Saturday, November 6, 2010

Excerpt aka How Bad First Draft Is

That's right. I'm going to share an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel with anyone that reads this blog post. Yes, it's going to be pretty bad and unedited. But that's part of the fun. It's a first draft and if writing a bunch of words that suck is what it takes in order to get something that can be developed into an amazing piece of literature then why not write the bad words first. Because it's hard to tell based on a blank page which words are going to be great beforehand.

This is from a scene that will most likely not make it in the next draft but I wanted to write it anyways. It's from the first main character's point of view and takes place before he meets the other characters but after he has decided to leave home in his quest that he planned to do with his brother before he passed away. It's only 800 some odd words long, so it's one of the shortest scenes I've written so far in the novel. But for anyone who is interested, this is an example of what my nanowrimo first draft looks like.

The Excerpt

A twig snapped as fear tensed through the young elf's muscles as he clung to the branches of the tree he had climbed only a moment prior to the interruption of the silent throne of early night. Holding still, Feynethom listened for the distinctive shuffle of the patrol that will have walked by on the expected route. Darkness had settled throughout the forest as the moon provided enough of a glow through the dense woodlands to provide just enough light to make out shapes when the appeared a couple of feet from trio of trees he nestled within, hidden from those that might soon cross the path. Once they made it by, the coast would be clear and then he could make his move.

A cough indicated they had arrived, though they seemed to be taking their sweet time on the warm spring evening. The expected noise of leaves crunching until the sounds faded as the two guards were leaving didn't occur right away as expected.

Uncertain, Feynethom peeked down through the limbs making certain not to shake the branches. It was frustrating for him to see the patrol had paused for a break but soon they made their way along the designated route and he could breathe a sigh of relief. It was a surprising notion: the patrol that was set up to keep invaders from making it into the elven city deep within the woodlands, but it wasn't doing a very good job keeping him from leaving.

Hard as it was for him to stay still on the tree branch, his right foot had begun to cramp, he managed to wait another ten minutes to ensure the guard would be far enough away for when he did finally make a little noise. Climbing up the tree had been smooth but the getting back down always failed to be kept silent. The slight crash of leaved when his still slightly cramped foot hit the ground proved the point and he froze at once, holding onto the tree as if it could somehow save him if anyone heard. But silence followed and soon he was able to limp away, darting through the forest line at a quick but steady pace as the light of the moon gave him just enough sight to not trip, except for a couple of times. It would take a few hours for him to be clear from any of the patrols but so far things were going in his favor and he could only hope that he would make it to the forest edge by morning. Considering the closeness of one nights travel, he couldn't help but wonder why no one ever made it very far. It wasn't like there village was that far away, depending on speed of travel and baggage, but he'd never seen anyone make it past the initial border patrol, let alone the emergency ones that kept close eye on the very edges of the city just in case.

The topic was hard to find an answer to but it kept his mind away from his real concerns of what would happen upon morning when his mother and father would discover his bed empty and the short note stuck to the surface of the kitchen table. They were going to be angry with him but at this point he didn't care.

Things wouldn't have ended this way if his father had stood up for him during the hearing when he had requested to leave the city on his quest. Then he would have gotten permission, maybe, and been able to leave with a decent supply of food and the sun to guide him through the trees instead of sneaking out at night. But that's not what happened. Instead, the counsel had all laughed at his request while some down right mocked him before they banned him from taking on the quest for the ancient city, stating he would be wise to abandon his foolish dream and instead make due with his home in the woodlands. They didn't know about the promise he'd made; the one he intended to keep even at the risk of death.

He didn't care how long it took for he was going to prove the history books wrong. Magick couldn't be beat by sheer brute of weapons, it was impossible. He refused to believe that an entire race of elves, the strongest that ever existed in the realm, had been annihilated to the point of extinction and he was going to find them. First, stop would be the city no one had been able to find according to the history scrolls since the slaughter had finished with the land supposedly becoming cursed. Some had tried to find it and most had never returned. But that wouldn't stop him. He would make his brother proud that he had kept his promise and that thought alone kept his feet moving towards the unknown world outside the sheltered home of the woodlands.


Anonymous said...

For a first draft, I'd say this is pretty awesome!

Mine is full of "_____" for places to fill in later :p

Love the picture too, very true :) God bless beta readers.

Rigel said...

I have to agree. This is good for a first draft.

Instead of "______", I go all Voldemort. I.e., "he who must not be named" or "this crappy chapter I'm about to break into tears because of, which I can not name because I can not think of anything to name it yet." Beats the "TK" technique by 26 words. Haha! :)

Erica said...

I like it! I can never seem to pull myself off the ____ details though, I just sit on them in agony. Man, I wish I'd had a mid-shower inspiration attack to give me a reason to do Nano! Now my MS seems so lazy lol.

Dawn Embers said...


Erica W. - Why thank you. I don't have many empty spaces yet but I have random names for things and places that I will definitely be changing in rewrite.

Rigel - Interesting choice. I may have to remember such if I run into problems because if it adds words it may be of use. lol

Erica - Wow, two Erica's and both spelled the same. Thank you for your comment. Keep writing, I'm sure you'll whip your WIP into less laziness.

Donna Hole said...

Pretty good actually. Gives a sense of the character, his immediate situation, the larger picture, and overall plot concept.

And excellent scene. Getting it down is the important thing. I'm engaged in the story thus far. Where oh were are the elvs?


Dawn Embers said...

Donna - Thanks. :-D So true about the getting it down part. That's the point of the first draft anyways.


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