Pearl of Fire Edit comparisons: Rough to Current

People have previously expressed interest in how I work on edits through multiple drafts, and more than one person has asked if they could see a sample of work-in-progress compared to after it’s been through a few rounds of edits.

So here’s a bit of Pearl of Fire. The first version (ver2 in my file names) is one step up from the NaNo-style rough, just corrected for obvious spelling, punctuation errors, etc. The second version (ver4) has been through two further rounds of edits: the first to cut unneeded words and polish up phrasing, the second (still in progress past these pages) to fix more characterization, add details, and polish further. I’ll probably run that version through at least two more full rounds of edits on the whole draft before I consider it close to set.

Picked this bit because it shows a lot of the changes… and doesn’t give too many spoilers for the whole story. I hope. 😉

Comments and odd mutterings welcome!


Draft number 2:

I guess they don’t get Elemental-level Workers in here often.

Not that anyone ever did. Command tended to spread out active Workers with her level of power; even teaching Workers, whenever possible. Caldera’s worst nightmare was a single lucky strike taking out her strongest Elementals, leaving the tiny nation defenseless against its enemies.

Far from defenseless. We beat them all once. We could do it again.

But it was the Elementals their enemies feared. Storm. Wave. Mountain. Star. And most of all, Flame.

She was lucky to be alive. Everyone told her that. Alive, with most of her power intact or healing. She could still serve… if there was an emergency, and they needed something big blown up, with someone willing to risk death to be her eyes.

Funny. I don’t feel that lucky.

“Coffee?”

Ah. Inspector Helleson was back. “Half it with water,” Shane said frankly. “I just need to stay awake long enough for Army Intelligence and your Lieutenant Aster to stop shouting at each other.”

———
Draft number 4, edited to,

I guess they don’t get Elementals in here often.

No one ever did. Command tended to spread out active military Elementals; even teaching Elementals, whenever possible. And civilians were strongly encouraged not to bunch up without damn good reasons. Caldera’s worst nightmare was a single lucky strike taking out her strongest Workers, leaving the tiny nation defenseless against its enemies.

Far from defenseless. We beat them all once. We could do it again.

But it was the Elementals their enemies feared. Storm. Wave. Mountain. Star. And most of all, Flame.

She was lucky to be alive. Everyone told her that. Alive, with most of her power intact or healing. She could still serve… if there was an emergency, and they needed something big blown up, with someone willing to risk death to be her eyes.

Funny. I don’t feel that lucky.

“Coffee?”

Shane jumped, one hand clenching on the polished grain of her chair to restrain a perfectly reasonable flash of fire at whoever’d had the bad judgment to sneak up on her. “Who are you?”

A swift intake of breath. “Inspector Allen Helleson, ma’am.” Polite, if wary. “We, ah, met inside your ring of fire.”

Ah. Now the man’s voice sounded halfway familiar. “Sphere,” Shane corrected, trying not to grudge the words as she told venom-jittery nerves to stand down already. “A ring’s harder to hold. And it leaves an open top. We didn’t need to breathe any more venom.”

“So the floor really was smoking,” the inspector muttered. “We could have run out of air.”

Without sight, shaking her head sometimes left her disoriented. Shane lifted a shoulder instead; let it fall. “Not with that timer. It would have gone off before we could pass out.”

A chair shifted, but the warmth of his body came no closer. “You… don’t sound like that bothers you.”

“There are worse ways to die.” She’d seen four of them. The last things she’d ever seen. Bones pulled out through tanned skin, blood boiled inside living hearts, and what they’d done to Terry-

I’ll kill them. I’ll kill them all. I swear it.

Well. She had killed quite a few of them, before the world had gone forever dark.

“…Flame Redstone?” Quiet. Level. Like a man trying to gentle a junkyard dog.

And why should he treat me any differently? He’s an Inspector. He knows violence when it’s breathing down his neck.

Shane took a breath, pushing fury back into the darkness. “Coffee. Yes.” Manners. A little civility won’t kill you. “Thank you. But half it with water.” That should cut the lingering headache from the venom, and make her a little less likely to jump down some idiot’s throat. “I just need to stay awake long enough for Army Intelligence and your Lieutenant Aster to stop shouting at each other.”

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11 thoughts on “Pearl of Fire Edit comparisons: Rough to Current

  1. Wow! This is going to be amazing, and so much fun! Maybe Dad will tell me I’m almost as bad as Myrrh again, if I hand him this. After I read it.

    This is so exciting! I love it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow. Four is more fleshed out. And less cold. I get a better sense of both characters and they are sympathetic. I’m much more involved emotionally. Sounds like a great story. I’m looking forward to the rest.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My dear, when it comes to protagonists, you have a definite type.

    (Not that I’m arguing, mind. Fire and sarcasm are my thing too.)

    That said, it’s interesting to see the worldbuidling differences between the two drafts. That gives some of the idea of how much work must have gone into 3 and 4, which is a lot.

    Very nice, and I’m looking forward to seeing the reat!

    Like

    1. I’m working on that. *G* Leatherbound, there’s a lot less fire.

      (Sarcasm, now – who can live without that?)

      And thanks! Rough drafts are “get the basics of the plot and imagery out of my head as fast as possible”. It’s when I go back and edit that I find the spots where I have to edit and polish and edit and polish until the words on the paper at least somewhat approximate how the characters are in my head. 😉

      Like

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