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Paradise - First Full Drafts Completed

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Last night I finished what I recently decided would be the full first draft of Paradise and I'm surprised at how well it's turning out. I have a nice majority of the content I want for the first chapter written in, but it's still very rough around the edges. Last night I made an initial editing run of the first ten pages of the 1.5-line spaced draft (which stands at thirteen pages right now) and added a few large sections of entirely new content that have yet to be proofread. And tonight I spent a solid few hours just editing the first six pages of last night's draft... So I still have to get around to doing a first pass on the recently-written content as well as the last few pages that I wrote a week ago. The first full editing pass should be finished tomorrow, and I'll update this post accordingly once that happens, but I figured I'd write a post now. My eyes are currently too tired to really edit anything else at the moment (though I'm not personally tired enough to head to sleep quite yet), so what better time than now to post the "it's finished" entry?

Against my better judgment, I'm going to do a little bit of talking about the actual content of the chapter, just so those who haven't heard me rant about it before can have some semblance of an idea about what they're going to be getting into if they read it. The basic premise is that the story takes place in a planned "fallout shelter" which has room and supplied enough to support over ten-thousand people for as long as it needs to. The first chapter starts forty-six days after the inhabitants of the shelter (named Paradise; and you thought the name of the story was unrelated. SILLY YOU!) are actually locked in (though they have been living there with a bit more freedom for an unknown-to-even-me amount of time before then). They have no means of getting out of the shelter other than outside help by those "in the know" or an inner-shelter failsafe which I have yet to establish.

The story of how the people in the shelter got chosen will be shown through flashbacks into the main character's life, for the most part, with the occasional "present time" conversations between characters when it seems fitting. My original intent was to not have any flashbacks until the third chapter or so, as I think it's a strange enough situation to not warrant immediate explanation, but a number of people felt differently, so I threw in a fairly explanatory flashback just to test out the concept. Whether or not it will actually stay where it's currently placed, I don't know, but the early feedback I've received about it has been positive.

As of right now, there is very little I actually have in mind as to what I will be working towards. As an example, I have had a fairly fleshed-out sense of what the main character (Adam) is like and what will become of him... But while I was plotting out and writing the first draft I never had any intention of giving him a wife. Then, last night, while I was reading through the chapter, I gave him a wife in the flashback and that's just how it turned out. That's pretty much the gist of my knowledge of the actual story specifics at the moment, but I do have a lot of general ideas of what I want to work in, as well as a potential ending scene already completely written out in my head.

And now some more general stuff: this story isn't science-fiction, so don't let your imagination go too crazy while you read it. The story is set to take place in an undetermined year (and it will remain that way), though the social and political events that the story is based around could never happen now, or even in the next decade, so the story takes place in the future solely so that these kinds political tension can be safely developed and explained. For all intents and purposes, though, everything in the story will be based off of modern technology and scientific knowledge. The idea of a large underground fallout shelter is reallya bit far-fetched, and I understand that, but as of now I'm really not all too concerned about that.

And now, a WARNING: the introductory chapter contains some fairly detailed description of gore and PG-13 language. On the other hand, the first chapter includes no explicit material aside from a fairly substantial amount of swearing (R-caliber stuff in this case).

  • Introduction (DOC or PDF) -- The introductory chapter is intentionally vague and seemingly unrelated to the first chapter, but I assure that it will eventually find its place in the actual story... And if it doesn't, it'll disappear like POOF. Gone. For now, though, just assume it's related.

  • Chapter 1 (DOC or PDF) -- This is where the actual story begins and the main character, Adam, is introduced along with Seth who has red hair. Thrilling.
And the general folder where I upload the drafts as I "complete" them can be found at http://www.polycat.net/trent/book/. If you have any general comments, then please by all means e-mail me or just leave a comment to this entry... Or some kind of combination deal if that's your thing. If you feel the need to make any small grammatical corrections, just refrain for the time being. Currently any feedback on style, pacing, specific or, best of all, general content would be absolutely awesome to the max.

Update (2/26/06): Alright, the first draft of the full chapter was just finished. As I said on my site, I hope you enjoy it. I'll probably start work on Chapter 2 in a week or two. Still drafting some basic ideas for the chapter. It'll be a good'un. I think it'll primarily be centered more around the story of what kind of place they're living in (though I don't think I'm going to get into the why yet). The real crazy stuff won't be breaking out quite yet, but I may lay a few of the foundations for it.
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