Today, I wanted to share with you the original opening for “The Bones of the Earth.” This was before it was edited, before I went back and re-wrote every chapter. Some people, myself included for the longest time, feel that having an editor (or editing) isn’t terribly important. But it really is. It makes a huge difference, and it’s one of the most important things you can do for your story. Obviously, it feels bad to spend the money to hire someone to do it, but it’ll feel worse years later when you read over what you released and realize how much more it could’ve been.
So check it out! Notice the differences. If you don’t own the book, you can see them through the preview option on Amazon. In this small sample, we can already see a lack of personality in Vrana. Things move very quickly. The sentences aren’t very tasty. It’s decent, but nothing I’d want to have out there.
Vrana no longer felt the weight of the raven’s head upon her own. It belonged to the mother of an unkindness* that dwelt deep in the woods outside her village of Caldera. The beast did not die willingly, the scars that now ran the length of Vrana’s back a testament to its frenzied violence. On her departure, the unkindness gathered around their headless mother and croaked happily over her bloody passing. If she had any regret regarding the ordeal, it was that she did not cut loose the mother’s talons to forge later into daggers.
The tall grass of the field obscured Vrana well enough, but the wind here was relentless and seemed to revel in revealing her to the enemy lurking behind the distant tree line. She watched for their movements through the hollowed sockets of her mask, tightening her grip on her axe at every breaking branch and skipping stone. The forest itself was much fuller, much healthier than the den of the unkindness Vrana had attacked, and the sound of the murmuring stream within it made her parched mouth all the more unbearable. Her limbs ached, too, but to move would undo the hours she had spent sitting stationary as insects scaled her legs and crawled along her flesh, biting and tasting the secrets it held.
She could not leave this place without taking a life, and taking lives was something she’d done easily in the past, but to kill a human, a Corrupted, did give her pause.
Vrana was on her feet moments after an arrow was loosed from her victim’s bow, and she was at the edge of the forest before it hit the spot where she had been sitting. Branches and thorns whipped and cut Vrana as she hurried passed them, never losing sight of the man with the bow and quiver of arrows. He darted between the trees, occasionally stopping to fire an arrow half-heartedly. They never met his mark, and each attempt only served to close the gap between Vrana and her prey.
Muscles burning, Vrana feared her body would succumb to exhaustion and the man would escape, but in his final act of foolishness he sought safety in the sky. He hoisted himself onto a tree, clamoring for branches. He was a slow climber, however, and the bark was wet, slippery. The man was only a few feet off the ground before Vrana caught him by the ankle and buried her axe into his spine.