I've just finished a complete read through of the rough (very rough) draft of the sequel to Amaranth & Ash, currently known only as Evanscar.
As a writer, I have a terrible time stepping back and looking at the big picture. I"m always getting caught up in the minutae, line editing whole sections that are doomed to be cut in the long run. So this time, I limited myself to only making notes. No actual changes in the ms. Some of those notes are in fact line edits, but a lot of them are more structural things.
At about halfway through the ms. things seemed hopeless. I went right into that whole this-was-a-mistake-from-the-very-beginning-what-was-I-thinking state of mind. I went to bed that night and miraculously awoke with the solution to the muddling middle of this book. And the even better news is that it requires more new scenes but not too much reworking of what I already have. Yippeee!
Now I need a really solid ending, but hopefully that will come as the rest of the book shapes up. I bolded the comments that are structural so I can tackle those first before giving in to my urge to fiddle with sentences.
So, to celebrate, here is a little snippet from the story, from a scene that will probably not wind up in the book (with line edits, of course!):
Fix Finder opened his master's wardrobe and gazed upon a kaleidescope of fabrics and patterns, all of them in the greens, golds, and reds that best complimented Evanscar's coloring. The aroma of anise and ginger, Evanscar's signature scents, filled his nose. He ran his fingers lightly over velvets, silks and linens, indulging his senses for a moment before turning to the serious business of selecting his master's attire for this afternoon's appointment.
It was Evanscar's first meeting with Valor Brimstoke, the leader of a fashionable set of young Elai lords, all of them landed aristocracy. Brimstoke's patronage could make Evanscar's career, which would in turn ensure Fix a long and prosperous tenure as his valet, something which he desired rather more than he should, perhaps.
But Evanscar was a good master. When he was unkind, which was seldom, he snapped at Fix, perhaps used[AH1] an insult or two. He'd[AH2] never struck Fix. Not once. He never asked Fix to do anything that was unseemly, humiliating[AH3] , or dangerous. He didn't even make Fix work all that hard. He was status conscious, so he kept Fix as a full-time, live-in valet, plus he had a gardener and a maid who[AH4] came once a week. Fix had plenty of free time on his hands while Evanscar was out, and as long as he kept the place tidy, the food tasty, and Evanscar's wardrobe clean and pressed, the vasai didn't seem to care what he did with his spare time.
Fix selected the russet velvet under robe, then put it back. It was early spring and no one wanted to be reminded of winter's chill. He chose instead a double layered silk robe the color of new siltgrass shoots, a gold satin tunic, and the green brocade overrobe embroidered with a pattern of pussy willows. The dappled pattern would be another layer of camoflage for Evanscar's one physical defect — the freckles that he made every effort to conceal. Though all of this was merely for those crucial first moments when Evanscar stepped out of the hoverlift onto the grounds of Brimstoke Manor. Soon, these garments would be discarded and Evanscar's body and soul would overwhelm the senses of those present[AH5] .
"Fix, can you apply my powder? I can never get it as even as you do." Evanscar's voice floated in from the next room, a contralto as warm and smooth as the cherry wood panelling that graced their townhouse.
Fix laid the garments upon the bench in the dressing room and went to attend his master's toilette.
Evanscar sat at the vanity, his long, supple body draped in a gossamer robe of peach which [AH6] highlighted the pink tones in his alabaster skin and did nothing to disguise the curves of his buttocks, breasts and cock. He frowned at his reflection.
Fix could not fathom what gave him displeasure. The rich auburn waves of his chin-length hair framed his heart-shaped face and complemented the emerald green of his eyes. The slight upturn of his nose and the point of his chin lent a sauciness to his beauty that suited his personality perfectly. Evanscar was everything a vasai should be — vain and spoiled and achingly beautiful. He knew what a vasai was for and he loved his duty.
Fix took a deep breath and fought down his innapropriate reaction — the one drawback to being in service to Evanscar. He focused his gaze on the pot of powder his master held out to him. The stuff cost a small fortune. He took it and carefully applied a thin layer of the concealing powder over the freckles that graced Evanscar's cheeks and the bridge of his nose, doing his best not to notice the warmth radiating from Evanscar, nor his scent or the full swell of his lips. Proper pel were supposed to be immune to sexual desire, but Fix had never been a proper pel. He stood back with no little relief.
Evanscar peered at his reflection and pouted. "More. I can still see them."
"No vai." The words slipped out while he was distracted, with nothing to blunt them.
Evanscar raised an eyebrow.
"More powder will do nothing further to conceal them, and will only make vai appear made up. Vai must trust me in this matter, no one will be looking at vai's freckles." Fix waited to see if three years of steadfast service and sound advice had earned him the privelige[AH7] of disagreeing with his master.
Evanscar sat back in his chair and expelled a breath. He stared at his reflection a moment, then closed his eyes. "Very well. What have you chosen for me to wear?"
[AH3]Arent’t these basically the same?
[AH4]Both of whom
[AH5]No one would be looking at his freckles then.