Week nineteen, and I am neck-deep in revisions for Acts of War: Aftershock.
Progress: I’m very pleased with the progress I’ve made so far. I’ve revised over a third of the novel at this point, and that includes rewrites of two major scenes. I’m on pace to put this round of revisions to bed in a total of two weeks or so.
Revision Roundup: Today, I’d like to talk about one of three major areas of revision I mentioned in last week’s post: setting continuity. These are often little tweaks and adjustments that ground the story more firmly in the Iron Kingdoms, or, sometimes, fix outright errors. I’ve been working in the IK for seven years now, so I’m very familiar with how things work in the land of steam and steel, but I do make mistakes, and luckily Doug Seacat and Matt Goetz are there to catch them.
Here’s an example a fairly minor continuity issue that I’ve already addressed:
Original text: The Chargers’ cannons went off first, and he aimed the explosive shells at the towers atop the gate, guiding them with his will.
I had been using these cannon blasts to kill multiple foes, and Doug Seacat had this comment on the text: Chargers don’t have explosive shells. Sentinel guns would work better for clearing groups of infantry, whereas Charger cannons are better to hit individual targets harder. If you want light warjacks with explosive shells, have him take Grenadiers instead of Chargers.
Revised text: The Grenadiers’ grenade launchers went off first, and he aimed the explosive shells at the towers atop the gate, guiding them with his will.
The solution: An easy one. I changed the Chargers to Grenadiers in this scene, changed the words “cannons” to “grenade launchers,” and problem solved. This is one of the small details even someone well-versed in the setting can overlook. You see the word cannon, and you think explosion, but as Doug said, that’s not really what Charger cannons do. Grenadiers, on the other hand, are a great fit for this scene.
I needed to do some additional adjustments in the scene to replace the Chargers (and let the Sentinels mow down some infantry), but it was all pretty easy stuff. I would say about twenty five percent of the changes I’ll be making in the manuscript are similar to this example. Next week, we’ll get into some of the more complicated revisions.
Mini Excerpt: Hey, let’s take those new Grenadiers for a test drive!
The Grenadier swung its mattock at a Winter Guard officer locked in a saber duel with a Resistance soldier. The pick blade of the oversized weapon struck the Khadoran in the back, passed completely through his body, and burst from his chest in a spray of blood. A slight pulse of irritation flowing back through the warjack’s connection with Magnus as the Grenadier hoisted the dead soldier from the ground, now pinned to its weapon, and shook the corpse free like a man trying to dislodge a bit of trash from the bottom of his shoe.
Often when you revise a scene, you end up liking the revision way more than the original. Of course, this makes Grenadiers seem like jerks, which, hey, maybe they are. 🙂
If you have a question or comment about the book or my writing process, ask away in the comments section below. And if you’ve missed the updates for the previous weeks, you can find them right here:
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“Grenadiers’ grenade launchers” is a tautology, isn’t it? You’re repeating the word ‘grenade’.
The Grenadiers’ launchers went off first, and he aimed their grenades at the towers atop the gate, guiding them with his will.
Grenades are explosive anyway so explosive grenades would be another tautology.
And should ‘Grenadiers’ be capitalised?
You’re right, but we’re running into specific terms from the game (such as the warjack’s weapons), which have to be handled in a specific way. Grenadier is a warjack chassis, for example, and those are always capped. I agree that explosive shells and grenades could be swapped, though. We’ll see what the editors think. 🙂
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