So I’m revising Book 3. And for the most part, I’m laughing my ass off about a great many things involving this particular manuscript.
The interesting part about all of this is that there’s always at least a year’s gap between the first draft and the final one. Between formatting the pages to layout, editing the storyline, and having Gayle (Super Editor!) clock through the line edits to polish up the conventions, it takes at least a year. Lineage had, thus far, taken much longer.
If you’re one of the old-time readers of this blog, that is to say, you’ve read it since I started it back in 2009, when I was still having the pre-first-book-release jitters, then you know that I was struggling to edit Book 1 at the same time that I was trying to wrap up the first draft of Book 3. When Mages got released, I threw myself a party, and immediately put my nose to the grindstone to wrap up Book 3. I finished it roughly in late August, and threw myself into writing Revival – that is to say, Book 4 – almost right away.
In editing Lineage, I saw both the benefits and the flaws of what has happened. In multitasking on my books, I have created a plot that, frankly, I am proud to have. It’s intricate, it’s maybe a little cliche as far as fantasy/science fiction goes, but it’s character-driven and fraught with potential for spin-off arcs. It’s also deeply psychological, dealing with issues in day-to-day life that people don’t ask themselves often. I’m delighted to have come up with such a plotline for my series, because the readers adore it, and keeping up with the plotline is a challenge to me as a writer.
The flaws are just as weighty as the good things. Editing a plot of that intricacy, especially in the first arc, is incredibly daunting, and that makes me doubly glad that I have Gayle as an editor. It didn’t take her very long to read into the plot and catch where it was going. Having edited Book 1 – which is almost purposely cluttered in relation to the storyline of the other books – I would never again write a manuscript and attempt to prep it for publication on my own. Book 1 took me three years to prep, and even now, I re-read it and think of what other edits to make. Re-release of it isn’t out of the question. As far as Lineage is concerned, it’s definitely one of the cleanest-plotted books I have written for The Index Series so far, but it is obvious now, especially when I’m adding the subplots in, that at the time I was writing it, the story was not yet set in my mind. It was finished hastily, and it shows. However, that’s exactly the motivation I need to refine the story as I am doing now: hastily written, yes, but there’s plenty of potential even in those hasty scenes.
One of the new scenes, which I’m including here, cracks me the hell up.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned the character of Jason Watson before. I based his personality on a close friend of mine, and considering that most of my characters, battle-worn and hardened, aren’t used to his brand of perception, or his penchant for well-pointed getting-on-nerves, the result effectively wrote itself. But, if I have to describe Jason’s personality….I will say that he’s likely the most lovable little shit you’ll ever meet. In Secrets (Book 2), Jay’s a peripheral character, who takes center stage with his abilities in Lineage. But his personality…well, have a look. :)
Quick notabene: Kirare is the Viceroy of Underworld. -Author
“I must be out of my damn mind,” Jason muttered, fully aware that his companion could hear him.
He was standing on what was unmistakably a RAM chip. Somewhere above his head, he heard the familiar whirr of the spinning fan of the CPU case, but it sounded a lot louder than usual. He took a right hook that would crush concrete with the force alone, but he could feel the dislodged tooth realigning and healing itself right back into place. It was only a few seconds before the sting went down as well.
And, of course, watching this was a man, elegantly dressed, green-haired, blue-eyed, and with an aura that, even for a newblood like himself, was just plain frightening.
“I’m awaiting an answer,” Kirare said in clipped English. “What were you looking for when you hacked my machine?”
“It wasn’t intentional,” Jason’s voice remained steady, while he shot quick looks at the innards of his own computer. “I didn’t even know I could do that. And I’m certainly not a hacker.” He hesitated. “Sir.”
“What are your origins?”
He looked at Kirare as he answered, not sure yet what he was hoping to see in the man’s cold eyes. “Here. I’m a born and bred New Yorker, and until recently, I was every bit an average person and business executive.”
The corner of Kirare’s mouth lifted into a mocking smile. “You do realize that Rena has already informed me of your existence? And like all newbloods, it’s obvious that you have all the subtlety of a rampaging dragon.”
Jason was very tempted to retort with a bluntly put question as to the point of this exercise, but everything about the Viceroy told him to stay calm and respectful, especially if he wanted to enjoy his new powers for a while longer. Instead, he took a few glances at the disc drives as a way to get out.
“Yes, that’s a good way out, although I doubt that actually becoming the data that you transmit is within your spectrum,” Kirare mused as he watched Jason. “That would’ve been faster and a lot more fun, of course. I don’t know who or what gave you the aura that you have, but you best learn how to use it. Immediately.”
“I was planning on that, sir,” Jason said evenly. “And I am operating under the presumption that a repeat accidental hacking is out of the question, of course.”
Kirare’s eyes narrowed. “Damn right. And know this: I can’t stand wise-asses. If you want to melt some chocolate with blowtorch fingers, don’t let me be the one to intervene, but if I catch your aura in my computer innards, you’ll become the innards. Understand?”
Jason bowed, and fought to keep himself from thinking how the logistics of him being the new microprocessor would work.
“How do I get out of here?” he asked as Kirare nimbly jumped up to the wireless jack.
“You eyed the disc drive. Climb out and flare.”
In a flash, the Viceroy was gone, and Jason glanced around the inside of his computer yet again. When he realized that he was not far from the metal casing of the machine, he focused just enough to light one finger like a blowtorch, and proceeded to cut out an opening just large enough for him to climb out of.
As soon as he clambered through the makeshift hole and let himself drop, he felt as though he exploded from the inside out, and the next thing he felt was the unmistakable sensation of his skull hitting the underside of his computer desk. The following sensation was that of being stared at with a certain curiosity, and he realized that Makkian was standing there, and had undoubtedly saw him climb out of his own CPU.
“I think you have work for me,” Jason said with a smile as he extricated himself from underneath his desk, but that smile faded. “Okay, what’s wrong?”
“Might I ask what you were doing inside your own computer?” Makkian asked, one eyebrow lifted.
Jason gave Makkian the most unabashed stare that he could muster.
“It just had a bit of a disagreement, with me,” he said with a casual smile, and proceeded on his way.
Somewhere behind him, he heard Makkian mutter, “This guy is going to get on the wrong person’s nerves one day…”
Been there, done that, Jason thought as he kept walking.