The evolution of Pawsgaard

by Jon

It’s been several months since I published Pawsgaard, the first story in the Guineawick Tales universe. Since then I’ve been heads down editing the third draft of its sequel, Hester and the Kookaburra King. I got to thinking about all the drafts I go through before publishing, and thought it might be fun to revisit some of my earlier Pawsgaard revisions.

Here’s how the story started in the original draft back in 2009:

Autumnal clouds blanketed the skies over Guineawick, thick and white and holding back the valiant efforts of the midday sun. The town bustled with a crowd of farmer-mice: the squeaks and chatter announced harvest time had come at last. A steady stream of strapping young mice marched in from the outer fields, passing through the heavy doors of the East Gate. Some carried bundles on their backs, others pulled wood carts; but collectively they bore the smiles of a good day’s work and the promise of a comfortable winter.

In the next draft, I dropped the occupation-mice formation, and massaged some of the sentence structures, but not much else changed.

Thick white clouds blanketed the skies over Guineawick; holding the midday sun at bay. The town bustled with a crowd of mice: their squeaks and chatter proclaimed the beginning of the harvest. A steady stream of strapping young farmers marched in from the outer fields, passing through the heavy doors of the East Gate. Some carried bundles on their backs, others pulled wood carts; but collectively they bore the smiles of a good day’s work and the promise of a comfortable winter.

And here’s how the final draft of Pawsgaard started:

Thick white clouds blanketed the sky, blocking the hot noon sun. The walled mousetown bustled with twittering whiskers, bouncing tails, and the rapid chatter of hundreds of mice. Merchants shouted from the shade of their stalls; mothers ran errands with little ones circling their feet. A constant stream of farmers returned from the fields, marching in from the East Gate with carts overstuffed. All bore the smiles of a good day’s work and the promise of a comfortable winter.

Harvest had come to Guineawick.

This time, I focused on smoothing out the flow of the scene, and as well as boosting the  imagery with the shouting merchants, the mothers and the children. I also push mention of harvest and the name Guineawick to their own single-line paragraph. This helps emphasize them, without requiring the reader to remember those details from the dense first paragraph.

It’s just a peek into the process; but I know I enjoy reading about how others write and edit their work, so I hope someone else finds this interesting. You can download Pawsgaard for free at Smashwords and wherever finer ebooks are sold.

/jon