The Writer In Motion Blog series is finally wrapping up. In this week’s post, us Motioneers post our final draft which started from a single photo prompt. My assigned editor was none other than Jeni Chappelle and I’m so thank full for her feedback.
The Feedback and Final Editing
Jeni managed to axe around 50 words right away. The theme, I noticed soon enough, was repetitions. I tend to over-write (a lot) to emphasize a scene or point in the story. After reading her edits, the sentences felt so much smoother and the plot flowed easier.
These line-edits were different than my CP edits as the later were more focused on the overall plot, setting, and characters. This felt like tiding up everything else (especially my excess use on commas – oh and welcome to hyphens!) My story is so much more tighter and easier to read, than my very first draft, I love it so much!
The Desert Spirit
Genre: Supernatural, Young Adult, Fantasy
Words Count: 946
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. Sailors and miners in their uniforms the color of the sea or earth were regulars at the pub on the last corner of Old Town, which was at the south end of the west coast. It used to be the heart of the peninsula, before trade with the main continent led to New Town’s establishment in the north.
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 didn’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 twenty, who 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. “Ya new here lad? What’ya want to drink?”
“Aye, I don’t pass by often. Um…one ginger ale would do, please.”
The drink was served and swallowed 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 fingertip banged 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.”
“All right, 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 gone on for a while now. At first, it was like any other nightly chat about sirens and mermaids. Now, however, it had expanded to several tables, everyone weighing in on what other ways a body could 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 of a sixth ship disappeared at sea.
“The Kraken is real all right,” 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 hundred years ago.” Barley paused to gulp the remaining contents of his glass. “Finbar! Get me another round.”
“Fraser, fill him up, won’t ya,” said the bartender, turning to his son who was washing the dishes.
“Aye, Pa!” He ran 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 darkened as others remembered those who had vanished as well.
“Well then, who thinks Red Beard is real?” said a portly miner 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 and rubbed his missing fingertip absentmindedly, “mind when you take his name as there can be pir—I mean—his accomplices anywhere.”
“What about the Sand Sailor then? Anyone heard ‘bout him?” Ruari’s eyes sparkled with curiosity.
“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 a 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,” Finbar spoke when the laughter and singing had quieted down. “I’ve heard they unveiled a painting in New Town. 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 lit 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 twelve chimes, marking the end of the hour and start of the night shift. The patrons filtered out. Ruari paid for his drink, which was still full, and made his way out.
Ruari’s coat sat forgotten on his chair. Holding the coat, Finbar ran after Ruari.
Barley was getting up from his table when Finbar returned. Noticing Finbar dazed, Barley asked, “Ya okay mate? Ya look white as a sheet.”
Finbar sat on the nearest chair and told his son to get him a glass of water. “That- that Ruari guy, he—” He drank it 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.
Stay tuned for my overall thoughts on #writerinmotion post coming up next week.
Meanwhile, take a look at everyone who participated!
K. J. Harrowick (Blog 1 & Blog 2) | Jen Karner | H.M. Braverman | J.M. Jinks | Melissa Bergum | Thuy Nguyen | Kristen Howe | Kathryn Hewitt | Sean Willson | Paulette Wiles | Ellen Mulholland | Sheri MacIntyre | Jessica Lewis | Susan Burdorf | Stephanie Whitaker | Dawn Currie | Megan Van Dyke | SKaeth | Ari Augustine | M. Dalto | Sheryl Stein | Belinda Grant | Coffee Quills
And to our editors who provided the cherry on top for all our drafts!