Get Fit Friday: My Paragraphs, pt. 2

paragraph-pretzelThis post is the second post in a short series of my results of the first Get-Fit Fridays.

This first section is a recap of the paragraphs being set one right after the other. I re-listed them here so to make an easier comparison.

One right after the other:

But she had to face reality. He was as much a workaholic as she was. She was getting in dive hours on her day off; he admitted that he worked from before he was even supposed to be in the building until after he was supposed to leave, and took work home with him. He was, he’d told her, a one-dimensional man.

Duncan depressed a glowing action-sequence button and the wings snapped up and down, climbing high above the lava cap of the volcano. The jetpods kicked in, and the wings went into lift attitude. He let up on the power. Resser hauled himself all the way inside in a tangle of arms and legs. Wheezing and out of breath, he wedged himself into the meager open space beside Duncan in the cockpit and began to laugh.

A religion with quite a few adherents these days, loners out running around. Sometimes there were organized runs, races: Thread the Labyrinth, Chaos Crawl, the Transmarineris, the Round-the-Worlder. And in between those, the day discipline. Purposeless activity; for art’s sake. For Nirgal it was worship, or meditation, or oblivion. His mind wandered, or focused on his body, or on the trail; or went blank. At this moment he was running to music, Bach then Bruckner then Bonnie Tyndall, as Elysian neoclassicist whose music poured along like the day itself, tall chords shifting in steady internal modulation, somewhat like Back or Bruckner in fact but slower and steadier, more inexorable and grand. Fine music to run by, even though for hours at a time he didn’t consciously hear it. He only ran.

Tolonen leaned forward, looking down out of the porthole. The spaceport was off in the distance ahead of them, a giant depression in the midst of the great glacial plateau of ice—the City’s edge forming a great wall about the outer perimeter. Even from this distance he could see the vast, pitted sprawl of landing pads, twenty li in diameter, its southernmost edge opening out onto Hsuan Wu Lake, the curve of the ancient Yangtze forming a natural barrier to the northeast, like a great moat two li in width. At the very center of that great sunken circle, like a a vast yet slender needle perched on its tip, was the control tower. Seeing it, Tolonen had mixed feelings. The last time he had come to greet someone from Mars it had been DeVore. Before he had known. Before the T’ang’s son, Han Ch’in, he died and everything had changed.

Dorian threw back the covers on the bed. There was a plain sheathed sword on it. It looked entirely normal, except that the sheath was made entirely of lead, and it covered the sword entirely, even the hilt, damping the magic. But this wasn’t just a magic sword, It was more like The Magic Sword. This was Curoch, Emperor Jorsin Alkestes’ sword. The Sword of Power. Most magi weren’t even strong enough to use it. If Feir (or most others) tried, it would kill him in a second. Dorian had said even Solon couldn’t use it safely. But after Jorsin Alkestes’ death, there had been quite a few magi who had been able to—and they’d destroyed more than one civilization. “At first, I thought I was going to have to prophesy my own future to get it, but instead, I prophesied the guards’. Everything worked perfectly except one guard came down the hallway that he only had maybe a one in thousand chance of taking. I had to knock him out. The good news is, he’s going to be nursed back to health by a lovely girl whom he’ll later marry.”

Wow. This is a mess of events and genres. I’m going to have to some extensive rewriting to make this a cohesive narrative. I’ll probably have to pare each paragraph down to the essence of what happened in it. First, though, to put them in a rough order:

Paragraphs in my order

But she had to face reality. He was as much a workaholic as she was. She was getting in dive hours on her day off; he admitted that he worked from before he was even supposed to be in the building until after he was supposed to leave, and took work home with him. He was, he’d told her, a one-dimensional man.

A religion with quite a few adherents these days, loners out running around. Sometimes there were organized runs, races: Thread the Labyrinth, Chaos Crawl, the Transmarineris, the Round-the-Worlder. And in between those, the day discipline. Purposeless activity; for art’s sake. For Nirgal it was worship, or meditation, or oblivion. His mind wandered, or focused on his body, or on the trail; or went blank. At this moment he was running to music, Bach then Bruckner then Bonnie Tyndall, as Elysian neoclassicist whose music poured along like the day itself, tall chords shifting in steady internal modulation, somewhat like Back or Bruckner in fact but slower and steadier, more inexorable and grand. Fine music to run by, even though for hours at a time he didn’t consciously hear it. He only ran.

Duncan depressed a glowing action-sequence button and the wings snapped up and down, climbing high above the lava cap of the volcano. The jetpods kicked in, and the wings went into lift attitude. He let up on the power. Resser hauled himself all the way inside in a tangle of arms and legs. Wheezing and out of breath, he wedged himself into the meager open space beside Duncan in the cockpit and began to laugh.

Tolonen leaned forward, looking down out of the porthole. The spaceport was off in the distance ahead of them, a giant depression in the midst of the great glacial plateau of ice—the City’s edge forming a great wall about the outer perimeter. Even from this distance he could see the vast, pitted sprawl of landing pads, twenty li in diameter, its southernmost edge opening out onto Hsuan Wu Lake, the curve of the ancient Yangtze forming a natural barrier to the northeast, like a great moat two li in width. At the very center of that great sunken circle, like a a vast yet slender needle perched on its tip, was the control tower. Seeing it, Tolonen had mixed feelings. The last time he had come to greet someone from Mars it had been DeVore. Before he had known. Before the T’ang’s son, Han Ch’in, he died and everything had changed.

Dorian threw back the covers on the bed. There was a plain sheathed sword on it. It looked entirely normal, except that the sheath was made entirely of lead, and it covered the sword entirely, even the hilt, damping the magic. But this wasn’t just a magic sword, It was more like The Magic Sword. This was Curoch, Emperor Jorsin Alkestes’ sword. The Sword of Power. Most magi weren’t even strong enough to use it. If Feir (or most others) tried, it would kill him in a second. Dorian had said even Solon couldn’t use it safely. But after Jorsin Alkestes’ death, there had been quite a few magi who had been able to—and they’d destroyed more than one civilization. “At first, I thought I was going to have to prophesy my own future to get it, but instead, I prophesied the guards’. Everything worked perfectly except one guard came down the hallway that he only had maybe a one in thousand chance of taking. I had to knock him out. The good news is, he’s going to be nursed back to health by a lovely girl whom he’ll later marry.”

I chose this order because I could see a progression of action from someone running, could be running to catch up with the vehicle Duncan’s flying, because we’ve got one person hauling himself inside it. Which lead to the vehicle approaching a space port. That left me with too paragraphs: the one about the workaholic boyfriend and the one about the magic sword. I decided to put that one at the end because the vehicle could have crew quarters. I tacked the other onto the beginning for lack of a better spot and I could see this being her thoughts as she was running.

Now we’ve got too many characters and at least a couple of genres. As for the genre issue, it between the spaceports, jetpods, and magic swords, it looks like I’ve got a science fantasy world here. I want a unity of plot here, so I’ll pick one main character—a woman, simply because the first paragraph is about a woman—and rewrite the rest of the paragraphs to match that. But she needs a name and our first paragraph doesn’t give us one. She’s the protagonist, so she has to be the one doing things. In my paragraphs, the main characters are: Nirgal, Resser (since I’d established that she was the one running to catch Duncan’s ship when I ordered the paragraphs), Tolonen, and Dorian. I’m not really fond most of theses names, Resser could make a great surname and I like the name Dorian. So that’s my main character’s name: Dorian Resser.

I’ll post the final rewrite in part 3, hopefully later this week.

[Photo by Windell Oskay via Flickr Creative Commons]

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