Progress report for Barrain

So it’s back to Barrain after a long time away.

37,000 words so far and this is what we call draft 3, although by our usual standards it’s more like an earlier draft.

The first thing to do is read what we have so far. I wince at the start—our starts are always bad—and read on, fixing up typos and cleaning up as I go.

One thing that strikes me reading on is how like One Man’s Treasure it is. (One Man’s Treasure is the workshop novel I have just finished a draft of.)

The main character promises to find another character’s killer (or presumed killer).

In Barrain it’s:

I will get your killer, Mathers silently promised Caid. You saved my life once, it’s the least I can do for yours.

While in One Man’s Treasure it’s:

I will find who did this and …

Hmmm. Problems already. I’ll leave that for the moment and let it percolate. It may fix itself as the story goes on. Right now I have other things to fix.

Like birdwatching. The whole kick-off point for this story is dated. No-one uses ‘bird-watching’ any more to talk about guys looking at women. And even the birders don’t do bird-watching any more. They go birding. We may have to re-write the start. It’s a pity, because I’m quite attached to the start. (A sure sign we should ditch it.)

Even Sherylyn’s okay with the bit where we introduce Scott.

I can see a huge plot hole already. Why didn’t Kraa send Taliah in to save Caid? I know where the story is going, and I know that Kraa wants Caid, not just the crystal. A dead Caid would set Kraa’s plans back 20 years. But he just sits there and watches Franz and Jacob try to kill him.

Not only that, I’m only up to chapter four and there are typos and omitted words everywhere.

Chapter five is one big info dump.

Many of the secondary characters are stereotypes (as are some of the main characters). And so on.

It’s lovely to be able to see just how bad the writing is and what needs to be fixed. The time away has given me good distance. Unfortunately, the story is only half written. If we were up to a genuine third or fourth draft here it would be perfect, because we can see the flaws so clearly.

Up to chapter 11 now. I’m reading faster and noticing less errors. I should either stop and come back to it at another time, or the story is genuinely getting better. I can’t tell which, so I stop reading for the day.

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