Nose to Tail Revision (and Snippets)

Posted: June 3rd, 2024 under Craft, Editing, Horngard, Progress, snippet, the writing life.
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“As you know…” I’ve been working on, and re-working on, and re-RE-working on Horngard I.  Recovering the ability to write fiction has not meant (alas!!) recovering the ability to do two or three layers of revision at once.  Revision has been a fairly arduous process of fixing this bit, then that bit, than then this other bit, one at a time, even when the things to be fixed were in the same sentence or paragraph.   It is getting better, but not as fast as I want.

But–on the bright side–Horngard I has a new first chapter that is MUCH better than the previous one in multiple ways (characterization, plot, etc.)  AND a new ending section that solves a problem several people who’d seen it had noted.

Even so both of these fragments had to be rewritten several times in several days.  But to celebrate the completion (I hope) of the first chapter and the last, here are a few snippets


From Chapter One:

Where: near or in Valdaire, in Aarenis, morning.  Who: Camwyn, 21 yo, formerly Camwyn Mahieran, crown prince of Tsaia

Camwyn resented Dragon ignoring his own wishes, and “not wise yet” didn’t help. Someday, he would find out where he had come from.  Someday he would find out if his family still wanted him.  Grateful as he was, he would not give up that hope for Dragon’s dream.

Where: coming down from the mountain pass from Tsaia to Aarenis, midday.  Who: Aris Marrakai, 18 yo, one of four squires to Duke Arcolin

He let himself drift into the hope he’d clung to for years, and hidden from his disapproving father: finding his best friend, Prince Camwyn, missing for more than five years.  Have time and freedom for his search.  Thus: be a courier, carrying messages for the Duke   from city to city on a fast, tireless horse, ridden by a young man of good breeding and impeccable reputation, the squire who never got into trouble.

Where: lunchtime at The Golden Fish, Valdaire.  Who: Aesil M’dierra, Golden Company owner/commander

She noticed a handsome dark-eyed stranger, a young man she’d never seen before, at the front window table, richly dressed in bold yellow and black over mail. A visiting princeling from the north?  Or perhaps from Fallo or one of the Immerhoft ports?  A padded coif on his head hid his hair.

Where: later lunchtime at The Golden Fish    Who: Aesil M’dierra,   Gurtnor Sartanits, Blue Company owner/commander

She recognized Gurtnor Sartanits, owner and commander of Blue Company, mail under his blue surcoat, tall boots folded to knee height, a dagger hilt showing in each, sword  on one side and a wide-bladed short sword on the other.  He strode in as if he owned the inn. Behind him were two of his captains, also wearing mail, spurred boots, and ample weaponry.

Sartanits’ smile, when he spotted her, had no friendliness in it, and his voice oozed condescension.  “Commander M’dierra!  Fancy meeting you here without your faithful Arcolin.  Found someone less ancient, have you?…”

One of these four will be dead by the end of the book, one accused of murder and under presumed sentence of death, one very badly wounded, one about to announce retirement.

To avoid spoilers, you’ll have to wait to see a snippet from the end, if I can find one that doesn’t reveal too much.  Chapter One, after a last change this morning, should be stable from here on.


  • Comment by elizabeth — June 3, 2024 @ 2:36 pm


    The wide-bladed short sword is actually as close to a cinquaeda (sp. uncertain) as you could wish. Some would call it a type of dagger, others a type of short sword. It’s about palm width at the base, worn at the hip in a sheath that allows a quick draw and then a straight forward punch-thrust. Very effective street/alley fighting weapon. There’s a similar weapon from India, a katar.

  • Comment by Kat M — June 3, 2024 @ 7:57 pm


    Thank you so much for the snippet and little glimpse! Am always excited at the thought of more tales of Paksworld.

  • Comment by Mike Andrews — June 3, 2024 @ 8:50 pm


    “Cinquedea”, dear Captain.

  • Comment by Jace — June 4, 2024 @ 2:10 am


    Wow. Thank you. Can’t wait.

  • Comment by Brenda — June 4, 2024 @ 10:12 am


    Thanks for the snippet! Really looking forward to the finished book, as well as story collection(s).

  • Comment by elizabeth — June 4, 2024 @ 10:13 am


    Thanks, Mike.

  • Comment by yennork — June 4, 2024 @ 10:30 am


    Dragon isn’t quite as wise as he thinks when it comes to dealing with humans.

    I doubt anyone wants to tell him, though.

    And thanks for the snippets!

  • Comment by Linda — June 4, 2024 @ 12:00 pm


    So glad you are well and that the book prospers. These snippets are fascinating. I have been re-reading again … or maybe “still” is more accurate … and I always seem to find events, characters, places which resonate in new ways. Bless you!

  • Comment by Jeff Davidson — June 4, 2024 @ 12:53 pm


    Thanks for sharing. This will cetainly be worth the wait!

  • Comment by elizabeth — June 7, 2024 @ 6:26 am


    The last sentence in the post, that chapter one would be stable from then on…was wrong. It’s changed again, after a reading by the writing group I’m in. The tinkering never completely stops until Production sends it to the printer.

  • Comment by Patricia Lanigan — June 8, 2024 @ 5:50 pm


    Delighted you’re back on Paksworld. I’d finally stopped checking every single day to see if there was news, hoping you were staying well, and that the silence was due to Horngard inspirations rather than illness.

    The publication of Horngard I can’t come soon enough!
    Best wishes for a strong arm (and back) with all the sabre work.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — June 10, 2024 @ 1:15 pm


    Thank you. I do like these snippets. They gets us into each of their heads.

    I will refrain from guessing since the last time I did I mentioned a that we needed a certain Dragon to appear.

  • Comment by Jace — June 11, 2024 @ 4:05 pm


    He is Dragon but not DRAGON. Wise but not infallible.

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