How has 12 years as a novelist changed the first book I ever wrote? Simple. I know what to do now.
When I wrote The Quest For The Chalice back in 2003, I simply had no idea how to truly write. I knew how to write sentences and stack them into paragraphs, but I didn't get show vs. tell; that was a completely foreign concept for me. Now, 12 years later, my writing has come full circle, and if you've been paying attention to this blog, you know that I'm in the process of re-writing the first book (and maybe even the next two).
Here's a snippet of what I've just changed in Quest's fourth chapter, now chapter seven... notice some distinct differences?
The alliance was taking few, if any losses,
having the orcs on the run, trying to avoid the blades as well as the
stalagmites on the cavern floor and arrows raining down from above. But
when one of the dwarf soldiers ran passed a drow statue, he found his
head separated from his body, scimitars slashing through his throat like
“The drow have come alive!” Radamuck screamed to his men as
he noticed one of the first of his army’s losses. The king had taken
out a few orcs, and now set his eyes at the closest drow, not more than
ten feet away.
The drow, too, was looking at the king, his mace
twisting in his strong, ebony hand. Radamuck charged in shield-first,
blocking the mace as the dark elf attempted to pound down on the king.
The force of the blow brought Radamuck to his knees, but fortunately
this gave the king an unseen advantage over the drow. Swinging
one-handed with all his might, his axe came in low, chopping the legs
out from underneath the drow, the elf unable to counter the move.
the dark elf fell, a grimace across its face, the dwarf king stepped on
the drow’s mace-hand, took his axe into two hands and drove the blade
deep into the young dark elf’s heart.
After now, the re-write:
The dwarf spun the axe and sent the clean blade up into another orc’s
groin, but at that moment, as the orc’s face contorted into something
resembling pain, Radamuck noticed that the tall edifices of drow had
seemingly changed positions. Instead of standing with their stony arms
crossed in front of their chests, the beings had lowered their arms and
had their hands on the hilts of their swords.
Then, as a dwarf
rushed past one while yelling for the king, a drow drew its scimitars
and slashed through the dwarf’s neck in one quick, sharp motion. The
head flew backward and slammed against the wall, dropping into the human
male’s lap like a stone.
“By the gods,” Radamuck breathed, before
he raised his voice over the din. “Beware of the drow! Battle the orcs,
but beware of the drow! They’ve moved!”
At this, the sounds of steel scratching against steel wailed through the cavern as Radamuck saw the drow draw their weapons.
“Me and me big mouth,” he whispered as he caught the gaze of one drow
who, instead of a sword, held a heavy, spiky mace in its ebony hand. The
drow stepped from its pedestal, the mace spinning as its wrist twisted
Flexing his fingers on his shield, Radamuck raced toward the drow.
The drow sent the mace down in an arc. Radamuck brought his shield up
and felt his arm shiver, the nerve endings tingling, as the weapon made
contact. The force of the blow made the king’s knees buckle a little
bit, but Radamuck recovered with a bit of a push. He brought his axe in
at a low angle, the blade tearing at the bone and sinew of the dark
elf’s knee joint. The drow exploded in a rage as it found itself
toppling over to its left, the mace handle falling from its hand as it
tried to break its fall.
His lip curling, Radamuck stepped on the
drow’s hands before grasping the axe in both of his. He lifted it over
his head and drove the bloodied blade into the elf’s chest cavity. A
black bubble quickly came to its lips and burst, a line of residue
encircling its mouth as it grew still. Radamuck wrenched the axe free.