? He'd bared the sole part of him he had long since thought vanished with his brother's death. But to stand there, to think of it from her point of view ... to have heard such a declaration from one such as him. He could believe that she thought his words a lie.

And yet, no repulsion lurked upon her face. Nothing at all to give away what she truly believed. Perhaps ... perhaps she felt some small measure of affection for him. Dare he hope that was so? "Say it again," she breathed.

"I love you." The words spilled from his lips. Thick on his tongue and muffled by the tears his pride would not let him shed. No less strong in his belief that he spoke truthfully. He glared at her, waiting for her denial. Ready for the rebuke he deserved.


*sigh* As you can see, points of the original made it into the rewrite, but there's so much more ... Herald. Small wonder I'm set to double the word count of a story that originally came from a dream. Of course, that means the two stories that come after this have equally major rewrites in store. Can I double those two stories to match the first? The second should be easy, but the third ... memory recalls it goes over three or four days. 50,000 words for such a short time in one point of view without it being boring? I'll give it a shot! ^_^

8 comments:

  1. I think it can be interesting. I prefer stories told from one POV. A lot of my stories come from dreams too. Good luck!

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    1. I don't mind single or multiple povs. Like most things, it depends on the story being told. Some do well from one viewpoint, others require two or more to tell the whole tale.

      I tend to lean towards 2-3 povs.
      My last story, Dark One's Mistress was 71k from only one POV. I knew it would be from the moment I started, yet I was still tempted to put in more than one pov. The only thing that stopped me was how it would've spoiled the story. Especially the end chapters.

      The stories from the Unborn Trilogy have always had epilogues that were from someone other than Herald, now the first two stories seem to have gained a prologue from a third person's perspective. They just seemed to fit.

      And dream-inspired stories are awesome. Got two stories and a short story that way. ^_^

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  2. Wow. I really liked that. Herald sounds like a great character. I LOVE those tortured male characters!! Great job with this and I hope your rewrites go well!!

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    1. I adore tortured male characters too, but Herald has got to be my most conflicted one.

      Finding love after 1100+ years would do that. ^_^

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  3. P.S. After reading the other comment, i had to add this. I just had a dream I knew could be a great story (Which rarely happens to me, normally I only have nightmares) and then I forgot it. I just remember thinking it would be an awesome short story. I'm SO annoyed now. Do you keep a dream journal or anything? I think I might start.

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    1. Ugh, it's bothersome not recalling a dream. I get that at times, when the morning's been super hectic ... there's just that wee bit of memory, you reach and ... poof!

      I don't keep a journal, tried and wasn't for me, but I do recommend trying one. I have strange dreams all the time and I'm afraid such a book would quickly get filled.
      I do find it easy to recall some dreams better than others, usually the wierder ones. I'm afraid I just seem to recall them. Silently dwelling on them first thing while doing the usual wake-up routine does help a tad.

      When it came to Golden Dawn, I just started off telling one family member about it, then another. Of course, it was all rambly like ... "there's this tower and it holds a crystal that's got this woman, only she's an angel, except she's sunlight and there's was this vampire-like guy and he guarded her, only he fell in love and his father, the vampire, exiled him. And there was this valley, with really high sides and this fortress, but he came back and ..." meanwhile my arms are going nuts trying to depict this world I saw so clearly and wanted to share. That probably helped me in recalling it as I did the same thing with my short story.

      Somewhere amongst their eye-rolling and murmurs of "not another weird dream" I wrote out the plot (this would've been in the same day). All the reasons behind, the names, the world-building that came to match what I'd dreamt ... it all came as I wrote the original, which in draft form had to be about 25k. I wrote it so fast that it had no chapters! Just one long scene of him here, there and everywhere!

      And to think, I first thought it'd make a good short story ... pfft. I knew nothing! ^_^

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  4. Wow, the second draft is so much better! My WIP takes place over the course of 6 days (with a short epilogue much later), and it's currently 50k (though I'm hoping to beef it up to the 60-70k range), so it's not impossible! Good luck with all the rewrites!

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  5. Isn't it just! ^_^

    Six days, you say. That's both cool and reassuring. I think that's about how long the first story is, give or take a few days.

    Only eleven chapters left for me to rewrite now! Then it's editing ... hmm, yes, editing ...

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