Saturday, 18 July 2015

Snazzy Snippets: A Closer Look at Matryoshka and Sparse Drafts

So I'm linking up with my own link-up. It sounds weird, but hey, my link-up, my rules.

(Okay, so really it's a collab project with Emily @ Loony Literate, but still.)

Snazzy Snippets is a chance for writers to share snapshots of their writing around certain themes. You can find out more and link up with us here!

Today I'm sharing snippets from the first draft of Matryoshka, which I first introduced in this #WatchMeWrite. You can read all related posts here. Without further ado:

A snippet that shows your MC’s personality

"You’ve always wanted to go to the capital," Thomas' mother said.

"We want a great many things." He wanted to sail across the world, learn a thousand languages and taste as many wines, slay exotic beasts and raise a city in his name, make promises and sell his heart to keep them, kiss a girl with hair of sunlight. He wanted a fairytale and the stars snatched his father.

He was back now to defy the stars.

His mother rewarded him with a thin-lipped smile. "Mallister’s head most of all."
That paragraph right there is a heavy dose of foreshadowing. I had so much fun with it.

A snippet featuring the villain


Well, to be honest, I'm not sure that Thomas can't be the villain as well. Another POV character, Kim, definitely views him as such.
Soldier: *smiling*

K: Stop smiling.

Soldier: Why? We're at the Dpt of Justice, no one can see us.

K: Stop. Smiling. *is watching Thomas* *approaches him carefully*

“Peace be with you,” the boy said in Derroni, pressing his hand to his heart. “I’m looking for the justiciar.” His [skin colour] face was too long and solemn to be called handsome, but that crooked smile made a thousand empty promises. That wasn’t why Kim’s heart was racing.

The boy wore the loose white robes of the south and the face of Stanley Mexrenne.
Remember I mentioned my Camp NaNo draft was basically a "sparse draft"? Here's an example in full force. Notable points:

  • asterisk-framed actions like cyberspeak
  • no true dialogue tags
  • shortened names (K = Kim)
  • square brackets as I hadn't decided on how exactly to describe Thomas' skin colour

A snippet that’s mostly dialogue

Basically my entire novel is mostly dialogue, since that was the focal point of my sparse drafting method. But here's a cute passage I quite enjoyed writing:
T: Kindness does the dead no favours.

D: And vengeance does? *exasperated*

The whiplash reply [elevated] Thomas’ opinion of Daniel at once. T: We began on a bad note, Dan, and I apologise. Perhaps we might begin again. *hand on heart*

Dan: *shrugs* sure. The Chancellor sympathises with some parties in less desirable parts of town, but she is set against violence. I might take you there and you could ask them to stand down? Since you serve the same cause.

T: Take me where?

D: The abbey. It’s abandoned, but the rebels have turned it into their base. Just behind the old market by the sea.

T: The old market is the black market. [in less modern but equally blunt terms]

D: You’re quite sharp for a southern boy fresh to the capital.

T: *thinks* You’re quite rude for a Chancellor’s assistant.
This dialogue is way snappier (snazzier, dare I say?) than the time period I'm setting this story in, but that's how it came to me and therefore that's how it's on the paper as a first draft.

Did you link up with Snazzy Snippets? (Hint: you should.) Thoughts on sparse drafting? Was the banter funny?!?


Twitter-sized takeout:
Want to stay updated on Matryoshka? Join my takeout army and be the first to basically know anything!

24 comments:

  1. I love your dialogue! The first passage, though, was probably my favorite. And I'm becoming more and more interested in your sparse drafting method--it sounds like a great way to get down a first draft without worrying too much about perfectionism. Thank you so much for these posts!

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    1. Thank you, Alex! I had that first bit stewing in my head for a while before Camp NaNo officially started, and I do have a soft spot for it. I'm glad these snippets convinced you sparse drafting may be worth a try!

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  2. Thomas sounds like such a fascinating character! Also, I can see how you could write so fast with such a sparse draft! I am pretty sparse by being able to sum everything up very quickly, but I'm not THAT sparse. Do you turn off the spell check while you're sparse drafting? All those red lines would make my eyes hurt! All in all, your snippets sound dreamy and funny—thanks for sharing them with us!

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    1. I do enjoy writing Thomas, brat though he may be. And yeah, I surprised even myself when drafting this monster. Your summaries are the best, though, from the snippets you posted on your blog a while back. I don't turn off spellcheck, I just turn off my eyes XD Thanks for the compliments!

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  3. THIS JUST IN: Alyssa Carlier's writing - including her sparse drafts, which shouldn't even count, for god's sake - slays the most hardened of readers and leaves those with less strength sprawled on the floor from perfection overdose. HANDLE WITH CARE. SHE IS DANGER PERSONIFIED.

    Also:

    "Soldier: *smiling*

    K: Stop smiling."

    ^Why do I get the feeling that that's pretty much the essence of Kim's character? I love her already. ;)

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    1. *sets aside all world domination ambitions and dignity hence required* *TACKLE HUG* THANK YOU THANK YOU. Seriously, you're so sweet -- I'm so looking forward to revising this now. And I'm so glad you like Kim; once of my main worries is that she's too rigid to be relatable.

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  4. Your writing is awesome, even when it's not in full :) Will we get to read the fleshed out snippets eventually?

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    1. Thank you, Opal! I'll definitely keep that option in mind for the next Snazzy Snippets, although that'll depend on what theme Emily and I end up choosing.

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  5. You write like a pro! Seriously, those paragraphs are great, I especially love your first paragraph. You really brought Thomas to life, and I hope I'm lucky enough to be able to read this when it's done. :)

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    1. Aww, thank you, Jo! Probably you will -- I'm basically okay with anyone reading it unless we have wildly differing visions, e.g. you expect everyone to survive. Mwahahaha. XD

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  6. Okay, this is such a cool feature! And I adore the snippets you shared! Totally love how you write your drafts, too, hah!

    Thanks for sharing, Alyssa <33

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    1. I'm happy you like this feature, Melanie! And thank you very much for your kind words :D

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  7. Oh now this is so neat, Alyssa! I'd never seen this feature going around, but now that I've seen it in action I'm pretty sure I'll be joining in in the future sometime. I'd love to find these pieces of my WIP to share, although my main struggle would be opening up about my work. I'm hugely private!
    This is so great, though. I'm really intrigued by your early draft style, it's so interesting to see that's your process. There's so much beauty to that first scene. It sets a feel and, as you say, foreshadowing! xx

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    1. Thank you, Romi! It's a new feature, actually, but I'm so happy you stumbled upon it and plan to join in the future. Snippets are really fun to hunt through your ms and find! My drafting process is one newly tried, but it worked quite well for me. Thanks again for dropping by!

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  8. OOH I LOVE THE WAY YOU DID YOUR DRAFT ALYSSA. I seem to do this a lot in my WIP as well. Except using Google Docs, I just leave a comment in that particular snippet. I think I have over a hundred now ._. What from his hair colour should be, to coming up with the right word...stuff like that. Mostly things I'm not happy with, and need a major overhaul. CONGRATS THO. Fourteen days, that's amazing. Lovely post!

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    1. THANK YOU NIRVANA. I used to write on Google Docs to make sure it wouldn't be destroyed with my computer, but it loaded too slowly for revisions. I use square brackets now so I can easily Ctrl+F! THANK YOU AGAIN, LOVELY TAKEOUT PERSON.

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  9. I'm only just catching up on all these bloggy post's I've missed with 2 weeks of unreliable (if any) internet, but this is sooooo cool! I love it! The idea is so original (for the novel, not the sparse drafting. although that seems pretty effective too). I really like the dialogue and I am so excited to see more!

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    1. Thank you, Shar! So happy you find the novel intriguing. This drafting method really is all about the dialogue :)

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  10. I am so keen on this story! I love your writing :D

    I must say that I thought the style used in the second and third snippets was how you wrote the book, and I was thinking: WOAH, that is intensely unique. But then you said it was just your drafting XD To be honest, I think a book written like that WOULD be pretty awesome, because it's almost like stage directions, but not quite. Pretty cool.

    Anyway, I can't wait to see more of these snippets, this is such a great link-up! ^.^

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    1. Thank you, Chiara! Eh, no, it's really just the drafting, although it WOULD be fun to write an actual novel so sparsely. We'll be having Snazzy Snippets again in September, so watch this space!

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  11. OH I LOVE THESE. Particularly that first one...omg, the writing. THE WRITING. It's beautiful and visual. I AM IN AWE, OKAY?! And linking up with your own linkup is totally legit. *nods* And woah, so you kind of nearly write them in shorthand, right?! That is pretty neat. ^_^

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    1. THANK YOU CAIT. OMG. That means like so much coming from you because your writing is like SO FAB. And yeah, I write in super shorthand for my first draft this time, it might as well be called outlining XD

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