Jon Thysell

Father. Engineer. Retro games. Ukuleles. Nerd.

Tag: excerpt

The evolution of Pawsgaard

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

Unedited excerpts from NaNoWriMo 2011

If you haven’t been following my day by day tweets, I won NaNoWriMo on the 20th, and finished up the final story in the wee hours of the 21st. The total by my count is 51,371 words, by the official count  it’s 51,390.

I’m taking a short writing hiatus (just a tiny one I swear) but in the meantime I thought I’d post a couple of excerpts from this year’s stories. Note these are unedited from draft zero. Okay, I ran spellcheck, but otherwise they’re untouched! It pains me too, cause I can already see problems to fix.

No guarantees anything even remotely like them will appear in the finished works. Anyway, enjoy!

Aman

The mouse dodged the awkward blow, as he expected. They were always faster, but he could endure. The swings that looked mighty to them were as the swatting of fleas. Let them think they could outpace him, outthink him, outfight him. He wasn’t just a lump of muscle; this was his life, tip to tail.

Let them play at war.

Trump

“You’ve heard the rumors,” Pate said. “What do-”

A small light blipped on the desk, and Tom flicked it with his finger. “Here,” he said.

“We’ve picked up the Notrump’s transponder signal,” a voice said. “They’re requesting permission to dock.” Tom eyed Pate.

“Permission granted,” he said.

“Roger that,” the voice said. “Docking to hangar three, ETA eleven minutes.” The light on the desk winked out.

“Just relax,” Tom said. “Inspectors come and inspectors go. You run a tight operation here.”

“Tell that to the company,” Pate said. Tom shrugged, and Pate returned to his graphs. “You don’t have to deal with those fuckers. You lose an ounce of ore, they’re on you like… shit. Fuck. I don’t know.”

“Eloquent,” Tom said. “You want my advice, just don’t be yourself.”

“Fuck you.”

Sorry for swearing. But after a year and a half of working on Guineawick Tales, I needed the outlet.

/jon