As a fan, I love to see the early drafts of my favorite stories, games, and movies. It’s fun to see an artist’s first ideas and compare them to what would eventually be their final forms. With that in mind, I thought that I would share with my fans a little compare-and-contrast from my own stories.
What follows are the first couple of pages from chapter four in The Beast Hunter: A Keltin Moore Adventure. The first version was written in June of 2011 and was my first attempt to describe both the Loopi and Keltin’s first impressions of Jaylocke. The second version of this scene comes from the finished novel which was published in May of 2014.
Fans of Keltin Moore may notice that Paulsen originally came all the way to Krendaria with Keltin, playing the role of a sort of stuffy wet blanket that Keltin had to take care of. There was also no mention early on of Keltin’s sister Mary or Mr. Renlowah, neither of which even existed yet!
Leave a comment below if you enjoy seeing these glimpses into my creative process, and let me know what changes you found most interesting between these two versions of the same scene.
Keltin watched the last star in the sky until it disappeared into the hazy light of false dawn. Paulsen snored nearby on Keltin’s sleeping matt, but he hesitated to wake him. For once the banker had had a difficult time sleeping, though the lawns of Duke Gregson’s estate felt like a thick carpet under Keltin’s boots.
Other hunters were beginning to stir themselves in the small village of tents. The Loopi were all already up and packing their equipment. Keltin watched them curiously. There were four of them altogether. Grel’zi’tael, the Sky Talker, was obviously the group’s eldest member and leader and the four younger Loopi paid him great respect at each opportunity. Keltin had never known much about the Loopi people or their Sky Talkers. He’d heard stories as a child that they had the power to speak with the wind and choose when and where the rains fall. Looking at the silver-haired Loopi standing in the half-light, he could easily believe it.
Keltin turned at the sound of footsteps. One of Evik’s gypsies in a button-festoned vest and pale yellow shirt gave him a friendly smile.
“Ah, you’re up already. Good. Baron Rumsfeld asked us to make sure each of you knew that he had arrived a few minutes ago.”
“Thank you, I’ll be along shortly.”
The gypsy nodded and moved on as Paulsen groaned and rolled over.
“What time is it?” he asked groggily.
“Not yet dawn. They’re waking up the hunters who will be going with the Baron.”
Paulsen sighed and sat up. “I suppose I’d better get up too. You’ll be needing this sleeping matt.”
The banker stood up and stretched, trying uselessly to smooth out the wrinkles in his suit as Keltin rolled the sleeping matt and tied it to his pack.
“Do you think the duke would be gracious enough to offer us any breakfast?” asked Paulsen.
Keltin shrugged. “It doesn’t hurt to ask, but I wouldn’t expect it.”
Keltin was pleasantly surprised when he went around to the gardens in back and found several gyspies handing out bowls of a steaming porridge. The gypsy in the buttoned vest brought two bowls to Keltin and Paulsen.
“It’s not elegant, but it’s hot and filling,” he said with a smile. Keltin couldn’t help smiling back. The man had a shock of golden hair and twinkling blue eyes that seemed to contain some mirth only he knew of.
Keltin spent much of the next day waiting for the coming dawn. While many of the other hunters seemed to have a great deal of business in the city, Keltin was reluctant to return to the chaos beyond the Upper District. He left Duke Gregson’s estate only once to cross the street and post two letters he’d written to Mary and Mrs. Galloway, telling them where he was and what had happened to him thus far. As always, he omitted any details that might overly distress them.
He included the address of the Duke’s estate with each letter, as a servant had informed the assembled hunters that they could use the address and have their mail forwarded to Dhalma as often as was possible. Keltin was grateful for the service, and after posting the letters he spent the rest of the day maintaining his equipment and waiting, content to ignore the hunters gathered around him as they ignored him and made their own preparations.
The next morning dawned cool and bright and found Keltin already awake, watching the last star in the sky slowly fade. Most of the other hunters seemed to share his habit of light sleeping and were beginning to stir themselves among the small village of tents. The Loopi were not only up but were just finishing the packing of their equipment. Keltin watched them curiously. There were four of them altogether. The silver-haired one called Grel’zi’tael was obviously the group’s eldest member, and the other three Loopi respectfully assisted him in gathering up the dried rushes that he had slept upon.
Keltin had no knowledge of the Loopi people besides Mr. Renlowah. The thought occurred to him that he should send a letter to Renlowah and ask him about the title of Sky Talker, which was completely unfamiliar to him and had been used to describe Grel’zi’tael. With that thought in mind he quickly packed his gear and penned a hasty letter to the Loopi at Mrs. Galloway’s boarding home.
The front lawn was nearly deserted of hunters by the time Keltin had written and posted the letter in the box across the street. Following the path to the gardens in back of the estate, he was pleasantly surprised to find several of the Weycliff people handing out bowls of steaming porridge. One wayfarer in a vest festooned with a variety of buttons seemed to notice him standing somewhat uncertainly and brought a bowl of the warm meal to him.
“It’s not elegant, but it’s hot and should fill you up all right,” he said with a pleasant smile.
Keltin returned the smile as he studied the man, the first Weycliff he’d ever seen up close. He had a shock of golden hair and twinkling blue eyes that seemed to contain some mirth only he knew of. Keltin wondered what sort of people these wayfarers were, and tried to see any difference in them as he ate.