Last week, we left our intrepid writer feeling overwhelmed and standing in a virtual rubble-pile of her own edit-making. This week, I have conquered the hardest part.
I’ve begun to rebuild.
I’m now up to Chapter Three in the revision process, and while wary and suspicious, I am hopeful. You’ve all seen the cairns when hiking, I presume? Maybe you haven’t. Here’s one:
These are made by each traveler placing a stone atop the last one left by a stranger on the same path. Isn’t that what we do as writers? The ones before me on the trail have told me I must keep trying. I must write. Write. Revise. Write some more. Then, query again. The markers all point forward, ho!
Here’s this week’s installment of the first draft in public. We’re almost to the end!
Sharna shook her head at the hand the young man offered her. She’d already fallen for that trick. “Why should I? You’re wasting time while your people suffer. I don’t need you.” She turned away.
“You’re right. You don’t need me, but I promise you won’t regret allowing me to help. I’m Edgard, and despite appearances, I do care very much about the people in my world.” The man kept his hand out for Sharna to take. His face was still and sincere. Sharna turned back.
“Don’t do it, Sharna.” Jackie stepped out from a dark corner to take up a position behind Edgard. “What would Melody do?”
Sharna felt a cold panic in her stomach. Melody’s anger worked nicely enough when she needed flash or to patch a crisis. Finding a compromise with a shape-changing trickster to save the Cloud Realm would require more than a furious and frustrated Mage.
“Prove you’re serious this time,” she said to Edgard. He was still standing with his hand out. At this directive, he shoved his hand into the pocket of his blue pants and shrugged.
“What did you have in mind?”
“Show me the seeds. Take me to wherever you’ve hidden them, and don’t pretend. I know the Mothers didn’t leave their people to starve.”
Edgard narrowed his eyes. “Of course.”
He bowed and a lock of his hair fell rakishly over one eye. Sharna rolled her eyes. “Do you do that on purpose?”
“What am I doing?”
Sharna waved a hand. “Never mind. Do we have an agreement?”
“As you say. Could you please call off your elite guard? I don’t relish a knife in my back. This particular jacket is my favorite.”
Sharna couldn’t hold back her smirk any longer, and she kicked herself when Edgard answered with his own smile.
“Jackie, we’re doing this. Feel free to ruin his jacket if he twitches, or if he just annoys you.”
“Too late,” answered the thief, but she fell in step behind Edgard as he walked away. Sharna let out a breath, and then took three long steps to catch up to them. Jackie held out her hand. Sharna took it and squeezed hard.
Edgard led them through one of the multiple shadowed doorways and down a plain hallway. Everything was thick, white-marbled stone, and the farther they walked, the more claustrophobic Sharna felt.
“Forgive the cold accommodations, but stone lasts so much longer than any other material. Wear and tear is a hazard, as you can imagine.”
They reached a small wooden door, and Edgard tugged on the brass knob. The door stuck on the frame with his first try, and he had to pull again. This time the door shuddered open. He turned with a wicked smile. “Watch your step.”
The stairwell led down into blackness. Sharna didn’t hesitate, “Lights!”
(Thanks for reading!)