Monday, October 23, 2006

Back to the beginning...again

Yesterday I went back to Chapter One, scene one, to begin revising THE NOTORIOUS KNIGHT. I was working away when I realized there was one bit of backstory that I might have written better in the original draft of Chapter One. You see, while there's only one complete first draft of the entire book, there are actually four drafts of Chapter One.

Draft #1 consists of Chapters 1-4, with a "scenette" (part of a scene)

Draft #2 consists of Chapters 1-13 with a different scenette

Draft #3 consists of Chapter 1-11 (which includes parts from what was Chapters 12 and 13) with yet another different scenette

Draft #4 consists of Chapter 1-22 (in other words, all the chapters) plus Epilogue (which may or may not make the final cut)

So I went to the archives and checked it out. Yep, I think this bit is better in Draft #1. Then I went back to the first few pages of the first draft of Chapter one and thought, "In fact, I like this version of the whole first scene better."

See, somewhere between the original version of Scene One and the fourth version of Scene One, I decided Original Scene One wasn't dramatic enough. So I rewrote it with a different setting and different activity, although much of the same dialogue/backstory revelations. Upon rereading Original Scene One, I realize the tone of the OSO was more appropriate. Revised Scene One was too dramatic -- too "heavy." If my hero was Sir Brooding d'Angst, the revised one would indeed be better. And certainly later on in the story, Bayard has much to brood about. However, at the start of the book, things are pretty straightforward for Our Hero. He knows who he is, he's (pretty much) okay with that, and he's got a fairly uncomplicated mission. The one potential fly in the oinment is the heroine, but he thinks he can "negate" any problems she might cause because, hey! Women like him! Of course, OOOPS! But that's later.

So now I have Draft #5, Chapter One, Scene One rewritten. And I like it. The first two lines may not be quite "there" yet, but almost. Now I have to decide if Scene Two stays, or bites the dust. I have no problem cutting out material. If it doesn't "feel right" on subsequent readings, out it goes. But I never delete from the computer.

Because I might just decide I like it (and need it), after all.

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