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The First Draft Dilemma

Fear the WEES - The Wizened Elf of Errant Syntax

Fear the WEES – The Wizened Elf of Errant Syntax

A first draft is merely a starting place. Whether it becomes the start of something wondrous or the start of a lingering nightmare is entirely up to you… and, of course, the W.E.E.S.

A Dark Blackness
You are in a deep and endless field of dark. There are those who might call this Chapter Nine. To the west is Chapter Eight. Chapter Ten lies somewhere off to the East.

>VERBOSE
Maximum Verbosity.

>FINISH FIRST DRAFT
It’s never that easy.

>WRITE
A line appears on the horizon. It speeds toward you in a blur of grey and brown, creating a hard concrete surface beneath your feet. Dingy walls rise up along all sides and a domed roof appears overhead.

>WRITE
Details fill out around you, subtle color blends, glistering slime molds, pungent smells and flickers of light from dying bulbs and cracks in the glass above.
A WEES wanders into the room and looks about with its eternal curiosity.

>LOOK

Ch. 9 – Abandoned Subway Station
You are on a transit platform in the hub of a long unused subway terminal. Pools of stagnant rainwater and streaks of mold are the only regular inhabitants these days. To the west is Chapter Eight. Chapter Ten lies somewhere off to the east.
There is a WEES standing here, waiting.

>WHAT IS A WEES
The Wizened Elves of Errant Syntax are mythological creatures renowned for their sensitivity to both poor grammar and errors in frequency. In olden times they were retained by kings and heads of state to ensure that diplomatic affairs were conducted in only the most formal and proper of etiquette. The WEES faded from human society after one too many monarchs were devoured whole after uttering, ‘Um…’.

LOOK AT WEES
>The ancient creature has cracked grey skin, covered with the dust of a billion shredded pages. His pointy ears turn your way and he studies you with eyes sharp as fireballs.

>INV
You are carrying:
a thesaurus

>SHOW THESAURUS TO WEES
The WEES claps his hands together and bows reverently.

>WRITE
A homeless man that reeks of fetid dingo’s kidneys appears, laying slumped against a wall.
The WEES wrings his hands and stomps his foot, shaking the ground. “Been done!” he shouts, pointing to the west.

>WEST
Ch.8 – Hotel Ballroom
You are in an elegant ballroom covered in gold drapes and dazzling crystal. A sixteen piece band sets the mood from atop a stage on the north wall. Debutantes and gentlemen in top hats mill about, brushing elbows among high society. There is a Chapter Seven to the west and a Chapter Nine to the east.
Earl, your stock broker, is leaning against the bar.

>LOOK AT EARL
Earl, in his rumpled brown suit, stands out amid the fancy setting like a heap of fetid dingo’s kidneys.

>EAST

Ch. 9 – Abandoned Subway Station
You are on a transit platform in the hub of a long unused subway terminal. Pools of stagnant rainwater and streaks of mold are the only regular inhabitants these days. To the west is Chapter Eight. Chapter Ten lies somewhere off to the east.
There is a WEES here, leaning on a gnarled walking stick and wearing a smug grin.
There is a homeless man here, reeking of fetid dingo’s kidneys.

>ERASE KIDNEYS
The homeless man smells much better now.
The WEES nods in appreciation.

>WRITE IN PEAT MOSS
The WEES screams, “Used!”
The WEES waves his staff and your word “WRITE” explodes into pixels.
I don’t know the phrase “IN PEAT MOSS”.

>CREATE PEAT MOSS FOR THE HOMELESS MAN
The homeless man now carries the odor of an old highland bog.

>CREATE RATS
The WEES screams, “Used!”
The WEES waves his staff and your word “CREATE” explodes into pixels.
I don’t understand “RATS”.

>CONJURE RATS
Soft squeaks and the skitter of small claws add to the ambiance.

>CRAFT A COLD WIND
The homeless man shivers.

>HELP WITH NEW WORDS
This is your dream, help yourself.

>MAKE A CAREFUL FLASHBACK SEQUENCE
Your main character will now pause for introspection about his ex-wife and Earl the stock broker, while avoiding of the words KIDNEYS, WRITE, PEAT MOSS, CREATE, RATS, CONJURE, CRAFT, COLD or WIND.

>LOOK
The WEES screams, “Used!”
The WEES waves his staff and disallows your last request.

>USE THESAURUS
You’ll have to be more specific.

>EAST
You can’t enter chapter 10 until you flesh out more of chapter 9.

>WEST
The WEES smashes you on the knee, having seen you do that already.
The WEES notices that you used the word “MAN” again somewhere in your recent flashback sequence. He gobbles the sequence down with a fierce gnashing of teeth.

>KILL WEES
(with the thesaurus)
You hurl the hardbound copy at the WEES. He catches it in mid-air and thumbs through the pages.
The WEES scans the room and screams, “Cliche!” He waves his stick and the room trembles from his wrath. Some items are no longer here.

>DESCRIBE THE ROOM

Ch. 9 – Abandoned Subway Station
You are on a transit platform in the hub of a long unused subway terminal. There are no surviving details here. There are no exits here, as you cannot proceed without completing this chapter.
There is a vicious looking WEES here, wielding a gnarled walking stick.
You sense a lethargic disinterest is lurking close by.

>RESTART

A Dark Blackness
You are in a deep and endless field of dark. There are those who might call this Chapter Nine. To the west is Chapter Eight. Chapter Ten lies somewhere off to the East.

>WAIT
A WEES wanders into the room and looks about with its eternal curiosity.

>WAIT
“No!” shouts the WEES. “Just said that!”
The WEES waves his gnarled walking stick and blinks, confused. There is nothing to edit out yet.

>WEES, THIS IS A FIRST DRAFT
The WEES turns a brilliant shade of persimmon. “Whoops! Sorry, mate! Be redundant at will,” he says and then vanishes in a puff of white smoke.
A small card falls to the ground.

>READ CARD
“Erika Marks has an excellent post on battling a first draft. Enjoy it at: http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com

>WRITE
Ok.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

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