Randall Flood: Bring on The Magic0 words written so far (about 0% complete)
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FIRST WAVE OF EDITS

Posted on October 4, 2012

The section of Ned I had posted yesterday was put up unedited. I thought I might share how I work in regards to editing and revising. When I write a chapter, I immediately edit and revise it that day on paper. I put the corrections in place and then write a few more chapters, making sure to comb through each individually. When I have four or five chapters through that first edit, I read them together and edit and revise again. After making those corrections, I wait until I have about twelve chapters done before I read that all together and make changes. I also read the novel when I reach the halfway point, the fourth edit, and finally two more times once it is complete. This means each book is eyeballed at least six times before going on to my beta readers. As they unearth more corrections, I end up reading it again as I put their suggestions into play.

Below is the original unedited first two paragraphs, followed by the entire chapter polished up only once. Their are three differences in the first two paragraphs. Can you find them?

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE VILLAGERS ENRAGED AND A TAD ENFLAMED

Mob rules require everyone's temperament to grow mightily out of control in a very short span of time. The number of enraged villagers joining in the uproar escalated with aplomb. Ned and his friends had picked a particularly bad day to cause a kerfuffle in Trimblebrook. It was the eve of their biggest holiday, Wellwisher's Day, and the population of the village swelled three times for the event. So in addition to the locals storming the streets out to end the tree and his cohorts, there were a good many sightseers from other kingdoms in attendance. And seemingly a good percentage of the visitors had seen fit to bring along their pitchforks and sharp farm implements.

Ned looked back at the throng of people chasing after them. Most had axes, pitchforks and a few swords which they waved with practiced abandon. Young twin brothers swung about tiny rakes. Everyone looked well versed in how to behave amidst an agitated crowd. Nothing worse than an experienced mob, he thought.

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR VILLAGERS ENRAGED AND A TAD ENFLAMED

Mob rules require everyone's temperament to grow mightily out of control in a very short span of time. The number of enraged villagers joining in the uproar escalated with aplomb. Ned and his friends had picked a particularly bad day to cause a kerfuffle in Trimblebrook. It was the eve of their biggest holiday, Wellwisher's Day, and the population of the village swelled three times for the event. So in addition to the locals storming the streets, there were a good many sightseers from other kingdoms in attendance. And seemingly a good percentage of the visitors had seen fit to bring along their pitchforks and sharpened farm implements.

Ned looked back at the throng of people nipping at their heels. Most had axes, pitchforks and a few swords which they waved with practiced abandon. Young twin brothers swung about tiny rakes. Everyone looked well versed in how to behave amidst an agitated crowd. Nothing worse than an experienced mob, he thought.

The sisters sprang past him. Kalabeth waved for him to speed up. A few yards ahead, their emancipator jogged along, traveling humorously via its flailing root system. Ned was surprised at the speed the tree attained.

"I really must say, you three haven't been appreciative at all of my risking life and limbs to mount your rescue." The tree ducked a large rock hurled at it from a second-story window by an angry woman in her bedrobes. Ned thought it odd the woman had a rock on hand to fling in the first place. Who keeps a stone in their bedroom?

Ned vaulted a large puddle and swerved to avoid a wishing well. "How did you know where to find us? I thought you'd abandoned me."

The tree skated across an open courtyard and shot over a low wall. To their right, another throng of villagers spilled into the courtyard from a side street. Ned spotted Doyle in the lead, charging toward them in what appeared to be pajamas. Their young jailer looked put upon and rather sleepy-eyed. Apparently, dragonslayers valued their beauty rest.

The sisters scaled the wall. Ned scrambled over it, narrowly avoiding an apple that smashed against the bricks where his right ankle had just been.

"It was all rather easy," the tree said. "I knew of your location because my ally told me where to find you."

"Your ally? What?" Ned ducked, avoiding a sound thrashing by a villager brandishing a weighty shovel. The momentum of his swing caused the man to flip over and land on his back against the wall of yet another wishing well.

"Oh, we'll meet up with him soon if we can shake our pursuers." The tree crashed through a large backyard vineyard, making wine far sooner than the vines' owner probably intended. "Finding you wasn't all that hard. Sneaking into Trimblebrook unnoticed, now that was the difficult part."

"Yeah, looks like you had all kinds of success at that." Four villagers had scaled the wall. Two waved pitchforks while the others snaked lit torches through the night air.

"Could we step a little livelier? Really can't say I like seeing how carefree those fellas are with open flames."

On cue, the heavier-set villager tossed his torch at the tree. Tekka knocked to the side with her bow.

The tree bowed graciously at her before smashing through a wholly inadequate wooden yard wall. Several formerly cooped chickens dispersed as the tree careened ever forward.

"Kalabeth, do not try to look after that poultry. We don't have time," Tekka barked.

Kalabeth frowned, glanced at the harried hens, but heeded her sister and kept
running.

The tree took a sharp right and got them back on a side street. Ned was pleased
to see very few villagers on this particular stretch. From the yard they had just vacated, the mob poured forth. Many looked winded and maybe favoring abandoning the sprinting aspect of the mob mentality. Ned imagined most had better things to do than chase them throughout the night. Maybe half would give up and go home, leaving the diehards and those conscripted to policing the town to keep on keeping on.

A young, rather fetching woman at the front of the slightly dispirited crowd must have sensed her peers wavering on whether to continue rushing forward and shrieked, "The wooden dullard knocked over my mother's prized birdbath!"

The crowd didn't react to her plight. Seeing this, she added, "And I heard tell the blasted plant washed its filthy roots in Sir Winston's Wishing Well! Talk about violating Trimblebrook's pride and joy."

This re-energized the mob. They pushed after Ned and his friends with even more vim and vigor. These people were quite serious about their wishing wells.

They ran from the crowd, their motivation freshly minted. They had to be close to the outskirts of Trimblebrook. Any second they'd be running through the dead zone where the ruckus they stirred up would surely upset the evil spirits calling said outskirts home. Would the evil descend on them or the crowd or both? Ned had no desire to find out.

"If we dash out through the ruins, we're asking for trouble." Ned looked ahead, seeing a small bridge and beyond that the skeletal remains of several collapsed buildings.

"The tree pointed ahead. "Not to worry. Have it all figured out."

Ned hated putting his faith in the tree. Did it know how much trouble they risked running through the ruins making such a commotion? More than attracting the ire of an altar fiend awaited them, he was sure.

They loped up the incline of the bridge. The structure's low walls allowed them a glance at what lay below. A swift flowing river splashed under the bridge.

Their rescuer leaped off the bridge and trunk-flopped into the waters. It bobbed to the surface and rolled over to expose its face. The tree yelled, "Jump! We can race out of here via this waterway. Our ally awaits us downstream. Just like to see those flame-happy twits ignite me in here."

Kalabeth and Tekka plummeted off the bridge. Ned followed suit. He plunged into the chilly waters and clawed to the surface with far more panic than maybe a hero ought to.

The sisters climbed up on the buoyant tree and waved for Ned to do the same. He heaved himself out of the water. As he struggled to catch his breath, he heard several splashes from behind. Already, the bridge was out of sight thanks to the river taking a sharp bend to the right, but Ned was certain some still gave pursuit.

"Sounds like we've got a few persistent ones on our tail." Ned wrung his tunic and shivered. He swept his wet bangs back, tipped his head to the side and slapped at his ear to dislodge any of the invasive water from his ear canals.

"Let them flounder around. Fat lot of good it'll do them once we hit the rapids in another bend or two." The tree swatted at its sturdy trunk. The door that had opened earlier in the woods to reveal the tree's princess cargo popped open. "You three inside and hold on tight. We'll get through this with a little ingenuity and a whole lot of luck. I don't particularly want to be dashed upon the rocks. Not at all the way I want to leave this world."

Tekka and Kalabeth slipped inside. Ned dropped in reluctantly. Kalabeth moved to close the door, but Ned shook his head.

"It stays open. If this tree steers us wrong, we have to be ready to abandon ship." Ned inhaled, hoping he exuded more confidence than his soggy self actually felt.

Kalabeth nodded and slipped back down, resting her back against the inner curve of the trunk. Tekka stood with Ned and the two watched the waters around them grow more turbulent.

As the tree undertook the first onslaught of whitecaps, it muttered, "Your confidence in me speaks volumes, Firebreak."

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