Excerpts! Excerpts! Get Em While They’re Hot

So I pulled out my editing chainsaw the other day. It’s not unusual for me to finish the beginning of a sci-fi story and then immediately edit it before going on with the rest. What can I say? I’m a believer in strong beginnings.

Also, I promised excerpts. So I thought it’d be interesting to see my first two paragraphs of Draft 1 and Draft 1.1 side-by-side. I always find revisions and rewrites to be interesting beasts when the drafts belong to someone else. They give me a sense of who someone is and what their process looks like as a writer. Hopefully mine skews more towards ‘vaguely intelligent’ vs ‘complete and total idiot.’

So I started out with this:

My father says the best sunsets in the universe are those we have on Nibiru. I have nothing to compare them to, but he grew up on Earth and spent time on Mars. I think he’s a little biased; he and my mother were among the original colonizers on Nibiru some twenty years ago. Of course he loves it here; this whole planet is his project.

As for the sunsets? I think they are the ugliest things. I can remember a time when I thought they were beautiful. I was little then. The Anunnaki weren’t here, at least not like how they are now. Those sunsets of my childhood were brilliant. Our sun, Sotiras and her little brother Oligos, would dance and whisper secrets back and forth as they sank below the horizon. My favorites were when they would seem to hold hands as they skipped off to bed.

After some good old fashioned hacking away at it, I left with this:

My father says the best sunsets are those we have on Nibiru. He likes to present this opinion as fact, and there was a time when I believed him. Now, I think our sunsets are the ugliest of things. They’re like kittens drowned in a dirty burlap sack. For thrills.

Who knows if he’s right. I didn’t grow up on Earth and I have never been to Mars.  I’m the fifty-first child born on Nibiru and the first to never leave. I’ve seen maybe two-thousand and something sunsets, and I hate them more every night.

The thing that strikes me most is that my paragraphs became leaner. They meander less. Instead of opening with a focus on my protagonist’s father, we’re a little more rooted with her point of view. While we get less technical information on the setting, I’m hoping the v1.1 provides a stronger sense of place.

Of course, this will all change by my polish.

Share your thoughts. Go on, do it.

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