Monday, November 28, 2016

The Rough Draft of Patterns is Completed

Eighteen days to complete a rough draft is, I think, some kind of record for me, but the first draft of Patterns is complete at 5,690 words.

Now comes the very hard work of revision and correction and, though the basic plot will remain the same, I am free to add, subtract and revise until my heart is content with the finished product.

When will I know it's done? When I'm sick of the story and revision consists of nothing but shoving a few odd words around.

Then I start sending it out for its rejection slips. Here's an excerpt, but do remember this is a rough draft:

Ryan parked his car along the side of the street. North Second street in Harrisburg had, many years ago, been to domain of the upper middle class, but the years had made the brownstones appear to be a little more unkempt, a little more seedy in appearance.

The underlying pattern here was so wrong. It was unhealthy.

He checked his eyes in the rear view mirror, but this time, his eyes remained a crystal amethyst blue. He put his sunglasses back on.

An elderly woman came to the door at the sound of the doorbell, her eyes filled with suspicion.

“Ryan Williams, Mrs. McLain. I called you this morning?”

She sighed. “Come in.”

The interior of the home was the home of an old person, gravid with memories, the very air smelling of age.

Ryan turned down the offer of a glass of water.

“Thanks for letting me see you,” Ryan said. “As I said on the phone, I just have some questions about your late husband. When he passed, you sold some of his items at auction and now I own one of them.” He turned on his tablet and held it out to her so she could see the picture on the screen. “Do you remember seeing this? Remember anything about it?”

Arthritic fingers trembling with age, Mrs. McLain reached for the glasses she had hanging from her neck and placed them on her face. She studied the picture for a bit.

“Yes,” she said after a moment of silence, “I remember this piece. He picked it up on one of his travels to the Far East. I think he mentioned it in one of his books.”

She stood and toddled over to a bookshelf, taking down a small, dusty book. “It’s in here somewhere.”

Ryan took the book from her. “Legends of Lost Lemuria,” he said. “One of your husband’s books.”

He found the section with a few minutes of scanning the thin volume.

The ancients would train their wizards using various instruments and contests. I believe that one of these ancient tools was the predecessor of the Go board, one of the popular games of Japan throughout its history. This leads to the conclusion that either ancient Japan had open trade with Lemuria in its prehistory or that survivors of the Lemuria earthquake and resulting deluge somehow made it to the Japanese islands where they were absorbed into its peoples and culture.
Ryan handed the book back to his hostess. “Mrs. McLain, thank you so much for letting me see this. This answers my question.”

Minutes later, he held a pile of the late professor’s books as well as forty dollars poorer. Andrew McLain had self-published his books, leaving his widow with numerous boxes of books that would only sell to the fanatics who had long forgotten McLain’s work into prehistory in search of greater titillation. Understanding his hostess’ plea to rid herself of a few of the works, Ryan felt the money well spent, a donation to a widow in her dotage.

“By the bye,” she said, “as she walked him to the front door. “It’s rather odd that you should show me a picture of that thing he had.”

“Yes, ma’am?”

“The day he died? Poor dear. I found him in his office, slumped dead across it.”

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