First Draft


Start­ed my first draft today. My tar­get is 1,000 words a day, 120,000 words total, but we’ll see how that goes…

1,000 words today, though. So that’s good.


The emp­ty city by day­light was one thing, but at night it took on an added dimen­sion, a new and whol­ly alien face, and it gave Cabrell an odd kind of spir­i­tu­al ver­ti­go, even though he was the mayor.

Even in the day­time it was­n’t quite right. The engi­neers were tweak­ing rota­tion­al para­me­ters, adjust­ing the spec­trum of the min­isun, mak­ing it all a lit­tle clos­er to Earth-nor­mal with each pass­ing day. They’d effec­tive­ly increased his weight, fid­dling with the cylin­der’s speed, and with the min­isun they’d pulled out some of the blue, added in some yel­low and a lit­tle pinch of red. They were doing it grad­u­al­ly, but he still noticed. Shad­ows did­n’t quite look as sharp as he was used to. His gait felt plod­ding. It gave him a feel­ing like he was just com­ing into the hang­over from a week-long ben­der, and it was going to be ugly.

Night, though, was worse. He was­n’t sleep­ing well late­ly, a com­bi­na­tion of anx­i­ety and a lin­ger­ing case of over­drive sick­ness, mild but pro­tract­ed, and so he’d tak­en to wan­der­ing his city in the dim blue-green light of the min­i­moon. The engi­neers had­n’t yet pro­grammed in the phas­es of the moon, so it was always a fat cres­cent, trav­el­ing across the sky in its pre-pro­grammed arc.

It did­n’t help a whit, either, that night in Caer Gwynne involved the dis­ap­pear­ance of the curve of pseu­do-val­ley, leav­ing him at the best of times feel­ing like he was at the top of a gen­tle hill, and that every step he took might be enough to unbal­ance him and tum­ble him down the gen­tle but long slope, gath­er­ing speed till he fetched up against a stone at the bot­tom, end­ing a bloody mess. It was ridicu­lous, but it’s hard to argue with the inner ear.

Remem­ber: first draft, straight from the horse’s key­board, with the inter­nal edi­tor as shut down as I can make him, the per­fec­tion­ist lit­tle beggar.

5 thoughts on “First Draft

  1. Tech­ni­cal­ly pro­fi­cient, but I did­n’t start ‘see­ing things’ until that last para­graph or two. I know you do descrip­tion awful­ly well. I’d like to see more of that, ear­li­er on. That said, the bits of descrip­tion you have giv­en are entic­ing enough that I’d keep reading.

  2. Thanks Doug. Like I said, this is first draft mate­r­i­al. If you’re inter­est­ed, I’ll try get­ting “the rush­es” post­ed some­where, so you can see the whole thing so far.


  3. Doug — it’s a first draft. You should see my first drafts — bare­ly leg­i­ble. (Although I’ve recent­ly been told my final prod­uct is bare­ly read­able too :-))

    Pat — I recent­ly got an alphas­mart. Have you heard of them? It’s a lit­tle 2lb first draft machine, and I love it like my 3rd child.

  4. Mau­reen
    I’ve heard of the Alphas­mart; I think some­one men­tioned it when I tried Nano a cou­ple years ago. I think if I’m going to get some­thing portable for writ­ing, it’s going to be a low-cost lap­top with Lin­ux on it. I love being able to pop into a brows­er and check out a word on before I mis­use it in a sentence.

  5. Mau­reen — you’re read­ing my first draft, so watch what you say.

    But I’m being a bit face­tious. I revise-as-I-go. By the time I fin­ish a chap­ter, I’ve usu­al­ly reread (and edit­ed) it at least twice. That’s not what ‘they’ rec­om­mend in the so-you-wan­na-be-a-writer books, but I’m too anal reten­tive to turn some­thing out that I’m unhap­py with.

    Actu­al­ly, I thought Pat’s first draft snip­pet read pret­ty well. Some of the stuff post­ed on the Fic boards — now that’s first draft material.

    Present com­pa­ny exclud­ed, naturally.

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