Today’s Lesson

October 7, 2013 in Books, Reblogging Project, Writing

Pay attention to the little things.

Laura finished the beta of MythOS last night and really liked it. But we got to discussing whether it ended on a note that was a touch too dark. So I went back and reread the last 1,000 or so words.

As I was going over the final four or five paragraphs I realized that with a change of just three sentences I could shift the emphasis from the down notes and cost side of the wrap-up events to the up notes and the most important victory. I changed part of one paragraph, less than 25 words and it completely reframed the ending in a way that just lit the whole thing up. The events were identical, but two words of dialog got changed and a bittersweet tear became a bittersweet smile. And that made all kinds of difference. I won’t say more because it would be a serious spoiler, but always remember the little things matter.

2013 Edit: Adding the original text and the revised version below the reblogging disclaimer for those who are interested. The core change is in the third paragraph down.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog March 7 2008, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

SPOILERS BELOW!!!

The final lines as they appeared in the book:

“Goodbye, father,” said Fenris. With a great leap he joined me.

Click.

“Goodbye,” cried Loki, “and…good luck!” Then he smiled like the first breath of spring after a thousand-year winter and whispered, “Somewhere. Somehow.”

I waved back, then looked around for Laginn–I owed him a farewell. Something grabbed my bare ankle.

Clash.

In a huge room carved from the living wood of the world tree Yggdrasil a million copper beads all moved in the same direction at once.

The world ended. And as so often happens in such moments, a new one began.

And the version from the Alpha Draft:

“Goodbye, father” said Fenris. With a great leap he joined me.

Click.

“Goodbye!” cried Loki and the pain in his voice ripped at my heart. “And…good luck.” He waved at us with tears in his eyes.

I waved back, then looked around for Laginn–I owed him a farewell. Something grabbed my bare ankle.

Clash.

In a huge room carved from the living wood of the world tree Yggdrasil a million copper beads all moved in the same direction at once.

The world ended. And, as so often happens in such moments, a new one began.