Subtasks and an Air Pirates Excerpt

I realized one of my problems with editing is that I can't keep track of my progress as easily as I can with writing the draft. The result is that I feel unproductive which, ironically, makes me unproductive.

I think I've solved that by cutting it into relatively bite-sized stages. I did that before, but these are a little more concrete (i.e. for each stage, I have about 10-20 specific items that need changing).

Stage 1: Strong Ending. (Includes all the changes to beginning and middle that will help improve the ending).
Stage 2: Continuity.
Stage 3: Global Changes (i.e. capitalizing officerial titles or being consistent with the definite article and ship names).
Stage 4: Other Revisions. (Mostly improvement notes I made while drafting).
Stage 5: Strong Beginning.
Stage 6: Full Read-Through. (The subtasks of this one are individual chapters).

I've finished stages 1, 2, and 3. I'm almost done with stage 4, but stage 5 will be hard and stage 6 will be super-rough. Hopefully if I can track my progress and check things off of a list, it will help me stay determined. (I do like lists).

The title of this post also promises an excerpt, so here you go. I had a hard time finding one, since the beginning has all the world explanations in it but is also the least-polished.

This is the beginning of chapter 3. The stone has shown Hagai a vision in which the Oleanna, a merchant airship, crashes into the docks. Unsure whether he's seeing the future, he runs to the docks to find everything exactly as it was in the vision prior to the crash, and he starts to get worried. (In the excerpt, a dak is like a goat).

Chapter 3

Oleanna hung in the sky like a child's lost balloon, no bigger than Hagai's thumb at this distance. For a moment, Hagai thought the string of coincidences might end there. It didn't look like anything was wrong. If anything, the Oleanna was getting smaller as it floated away.

That was before he heard the explosion.

It was really quiet for an explosion. Just a small, muffled pop like distant fireworks. Hagai thought he imagined it at first. For a while, he hoped maybe it wasn't an explosion after all, until he saw smoke issuing from the top of the
Oleanna above him. That was also when the daks started getting nervous.

"Did you hear that?" Hagai asked the dak counter.


"That explosion, up in the sky. You didn't hear it?"

"Nay," the man replied, but he looked up towards the smoking airship.

"I heard an explosion, and then that smoke started coming out of the Oleanna."

The man squinted. "Nay, they're breezy. That's just exhaust from her boiler."

"No, it was an explosion. I heard it. I think they're in trouble."

"She's fine, see? She's still going."

The daks were getting louder and starting to push against the fences. Only Hagai seemed to notice. "Okay, look," he said, "I know this is going to sound weird, but… I
know that ship is going to crash into the docks. We need to get out of here. We need to warn everybody to get out of here."

"What?" he laughed. "What are you on about?"

"I got this stone, see, and it shows me the future." He put his hand on the sling.

"What'd you get that at the circ or something?"

"No, look..." Hagai looked up again. The airship looked bigger. "It's gonna... it's gonna crash right
there." He pointed. "People are gonna get hurt. The… the daks there are gonna break out and run wild, and, and you break your leg, and - "

"Here, now. That some kind of threat?"

"No! No, I just… I mean that's just what I saw."

"I got work to do, dog. Take your circus toy home."

"But I..." Hagai started, but the man had already turned around. The daks were restless now, and the dak counter looked pretty upset about it. Hagai left him alone. He looked for someone else to tell. There were plenty of skylers and dock workers everywhere, but they all seemed real busy. He considered yelling out a warning to everyone, but decided against it. He tried a one-on-one approach.

To one man he said, "Excuse me, I - "

"Outta my way, boy."

To another: "I'm sorry to bother you, b- "

"Does this look
light to you?"

"Excuse me, is that ship on fire?"

"Boiler exhaust. Please to move."

"Hey, that ship's falling."

"Nah, it's just coming in to port."

"But it just took off!" Hagai pleaded to the back of the last man.

Nobody would hear him, and the airship was getting closer.


Natalie Whipple said...

I'm so excited to see an excerpt! And I really liked it too. What's going to happen!?!? Your writing is clean. Such a fan of clean:)

fairyhedgehog said...

It's looking good.

MattyDub said...

Cassandra FTW. Or FTL, as the case may be.