How I revise a story

If revising were an aesthetic
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is the first scene of Kree Annihilators, comparing the 1st draft with how it looks after recent revisions. For this article, I broke it down into a few paragraphs at a time, with underlined sections from the first draft and non-underlined sections from post-revision (you may have to view this article on my website of you’re on the WordPress Reader, since the WordPress Reader doesn’t show underlined text).

***

“I’m closing in,” Victor muttered, stepping from the shadows of concrete bridge supports. “His heat signature is coming right–”

Thundering shouts, and not one but three figures tumbled from the bridge above into the dry gulley. Victor slipped back into the shadows, breathing quietly. Who were these two? Dressed like pseudo-heroes, one blue, one mottled green and brown. Where’d they come from?

He shut off the communicator in his ear without an explanation and pressed deeper into the alcove. Dust billowed under his exhales as he strained to hear the earthlings’ conversation.

“Drat,” he muttered. All that work, tracing the fireball here, he couldn’t let it slip away. He didn’t have much time, darn it.

***

“Status report,” Victor muttered, stepping from the shadows of concrete bridge supports. “I’m closing in. I located him in a park inside Jersey City–”

Thundering shouts, and not one but three figures tumbled from the bridge above into the dry gulley. Victor slipped back into the shadows, breathing quietly. Who were these two? They dressed like pseudo-heroes, one blue, one mottled green and brown. Where’d they come from?

He shut off the device in his ear, pressing deeper into the alcove. Dust billowed under his exhales as he strained to make out the earthlings’ conversation.

All that work, finding the inhuman here, he couldn’t let it slip away. Not again. He’d spent too much time on this–she expected results.

***

He inhaled, then stepped from the shadows.

Dante–fireball face–swiveled towards the movement, eyes going wide and hands lifting, already aflame.

Victor growled, reaching back towards the shadows and pulling from the depths a shield, fizzing violet. He crouched behind it, parting the searing fire. “So I made a bad impression!” he shouted once the roaring flames died down, rising up. The two pseudo-heroes gaped back and forth between them.

Dante grunted and hurled another fireball, whizzing past Victor under the stone bridge. Victor charged forward, long-bladed sword forming in his other hand.

***

He inhaled, then stepped from the shadows.

Dante swiveled toward the movement, eyes going wide and hands lifting, already aflame.

Victor growled, reaching back into the shadows and pulling from the depths a shield, fizzing violet. Roaring flames soared toward him and he crouched behind the shield, parting the searing fire.

The flames died down. “So I made a bad impression!” Victor called. The two pseudo-heroes gaped back and forth between them.

Dante grunted and hurled another fireball, whizzing harmlessly under the stone bridge. Victor charged forward, a long-bladed sword forming in his other hand.

***

“You tried to abduct me!” Dante grunted, fireballs blasting from his palms.

“You’re inhuman,” Victor shouted back, black shield and sword swinging to deflect the flames. “I told you there was a place for people like us!”

“I am not like you!”

The pseudo-heroes jumped toward Dante, shouting thief, and Victor grinned. This situation had taken a turn for the better. He shook his head from the distraction of the one in blue, her lengthening limbs marking her some sort of inhuman too.

***

“You tried to abduct me!” fireballs blasted from Dante’s palms.

“You’re inhuman,” Victor shouted, black shield and sword swinging to deflect the flames. “I told you there was a place for people like us!”

“I am not like you!”

“Yeah, cuz you’re a thief!” The pseudo-heroes charged toward Dante.

Victor stepped back, grinning. This situation had taken a turn for the better. Catching his breath, he shook his head at the one in blue, her lengthening limbs marking her some sort of inhuman too. He had no clue what the other one was, though. Part human, part animal…inhuman, or something else?

***

So there’s part of the first scene–I think it’s interesting to look over this and compare what changes I did (or didn’t) make between drafts.

When I first start a story, I know basically nothing about where it’s going to end up. I have an exciting concept, a vague idea of what some characters will be like, and that’s basically it–sometimes, I have a fuzzy idea of what the next scene or next chapter will look like. It’s not until I’m actually writing that I start figuring out plot threads, worldbuilding, etc.

So when I revise the early parts of almost any story, I have to smooth out inconsistencies. In this case, I had to figure out who/what Victor’s talking to in his communicator. And where this dry gulley/bridge even is. And what’s so pressing about Victor’s time that he has to rush out and confront Dante now, even though two strangers showed up and ruined his plan.

Fortunately for me, this story was born from a Marvel comics-based tv show, so some of the details were already worked out–people’s abilities, names, what they looked like. So this first scene wasn’t as rough as some of my other stories.

One thought on “How I revise a story

  1. I have somewhat of the same creative process, in that I have vague ideas of things, but I need the story to be put down on paper before I can help it progress. No amount of outlining can help with that. Anyway, thanks for sharing a part of Kree Annihilators with us. It’s looking good!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: