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I'm Going Through A Crisis ... I'm Not A Happy Bunny (1 Viewer)

TheMightyAz

Mentor
You may have noticed I haven't been as active of late and that's for various reasons, the biggest of which is I'm completely rewriting The Sixth Chamber and having a nightmare doing it. I've mentioned it many times that when I put something down I find it difficult, and sometimes almost impossible, to change it. I don't know why this is ... it just is. But I'm also conscious of the fact I HAVE to learn to do it. This is only 10 flippin' pages. If I can't do with that, how the hell am I going to do it with a whole novel? It aint gonna happen and my novel will never be written! So I've had to bring everything to the table, hence the lower activity. It's genuinely made me angry.

I've been putting it off as part of the 'practice' knowing full well it's the one part I can't seem to learn. So I thought, damn the sod to hell, I have to do this ... so I have. The kicker is, the slightly different tonality of the piece has meant a good 80% of what I've written either has to be completely changed or deleted. I've murdered darlings before but never 10 pages of them. OUCH!

I said I would likely simplify when I finally began the novel proper next Feb. Well, I've decided to bring that process forward and include every single critique I've received for good measure. The only problem is, I don't know what makes a good 'novel'. Practice is one thing, and this is still essentially just that, but because I've never seen a project through to completion, I'm finding it impossible to tell whether the new version is better or worse than the original. That's what this post is about really I suppose. I need to know, with all this tonal change and simplification, am I going in the right direction or the wrong direction? Should I return to my old version or continue with this?

The stranger inhaled the hot desert air, unsure he’d filled his lungs with anything substantial. He held its fill for a good while, then breathed out slowly and felt the exhalation brush his quickly drying lips, his once moist skin baked in seconds. The faint earthy scent of backwoods lingered in his nostrils; so at odds with the surrounding terrain, he regarded it more a memory than a sense.

He closed his eyes and clung on, but the aroma and the image it evoked trickled away like the sand between his fingers. When he finally opened his eyes, the present spilled in, and erased any thought of another place or time. This is where he began and when he began. He felt it deep in his marrow.

Beside him, lying in the sand on his left, a black leather saddle. With its barrel buried in the sand on his right, a holstered gun. He dragged himself up from the sand and patted himself down.

From his gold-embroidered waistcoat pocket, he eased a red handkerchief and slid it across his brow. It was a simple piece of material, but he sensed it had meaning. He tucked it back, deep into the pocket, still touching a beat or two before he slipped his thumb free and dropped it instinctively to the gun’s hammer. Its finely engraved brass cooled his palm as he curled three fingers around the grip, while a fourth teased the trigger.

Whispers hissed up from his subconscious, mere grazes at first, but they built steadily into a crescendo of syllables that knitted into something akin to words. Letting go of Sorrow didn’t stop them ... ‘Sorrow?’ They erupted in his skull, rooted in a fertile corner of his mind. Yarrod felt them inhabit him, and as each new offshoot split and split again, a memory came with them. Still they worked busily at that newly woken corner, nourished in anguish and torment. He held his head tight, unable to escape the hidden author scrawling a life into him.
 

KatPC

Senior Member
@TheMightyAz do you have a link to your old, as to compare? I've been behind in a lot of my 'doings' but will certainly look through your 'before and after' when I can free up some more time.

In answer to your quandary. I know many here have different approaches to their work and will propose much sounder ideas, yet I firmly believe that if you think something doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't.

On looking at your situation, I (this is a personal opinion) that you are too close to your story and this will distort many things in your writing. When I have done any piece, I have often stuck with it, but experimented a few times when my creative thinking was at large, writing 4 short stories in 10 days, pretty much simultaneously. I eventually settled on one piece and worked on that for a lot longer and I felt it was a very strong piece I had written.

The point is, that your story means an awful lot to you, but it can be consuming and that every detail must be perfect and, for me in my works, it was very draining. My experiment proved very rewarding in writing. Three pieces were sub standard but it made one fairly decent, hence distraction can lead to better focus and maybe you are thinking too deeply into your story.

You have a brilliant and creative mind, full of ideas, let it grow and run with it. I have read many articles and heard from many people that tells people to get the story down first. The sense of achievement will lift you to try out different sounds and tones.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
@TheMightyAz do you have a link to your old, as to compare? I've been behind in a lot of my 'doings' but will certainly look through your 'before and after' when I can free up some more time.

In answer to your quandary. I know many here have different approaches to their work and will propose much sounder ideas, yet I firmly believe that if you think something doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't.

On looking at your situation, I (this is a personal opinion) that you are too close to your story and this will distort many things in your writing. When I have done any piece, I have often stuck with it, but experimented a few times when my creative thinking was at large, writing 4 short stories in 10 days, pretty much simultaneously. I eventually settled on one piece and worked on that for a lot longer and I felt it was a very strong piece I had written.

The point is, that your story means an awful lot to you, but it can be consuming and that every detail must be perfect and, for me in my works, it was very draining. My experiment proved very rewarding in writing. Three pieces were sub standard but it made one fairly decent, hence distraction can lead to better focus and maybe you are thinking too deeply into your story.

You have a brilliant and creative mind, full of ideas, let it grow and run with it. I have read many articles and heard from many people that tells people to get the story down first. The sense of achievement will lift you to try out different sounds and tones.
The old version is in the Workshop area. https://www.writingforums.com/threads/the-sixth-chamber-chapter-one-w-i-p.194432/

There is no doubt it has to change. How much is the question. I was either too far away with the camera or too close. I want to set that camera mid distance and only draw out and draw in on occasion.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
The only problem is, I don't know what makes a good 'novel'. Practice is one thing, and this is still essentially just that, but because I've never seen a project through to completion, I'm finding it impossible to tell whether the new version is better or worse than the original. That's what this post is about really I suppose. I need to know, with all this tonal change and simplification, am I going in the right direction or the wrong direction? Should I return to my old version or continue with this?
This one appeals to me personally more. It's just more straightforward and easier to understand. Although the last paragraph seems more similar to the complexity of the earlier version. However, I would say that both versions are fine.

What makes a good novel is what your target market wants to read. So you have to factor that into my choice. Is this something that you would want me to read and rave about? If no, then my answer doesn't really help you. Be careful not to adjust for the wrong audience. I have done that myself when my beta reader was a little on the prudish side. I was writing to please her but losing my own voice. As soon as I stopped sending her stuff, I started the very next chapter with "F**k!" It was bottled up in me I'm sure...lol!

It might help to have a goalpost. For example, if you considered yourself to be the perfect audience, then select a few books that you enjoyed reading. What was it about them that you liked? You don't have to copy the style but shoot for creating the satisfaction that you felt. And it could be a combination of two or three. "I like this from this...and this from this." I think if you have something very concrete in mind that you are shooting for, this process will all flow better for you. And then, hopefully, you will be a happy bunny.
 
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TheMightyAz

Mentor
This one appeals to me personally more. It's just more straightforward and easier to understand. Although the last paragraph seems more similar to the complexity of the earlier version. However, I would say that both versions are fine.

What makes a good novel is what your target market wants to read. So you have to factor that into my choice. Is this something that you would want me to read and rave about? If no, then my answer doesn't really help you. Be careful not to adjust for the wrong audience. I have done that myself when my beta reader was a little on the prudish side. I was adjusting to please her but losing my own voice. As soon as I stopped sending her stuff, I started the very next chapter with "F**k!" It was bottled up in me I'm sure...lol!

This is one of the biggest problem people are faced with when using a forum or anyone to read your work. It's knowing what you're after versus what advice you get, and that often relates to what 'they' personally like, not you. It's easy to get caught up in advice on story rather than advice on improving what you already have. This change is entirely of my own making though. Something wasn't quite right about the camera. I liked the tone, the wording, the structure but that camera ... not so much. I needed 'action' and 'movement' rather than exposition. It's the re-writing of that exposition that's leading to a complete overall and removal of huge chunks.

It might help to have a goalpost. For example, if you considered yourself to be the perfect audience, then select a few books that you enjoyed reading. What was it about them that you liked? You don't have to copy the style but shoot for creating the satisfaction that you felt. And it could be a combination of two or three. "I like this from this...and this from this." I think if you have something very concrete in mind that you are shooting for, this process will all flow better for you. And then, hopefully, you will be a happy bunny.
This is exactly what I do all the time but I use audio books, making sure I flit between many authors with a variety of voices. I do that to makes sure I don't inadvertently copy their style. I don't mind being influenced though. I accept that.

I don't intend to drop the poetic nature of my work entirely, and I will use the camera I had originally for effect. It's just that because I was practising and didn't have the idea of a finished product, I would apply that practice to every single sentence when sometimes, as many people have constantly pointed out, a simpler sentence is best. Now I've moved that practice closer to what I intend for the final push come Feb. I couldn't ignore that camera problem any longer. It bothered me too much.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I think you are on the right track with this. It's a positive step AZ! I had a similar epiphany when I realized I did not have enough dialogue, about 5000 words in. I went back and replaced huge sections of narration with conversation. Like you, I knew something was wrong, and I doubt I would have finished it without that adjustment early on. Whew!
 
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TheMightyAz

Mentor
I think you are on the right track with this. It's a positive step AZ! I had a similar epiphany when I realized I did not have enough dialogue, about 5000 words in. I went back and replaced huge sections of narration with conversation. Like you, I knew something was wrong, and I doubt I would have finished it without that adjustment early on. Whew!
Well, I thought I could either deal with it now or finish two chapters before I dealt with it, which would have made it even harder. At least it's only the first scene. I may adjust here and there for the Fiddlesticks scene, but that camera is already where I want it.
 

Non Serviam

WF Veterans
This moment, the one that you're going through right now, is very common -- many writers go through some version of it. I did, and I found it very difficult. I would get stuck in a kind of rewriting hell, and try to persevere through it by forcing myself to re-write material that was still fresh in my mind -- I still had the passion that I felt while I was writing it, so I felt close to the work.

It's one of the hurdles at which many budding writers fall. Lots of people start novels, and most don't finish them because of stuff like this.

Do not force yourself to rewrite work that you're close to. It really hurts, and it usually doesn't do much good. What you need is psychological distance from your piece. Distance is perspective and you can't rewrite without it.

You can give yourself that distance with time. Here is what worked for me:-

1) Write a draft. Do not rewrite anything at this stage. Write one (1) draft, always going forwards rather than backwards. You will see problems with your work but do not fix them.
2) Print it out, place it in a big envelope, and seal the envelope. Write a date, three hence, on the envelope. Do not open or re-read your work before this date. Write something else.
3) Ideally you want about a dozen envelopes full of your own work.
4) On or after the date, re-read your work. On that day and not before, decide whether to fix it or bin it. You might well find yourself throwing a lot of envelopes away, and that's OK.
5) Give your work a thorough editing pass on paper. Literally use a pen and a highlighter.
6) From your hand-edited manuscript, retype your work into a new document. Make yourself retype every word. This forces you to examine your work really closely.
7) Print it out, put it in a big envelope, and seal it. Mark it "rewrite". Write a date, three months hence, on the envelope.
8) Write something else.
9) On your new date, re-read your work. You should now consider it a good piece of work, but you'll see the benefits of a further editing pass.
10) Do the second editing pass.
11) Submit it to a publisher, or begin the self-publication process if that's your thing.

Hope this helps!
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
This moment, the one that you're going through right now, is very common -- many writers go through some version of it. I did, and I found it very difficult. I would get stuck in a kind of rewriting hell, and try to persevere through it by forcing myself to re-write material that was still fresh in my mind -- I still had the passion that I felt while I was writing it, so I felt close to the work.

It's one of the hurdles at which many budding writers fall. Lots of people start novels, and most don't finish them because of stuff like this.

Do not force yourself to rewrite work that you're close to. It really hurts, and it usually doesn't do much good. What you need is psychological distance from your piece. Distance is perspective and you can't rewrite without it.

You can give yourself that distance with time. Here is what worked for me:-

1) Write a draft. Do not rewrite anything at this stage. Write one (1) draft, always going forwards rather than backwards. You will see problems with your work but do not fix them.
2) Print it out, place it in a big envelope, and seal the envelope. Write a date, three hence, on the envelope. Do not open or re-read your work before this date. Write something else.
3) Ideally you want about a dozen envelopes full of your own work.
4) On or after the date, re-read your work. On that day and not before, decide whether to fix it or bin it. You might well find yourself throwing a lot of envelopes away, and that's OK.
5) Give your work a thorough editing pass on paper. Literally use a pen and a highlighter.
6) From your hand-edited manuscript, retype your work into a new document. Make yourself retype every word. This forces you to examine your work really closely.
7) Print it out, put it in a big envelope, and seal it. Mark it "rewrite". Write a date, three months hence, on the envelope.
8) Write something else.
9) On your new date, re-read your work. You should now consider it a good piece of work, but you'll see the benefits of a further editing pass.
10) Do the second editing pass.
11) Submit it to a publisher, or begin the self-publication process if that's your thing.

Hope this helps!
It's difficult to approach it this way though. I used to do it this way (or roughly) and will eventually return to that method. What I'm trying to accomplish is developing memory muscle. I'm practising a voice and tone I wish to adopt as my own come Feb. I've had too many different voices over the years and need to home in on just one. I'm also improving other elements of my writing in order to make the editing process shorter.

I never intended to use my novel for this practice but in the end did. I figured, if I could get the tone and voice right for Feb, it would just be a matter of rereading the first two or three chapters a few times to get back on track. The only problem is, tackling the novel has given me extra things to worry about that aren't related to the practice. Now I'm stuck with thinking of even broader things I need to learn, things I intended to worry about after Feb.

In Feb the training wheels come off. I've given the editor permission to interfere as often as it wants, but that will change and I'll be writing straight through, although I'll likely to keep it by chapter rather than finishing the whole manuscript first.
 

KatPC

Senior Member
This is one of the biggest problem people are faced with when using a forum or anyone to read your work. It's knowing what you're after versus what advice you get, and that often relates to what 'they' personally like, not you. It's easy to get caught up in advice on story rather than advice on improving what you already have. This change is entirely of my own making though. Something wasn't quite right about the camera. I liked the tone, the wording, the structure but that camera ... not so much. I needed 'action' and 'movement' rather than exposition. It's the re-writing of that exposition that's leading to a complete overall and removal of huge chunks.
This I completely agree. Sometimes good intentions don't always lead to the best results. Though I am an advocate of time being a great healer, I also know that all of us are on different levels, have different experiences, have different thinking. From reading your replies, and your camera focus struggles, there is an imbalance in your mind that is causing a lot of confusion and misdirection. Sometimes, (and I only speak of self here) you can look too much into something, do things that you think is right, only to never realise that things go wrong because you are looking at things too closely (and I repeat, I am only speaking of my own experiences). I have found that taking a step back, walking away from the fire, for an hour, for a day, calms ones mind and that will bring a tranquility that we can use to pick that 'proverbial' book again.

Do not force yourself to rewrite work that you're close to. It really hurts, and it usually doesn't do much good. What you need is psychological distance from your piece. Distance is perspective and you can't rewrite without it.
I have read many articles where mentors tell people that once they finish a draft or piece, to leave it for a while, work on another project, do something else and then return at a later date.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
I like both, but I will admit I have a bit of an attachment to the OG since it's the OG and I read it/ similar versions a couple of times lol. I would like to see a mix of both because some metaphors/sentences I liked seem to be missing from this new version. Your OG, was a little "purple posey,' for my personal tastes it was a lot to take in at once, so I am glad you are leaning toward simplifying it. I do like the poetic vibe and gad you are keeping that. It's nice. I am leaning it's not my personal writing style. but I appreciate it nonetheless.
What is your main goal is my question? I know you want to "officially" start on it in February and you are practicing. Do you think reworking the beginning now will hinter/help how you will view/write when you start it? (as you mentioned-turn off the inner editor thing) I understand the frustration of something not coming out the way you want it. At some point, you're just gonna have to keep going with it. (which sucks, at least for me it does)
My suggestion is to take a break, watch a movie. Let the rewrite chill for as long as you need it to and take a look at it later. Have you considered working on a flash? that way you can practice on something else but have a small break on the sixth chamber? I could be wrong but you have been working on it for a few months now, no?
I get overwhelmed when I overthink it/ try too hard. I took a break from writing for about a week/week and a half. I started writing something again for a week. Thought it wasn't working, said screw it and started another idea that was amusing me (the snippet I posted in the craft.), and that one is doing it for me. Do I think it's any good? I mean it's not amazing but I think its better than what I was writing for some reason lol. and I'm enjoying it more so that's all that matters to me. its funny because I was doing basic plotting to organize my ideas/ story structure/pacing but...idk I am pantsing the crap out of this one. Maybe I am just a big panster after all 🤷‍♀️
my point is to have fun and it will come to you.

also:
"CHILL OUT, MAN! :)

giphy.gif
"
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I like both, but I will admit I have a bit of an attachment to the OG since it's the OG and I read it/ similar versions a couple of times lol. I would like to see a mix of both because some metaphors/sentences I liked seem to be missing from this new version. Your OG, was a little "purple posey,' for my personal tastes it was a lot to take in at once, so I am glad you are leaning toward simplifying it. I do like the poetic vibe and gad you are keeping that. It's nice. I am leaning it's not my personal writing style. but I appreciate it nonetheless.
What is your main goal is my question? I know you want to "officially" start on it in February and you are practicing. Do you think reworking the beginning now will hinter/help how you will view/write when you start it? (as you mentioned-turn off the inner editor thing) I understand the frustration of something not coming out the way you want it. At some point, you're just gonna have to keep going with it. (which sucks, at least for me it does)
My suggestion is to take a break, watch a movie. Let the rewrite chill for as long as you need it to and take a look at it later. Have you considered working on a flash? that way you can practice on something else but have a small break on the sixth chamber? I could be wrong but you have been working on it for a few months now, no?
I get overwhelmed when I overthink it/ try too hard. I took a break from writing for about a week/week and a half. I started writing something again for a week. Thought it wasn't working, said screw it and started another idea that was amusing me (the snippet I posted in the craft.), and that one is doing it for me. Do I think it's any good? I mean it's not amazing but I think its better than what I was writing for some reason lol. and I'm enjoying it more so that's all that matters to me. its funny because I was doing basic plotting to organize my ideas/ story structure/pacing but...idk I am pantsing the crap out of this one. Maybe I am just a big panster after all 🤷‍♀️
my point is to have fun and it will come to you.

also:
"CHILL OUT, MAN! :)

giphy.gif
"
Naaa, I've got to see this through now. In a way I'm glad I've discovered this problem earlier on, even though it's frustrating me right now. If I'd have started in Feb with the original version in my head, god only knows how many chapters I would have written before I realised I needed a different camera. I think the reason I'm feeling more annoyed is I'd more or less put this chapter to bed and was looking forward to starting chapter 2. I'd revised the old version to my best ability ... but now I've got to revise this second version to my best ability! Bloody hell.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
Naaa, I've got to see this through now. In a way I'm glad I've discovered this problem earlier on, even though it's frustrating me right now. If I'd have started in Feb with the original version in my head, god only knows how many chapters I would have written before I realised I needed a different camera. I think the reason I'm feeling more annoyed is I'd more or less put this chapter to bed and was looking forward to starting chapter 2. I'd revised the old version to my best ability ... but now I've got to revise this second version to my best ability! Bloody hell.
Okay. As long as you don't get too frustrated. There's nothing wrong with a small break if you need it. :)
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I've decided to revert back to the old version. Thank god I didn't do what I normally do and save over every copy I had. Whilst I like the new version, it's going to hold me up far too much and I want to finish the last scene and start chapter 2. I can go back and tweak at a later date. Moving forward is more important I think.
 

BornForBurning

Senior Member
I recommend you quit your incessant editing tbh. I don't see much good coming out of it. Two reasons. 1) It's unfun. First or third drafts are interesting; line-by-line critiques when the rough isn't even finished are an exercise in masochism. 2) It's ineffective. Constant insidious overcorrection breeds editorial paranoia, not proficiency in craft. Moreover, as you yourself stated, you aren't letting yourself actually gain an image of what this artistic whole is going to be; thus, you edit a novel that by and large does not yet actually exist. You have no idea what you are shooting for. You might as well try and edit your stream of consciousness.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I recommend you quit your incessant editing tbh. I don't see much good coming out of it. Two reasons. 1) It's unfun. First or third drafts are interesting; line-by-line critiques when the rough isn't even finished are an exercise in masochism. 2) It's ineffective. Constant insidious overcorrection breeds editorial paranoia, not proficiency in craft. Moreover, as you yourself stated, you aren't letting yourself actually gain an image of what this artistic whole is going to be; thus, you edit a novel that by and large does not yet actually exist. You have no idea what you are shooting for. You might as well try and edit your stream of consciousness.
We'll see.
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
You may have noticed I haven't been as active of late and that's for various reasons, the biggest of which is I'm completely rewriting The Sixth Chamber and having a nightmare doing it. I've mentioned it many times that when I put something down I find it difficult, and sometimes almost impossible, to change it. I don't know why this is ... it just is. But I'm also conscious of the fact I HAVE to learn to do it. This is only 10 flippin' pages. If I can't do with that, how the hell am I going to do it with a whole novel? It aint gonna happen and my novel will never be written! So I've had to bring everything to the table, hence the lower activity. It's genuinely made me angry.

I've been putting it off as part of the 'practice' knowing full well it's the one part I can't seem to learn. So I thought, damn the sod to hell, I have to do this ... so I have. The kicker is, the slightly different tonality of the piece has meant a good 80% of what I've written either has to be completely changed or deleted. I've murdered darlings before but never 10 pages of them. OUCH!

I said I would likely simplify when I finally began the novel proper next Feb. Well, I've decided to bring that process forward and include every single critique I've received for good measure. The only problem is, I don't know what makes a good 'novel'. Practice is one thing, and this is still essentially just that, but because I've never seen a project through to completion, I'm finding it impossible to tell whether the new version is better or worse than the original. That's what this post is about really I suppose. I need to know, with all this tonal change and simplification, am I going in the right direction or the wrong direction? Should I return to my old version or continue with this?

The stranger inhaled the hot desert air, unsure he’d filled his lungs with anything substantial. He held its fill for a good while, then breathed out slowly and felt the exhalation brush his quickly drying lips, his once moist skin baked in seconds. The faint earthy scent of backwoods lingered in his nostrils; so at odds with the surrounding terrain, he regarded it more a memory than a sense.

He closed his eyes and clung on, but the aroma and the image it evoked trickled away like the sand between his fingers. When he finally opened his eyes, the present spilled in, and erased any thought of another place or time. This is where he began and when he began. He felt it deep in his marrow.

Beside him, lying in the sand on his left, a black leather saddle. With its barrel buried in the sand on his right, a holstered gun. He dragged himself up from the sand and patted himself down.

From his gold-embroidered waistcoat pocket, he eased a red handkerchief and slid it across his brow. It was a simple piece of material, but he sensed it had meaning. He tucked it back, deep into the pocket, still touching a beat or two before he slipped his thumb free and dropped it instinctively to the gun’s hammer. Its finely engraved brass cooled his palm as he curled three fingers around the grip, while a fourth teased the trigger.

Whispers hissed up from his subconscious, mere grazes at first, but they built steadily into a crescendo of syllables that knitted into something akin to words. Letting go of Sorrow didn’t stop them ... ‘Sorrow?’ They erupted in his skull, rooted in a fertile corner of his mind. Yarrod felt them inhabit him, and as each new offshoot split and split again, a memory came with them. Still they worked busily at that newly woken corner, nourished in anguish and torment. He held his head tight, unable to escape the hidden author scrawling a life into him.
I haven't read the OG one, but just looking at this, I'm having a tough time orienting myself. If this is your opening paragraph, could you possibly ground us more? The world feels hazy, making it difficult to connect with the character.

Is he laying down or standing? Is he nude? I can't tell. Is he scary or even concerned? Confused? Again, I can't tell. This puts distance between the reader in the character imo. In fact, the character feels inhuman, foreign, robotic even. This could be on purpose, but such a character would require a lot of grounding for the reader to connect.

I assume you're writing this in close 3rd. Maybe you could pull back and be a more omniscient narrator, or even get in closer making it 1st past?
 
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TheMightyAz

Mentor
I just need to bridge the gap between the new beginning and the old beginning. I've been smoothing for quite some time, getting closer to something acceptable but it's still a bit of a jump right now. It's much closer but still a bump. It's a matter of expressing the jump better to make the landing justifiable. I think it's doable and I can make this run smoothly together somehow. In all honesty, it was reading bdcharles' story on Amazon that inspired me to try again.

New beginning:

Yarrod inhaled the hot desert air, unsure he’d filled his lungs with anything substantial. He held its fill for a good while, then breathed out slowly and felt the exhalation brush drying lips, once moist skin baked in seconds. The faint earthy scent of backwoods lingered in his nostrils; so at odds with the surrounding terrain, he regarded it more a memory than a sense.

He closed his eyes and clung on, but the aroma and the image it evoked evaporated. When he finally opened his eyes, the present spilled in, and erased any thought of another place or time. Ideas and memories—like scraps tossed to a well-trained mongrel for simple orders met—looped through his mind as if errant ideas in search of reason. And when all was done and settled, he knew but few things … but knew them well.

Old beginning:

Although he suffered and hungered like any other man, the similarity ended there. No womb birthed him and no grave waited. The world evolved around him, despite him, and he borrowed what time he could to remind himself he was no ghost.

He craved absolution, but the devil beside him wore a lipless grin. In these wistful moments, he felt wretched, less a saviour and more a coward. However, the imperative that compelled him triumphed every time. A tracker, a hunter, a killer is all he was and would ever be.
 
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Ajoy

Senior Member
Your new version definitely gives a better sense of story from the get go. I wonder if you can save your old beginning and work the still relevant details in as you move forward with the story...harvest it for its best parts...? :)
 
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