I have just finished another run through of the manuscript of Rogue Rainlord – or whatever this book 1 will finally be called – and I still found some examples of overwriting. (In early drafts, I invariably underwrite.)
I didn’t forget any dogs this time – but I did forget one important detail. I sent a character off to get help, and then failed to mention what happened to him. Rather an important omission at this late stage! Fortunately, easily fixed.
Anyway, at last, I am happy with Rogue Rainlord. In fact, I think it is a brilliant book. Yep, I am at the peak of my love affair with this story. There is adventure and battle and war; excitement and despair and hope, a deeply touching love story, two very different men so consumed with hubris and their own agendas that they do not not recognise the evil they do, or in fact care. Generally lots of big things at stake in a world gone awry.
There were times when I knew it was terrible, and I thought I would never wrestle it into shape. But – with considerable help from my beta readers – I have arrived at a story that I am proud to have written. And possibly because it gave me so much trouble, I think it is one of the best things I have ever done.
Tomorrow I will say more about overwriting and underwriting. In the meantime, here’s the very beginning of …
It was the last night of her childhood.
Terril, unknowing, thought it just another busy evening in Opal’s Snuggery, crowded and noisy and hot. Rooms were hazed with the fumes from the keproot pipes of the addicted and fuggy with the smell of the resins smouldering in the censers. Smoky blue tendrils curled through the archways, encouraging a lively lack of restraint as they blurred the air.
Everything as usual.
Terril’s job was to collect the dirty plates and mugs and return them to the kitchen, in an endless round from sunset until the dark dissolved under the first cold fingering of dawn.
Her desire was to be unnoticed at the task.
Her dream was to escape her future as one of Madam Opal’s girls.
Once she’d thought the snuggery a happy place, the outer courtyard always alive with boisterous chatter and laughter as friends met on entry, the reception rooms bustling with servants fetching food from the kitchens or amber from the barrels in the cellar, the stairs cluttered with handmaidens as they giggled and flirted and smiled, arm in arm with their clients. She’d thought the snuggery’s inhabitants lived each night adrift on laughter and joy and friendship. But she had only been seven then, and newly purchased. She was twelve now, old enough to realise the laughter and the smiles and the banter were part of a larger game, and what underlay it was much sadder. She still didn’t understand everything, not really, even though she knew now what went on between the customers and women like her half-sister, Vivie, in the upstairs rooms.
She knew enough to see the joy was a sham.
She knew enough to know she didn’t want any part of it.
And so she scurried through the reception rooms with her laden tray, hugging the walls on her way to the kitchen, a drab girl with brown tunic, brown skin, brown hair so dark it had the rich depth of rubies; a timid pebblemouse on its way back to its lair with a pouch-load of detritus to pile around its burrow entrance, hoping to keep a hostile world at bay. She kept her gaze downcast, instinctively aware that her eyes, green and intelligent, told another story.