Another week has flew by and this one has been particularly engaging with fellow Motioneers (yes, I made that up). We were paired up with our Critiquing Partners (CPs) and reviewed each other drafts.
The Critiquing Process
To be completely honest, I had never critiqued drafts before; only did some beta reading. Upon researching, critiquing is more in-depth analysis of the story. My method of critiquing was simple, I focused on three main elements:
- The Tone, Pacing, & Voice: How are the characters engaging with each other and with the reader. How are they interacting with their setting. What discrepancies are there in their though-process, etc.
- The Setting and World-building: The world-building is my favorite aspect in fictional writing. I want to see a well developed world where the characters fall right into place.
- The Descriptions and Dialogues: Lastly, I look at the wording and overall flow which comes from the descriptions of the places and the dialogues of the characters.
The Editing Process
Firstly, I did a complete read-through my draft before jumping in to edit one paragraph at a time. I started with any grammatical/spelling corrections, then moved on to sentence structure and wording. Finally, I added more details to wherever they were needed and cut out the parts that didn’t need to be there anymore. My final word count is EXACTLY 1000 WORDS.
My screen looked like this:
Finally, here’s my #WriterInMotion – Draft 3
The Desert Spirit
Genre: Supernatural, Young Adult, Fantasy
Words Count: 1000
The clinking of glasses and the gruff voices of men filled The Boots Lounge. It was dimly lit and smelled of beer, sweat and salt from the sea. The pub was located at the last corner of Old Town where sailors and miners were the regulars. Old Town located at the south of west coast, used to be the heart of the peninsula, before New Town was established in the north once trade was established with the main continent.
Weird and unusual folks also frequented the pub. Recently a lady, clad in a grey suit, had walked in and won all the poker hands, leaving none the wiser. And she was never to seen again. The pub regulars don’t speak about the fact that she had horns, real horns.
What was unusual about today was that there was a young man, no older than 20. The enlisted young folks either wore the color of the sea or the miner’s khaki uniforms. This visitor, however, wore all black, and no part of peninsula had black uniforms. He took a seat next to the counter. The bartender, Finbar, looked him over and asked, “Ya new here lad? What’ya want to drink?”
“Aye, I don’t pass by often. Um- one Ginger Ale would do, please.” he replied. The drink was served and gulped down almost immediately. But when Finbar turned around to retrieve the decanter, the glass was already full.
“In all my life at the sea, I’ve never seen one,” an old man with a missing index fingertip said, banging his third glass of beer on the oak table. “And the new sailors won’t shut up about how dangerous the waters have become! They’re as feeble as yesterday’s hatchlings!” he continued.
“Alright mate, I hear ya! Ya’ve not seen the Loch Ness Monster, but ya gotta’ve seen the Kraken, surely!” replied Aidan, a frail miner with permanently blackened nails.
The conversation had been going on for a while now. At first, it seemed like any other nightly chat about sirens and mermaids. Now however it had expanded to several tables, everyone weighing in their opinions on what other ways you can die at sea.
“I’ve heard half a dozen ships have gone missing,” someone from another table added. Hushed voices filled the room as the group recounted the news when the sixth ship had disappeared at sea.
“The Kraken is real alright,” said the young man in the black uniform, joining the conversation. The old man looked up at him, “What’s yer name lad? The name’s Barley, and no one here has ridden the waters as much as I have. And the last time the Kraken was sighted was over a 100 years ago.” He paused momentarily to gulp the remaining contents of his glass. “Finbar! Get me another round.” Barley roared.
“Fraser, fill him up, won’t ya.” said the bartender turning to his son who was washing the dishes.
“Aye, Pa!” he said, running to do the new task as ‘bartender in training’.
“You can call me Ruari,” said the young man taking the empty seat at Barley’s table. Ruari had striking yet innocent features, although his distant eyes gave away years that might exceed Barley’s time at sea. “One of my friends have gone missing, they say it’s the Kraken.” The atmosphere had darkened as others remembered those who had vanished as well.
“Well then, who thinks Red Beard is real,” said a portly miner sitting next to Aidan, attempting to change the mood. However, it backfired as every sailor within hearing distance tensed up.
Barley downed his fourth glass. “Gerard,” he said in a serious tone. “Mind when you take his name as there can be pir—I mean his accomplices anywhere,” He rubbed his missing fingertip absentmindedly.
“What about the Sand Sailor then? Anyone heard ‘bout him?” asked Ruari, his eye sparkled with curiosity. This elevated the mood.
“We are talking about real legends here, not some fairytale, boy!” Barley retorted and the pub was filled with light laughter.
The tinker who was playing a forgotten tune in the corner of The Boots Lounge started to play the well-known nursery rhyme and soon enough the pub’s regulars joined in.
Sailor O Sailor,
Gone to the sea.
Sailor O Sailor,
Tell me you see.
Sailor O Sailor,
This is all but sand.
Sailor O Sailor,
Come back to the land.
“I’m curious about the Sand Sailor though. I’ve heard they unveiled a painting in New Town,” Finbar spoke when the laughter and singing had quieted down. “The painter claims it’s the boat of the Sand Sailor.”
“The sailor who steers a boat in the middle of the desert and comes to the land when the sky is clear and the moon is red,” Barley sighed. He lighted his pipe and took a long puff. “I’ve heard that painter is a complete nutcase after getting lost in the desert looking for the brightest star to paint – spouts nonsense half the time!”
Just then the town bell tolled 12 chimes, marking the end of the hour and start of the night shift. The pub started to filter out. Ruari paid for his drink, which was still full and made his way out. Finbar noticed Ruari’s coat was sitting forgotten on his chair. Holding the coat, he ran after Ruari.
Barley was getting up from his table when Finbar returned. “Ya okay mate? Ya look white as a sheet,” Barley asked noticing Finbar dazed.
Finbar sat down on the nearest chair and told his son to get him a glass of water. “That- that Ruari guy, he-,” he paused to gulp down water and fingered-combed his ginger hair, then continued, “he doesn’t have a shadow.”
Ruari headed towards his awaiting boat in the Shifting Dunes which divided the west and east coasts. His ship sailed across the sand, guided by the stars that filled the night sky and the blood moon for that one night and one hour.
Now we handover this draft to our assigned editors. It’ll be my first time working with a professional editor and I’m super excited. My editor is the awesome Jeni Chappelle and I can’t wait for her feedback!!
Stay tuned for next week’s post where post our final drafts! You can read the critiqued drafts by other authors, here!