Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 80% Progress Report

Chronicling The Craft banner

Plus, Five Non-Metal Songs That Appear on the WIP’s Playlist

Chronicling The Craft is a series where I share my experience with working on my YA fantasy novel THE KEEPER’S CURSE, which is now in its third draft. These articles alternate between a) progress updates and fun “TKC-related” content, and b) revising / editing tips. Today’s post marks 80% completion of Draft #3 with another progress report and more songs on TKC’s novel playlist.

This is it, guys. The finish line for Draft #3 is in sight!!


Don’t worry. The WIP hasn’t gone up in flames. I just think this Incredibles GIF is adorable. 🙂

And it doesn’t seem like long since the last pair of Chronicles, right? Well, it’s not that the editing has picked up in speed. Rather, I couldn’t schedule the previous pair until 3 weeks after I’d passed the 60% mark. But thanks to my new blogging schedule, you’re getting this only 1 week after I passed 80%. 😉

(NOTE: Despite last week’s blogging schedule announcement, the second half of the 80% Chronicles pair will still post this Thursday, since it’s ready to go.)

As always with these progress reports, I’ll share Draft #3’s latest word count and what else made the past 20% of edits unique. Plus, I’m sharing five more tracks that currently appear on TKC’s novel playlist. So, shall we?

The 80% Progress Report

I reached the 80% mark of Draft #3 last Tuesday, September 27th; and as of last night, I’ve started editing Page 275, which falls in Chapter 30 (out of a total of 35 chapters). How do the statistics look right now?

Number of Words Cut So Far: 13,096 (current total word count is 97,858)

Number of Pages Cut So Far: 33 (current page count is 339)

At this point, I’m not expecting the word count to decrease much more. Most of the overwritten chapters are behind me now, so the final count should sit between 95K and 97K. But you know what I’ve really focused on during this stretch of edits? EMOTIONS. Anger, grief, suspicion, guilt – even rage. Yes, this point of TKC is dripping with ALL THE FEEEEEEELS, and while they make Acts II and III so exciting, I can’t help but internalize those feels as well. (*sniffle*)


The best news is I’m still on target for my “deadline” of Sunday, November 20th. In fact, I might beat it… We’ll see, though. It’s more important to do what needs to be done with the time and attention it requires than rush to finish it ASAP.

You know what boggles my mind, though? On my former weekends-only novel-writing schedule, Draft #1 of TKC took 25 months (2 years, 1 month), and Draft #2 fell shy of 11 months. Draft #3, though… might be finished in 7 months. 😮 I don’t know if this “speed” is due to my new writing schedule, the editing phase going faster than drafting or revising, or both. Either way, I’m… stunned, I guess. (In a good way, of course.)

The Keeper’s Curse Novel Playlist: Five “Non-Metal” Songs by Various Artists

So far, I’ve shared songs by Within Temptation and Leah as well as tracks representing the film scores I listened to while working on TKC. If it seems like the overall playlist is bombastic and intense, you’re not too far off. However, symphonic metal and orchestral music aren’t the only genres featured. And since not everyone is a fan of either style, I thought I’d offer a change of pace this time.

Today I’ll share five songs from miscellaneous music genres that currently appear on TKC’s playlist. As always, I’ll include a YouTube clip for your listening pleasure, and an explanation of why I chose each song.

“Main Theme” from Myst IV: Revelation by Jack Wall

I was a huge fan of the Myst computer game franchise when I was younger, loving everything from the stunning graphics to the enigmatic music soundtracks. Jack Wall composed the score for the third and fourth games, Exile and Revelation. And while Exile‘s theme is my favorite of the two, Revelation has a distinct, rhythmic sound that Wall has said was inspired by Eastern European music. The strings still soar, but the exotic chants and emphasis on percussion elevate the theme to a whole other level.

Why This Song? Revelation‘s theme reminds me of the Fei in the story’s world. They’re a winged, magic-inherent race with a religion, language, and culture that fits their love of the wilderness and colorful way of life. Their songs in particular sound more like tribal chants, with their style of music leaning more to the percussive side (sort of like African or Native American traditional songs). So, I placed this track in a spot that coincides with the first time readers enter the Fei’s capital city (and the protagonist’s hometown).

“The Wise One” by Daniel Gibson

If you read my 5 on the 5th post on soothing music albums earlier this year, you might recognize Daniel Gibson’s name. His CDs Native Spirit and Mystic Sky are among my favorites for meditation or playing in the background at work or when blogging. Both albums mix Native American flutes and vocals with acoustic guitars, nature sounds, and occasional percussion and pianos / keyboards.

Why This Song? “The Wise One” has two purposes on this playlist. First, it pays tribute to the Native American influences that crept into aspects of the story world’s Fei race. Second, it alludes to an important scene early in the WIP, when the protagonist Eva receives some much-needed advice from her beloved aunt. (You can read a snippet of that scene here.)

“Run” by Eklipse

This is a string-quartet rendition of a Snow Patrol song. While I’m vaguely familiar with the rock original, oh my goodness do I love Eklipse’s version. Something about it tugs at my heartstrings every time. Maybe it’s because the arrangements evoke so many emotions all at once: love, sadness, regret, hope, nostalgia… I can’t adequately describe “Run” beyond that, so I’ll let you listen for yourself.

Why This Song? “Run” has become my Eva-and-Aurek theme song for TKC. I’ve listened to it whenever I’ve worked on their most important scenes together. 🙂

“The Voice” by David Arkenstone featuring David Davidson

“The Voice” comes David Arkenstone’s Celtic music tribute album, which is aptly titled Celtic Garden. Basically, if you love tin whistles, fiddles, and music that reminds you of lush green hills and Irish step-dancing, you’ll adore this collection of covers of artists such as Sarah Brightman, Enya, Secret Garden, even the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit soundtracks. This particular instrumental track features violinist David Davidson and has an airy, playful tone that makes it a pleasure to listen to.

Why This Song? Most of Eva and her company’s mission is fraught with conflict. But not every day is tense of difficult. In fact, there are plenty of moments of levity, music, and good conversation. “The Voice” represents those lighter, happier moments of the journey.

“She Moved Through the Fair” by Josh Groban

Josh Groban recorded his version of this well-loved Irish folk song for his 2013 All That Echoes. It’s one of my favorite songs ever by him (and one I haven’t managed to see him play live yet *sniffle*). The tender strumming of acoustic guitars, the traditional Celtic instruments, the slow and careful tempo, and Josh’s rich, expertly controlled voice… I pretty much melt into a puddle whenever I listen to it. (*blushes*)

Why This Song? There’s a banquet and dance scene in TKC, and I imagine the song that’s performed at that time would sound something like this. ❤

What do you think of the songs? If you have a playlist for your WIP, does it include a wide range of artists and/or musical style? Or do you try to stick to one genre?

Looking for the tips portion of Chronicling The Craft? Check out its own post on Thursday, October 6th!

18 thoughts on “Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 – 80% Progress Report

  1. Best of luck Sara with the rest of this draft! You’ve been such an inspiration to me with these posts and your progress! I believe that you can make your deadline! Rooting for you!
    Josh Groban’s version of She Moved Through the Fair has gotten me all weepy! I’m a sucker for folk songs. They can be so lyrical and moving! Can’t believe I haven’t heard this one before!
    Run is one of my songs for Pirate Eyes (the Snow Patrol version) but this string quartet is brilliant! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Faith! It’s so exciting to be near the end, especially since some of my favorite moments in the story (including my favorite, FAVORITE scene) are coming soon. So I’m happy to finally revisit them again.

      “Josh Groban’s version of She Moved Through the Fair has gotten me all weepy!”

      Isn’t it so pretty?? 😀 It’s one of my favorite cover songs of his, and it makes me want to melt into a puddle every time.

      That’s two people now who have heard the Snow Patrol version. I… think I listened to it once, but maybe I’ll have to check it out again. And remember the Josh Groban and Sarah McLachlan concert I mentioned a couple months ago? They performed a live cover of it during the show, just before they did Sarah’s Angel. But I’m still partial to Eklipse’s version, probably because it’s more evocative and open to interpretation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love revisiting favourite scenes during revisions! They make me so happy 🙂
        That must have been a beautiful duet! *sigh*
        Run is one of my favourite songs. My sister and I actually duet on it (I play guitar and she plays piano).

        Liked by 2 people

  2. You’re doing really well with this edit – I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t hit your target. Thank you for sharing the music you use in your playlists. I love Snow Patrol and ‘Run’ is one of my favourite songs, but this version is dreamily beautiful with a real undertow of poignancy. I can see why it would be so effective. Wishing you all the very best in your concluding chapters:))

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Sarah. 😀 I’m pretty confident about my deadline, too. Plus, not having to balance editing with holiday preparations will be a welcome relief.

      I actually heard Snow Patrol’s version… well, it wasn’t actually SP, but Josh Groban and Sarah McLachlan performed the song as a duet at the concert I attended in July. It was lovely, especially with the string arrangements, but I’m still partial to Eklipse’s cover. There’s something about an instrumental track that makes it more evocative and open to interpretation. Eklipse in particular has a talent for putting a new emotional spin on their renditions. If you’d like some recommendations, I’d be happy to offer some. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I internally winced when I saw your count for words cut. I think getting rid of material is the hardest part of revision. You work so hard to get it out on the paper. Cutting it feels like a waste, even if it makes the writing stronger in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see where you’re coming from on the “waste” bit… But I’ve learned during the three drafts for TKC that my biggest weakness is overwriting. I often use too many words to say what needs to be said, and tend to be redundant or too detailed at times. (Draft #1 also had a few unnecessary scenes that didn’t help the overall plot.) So a lot of the Draft #3 editing has focused on making the writing more efficient and precise without losing its vividness; and that’s what makes me happy about how it’s shaping up now. It’s less about cutting big chunks (scenes, characters, other unnecessary elements) now, and more about refinement. 😉


      • I think I have the opposite problem. I tend to be very concise and then have to go back and look at places I need to elaborate. Even so, there are always passages that aren’t really contributing much and they eventually have to go. It’s quite painful!

        However, I think recognizing your strengths and weaknesses is half the battle. If you know you tend to overwrite that can make revision smoother as you don’t need to spend as long convincing yourself of the necessity of edits. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Chronicling The Craft: A Conversation About Beta-Reading, From Nailing Your Critiques to Finding Good Candidates | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

  5. Lovely playlist, Sara! And congrats on nearing the end of TKC Draft #3!!!
    I recently discovered Eklipse and have been enjoying their music. I might add a few songs to my WIP’s playlist from them. David Arkenstone is another favorite.
    I’ve never played Myst, but the music sounds enchanting, bringing you into a whole other world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhhhh thanks E.! 😀

      Aren’t Eklipse’s covers lovely? It’s amazing what musicians can do with a vocal / lyric song and give it a whole new feel by turning it into an instrumental. Some of my other favorites by them are “Clocks,” “In the End,” and “Cry Me a River.” Which ones are your favorites, or on your novel playlist?

      The Myst series has an interesting musical history. Their first two games (Myst and Riven) were done with only synthesizers and keyboards, and have this beautiful yet haunting vibe to them. Then the gamemakers hired Jack Wall to do orchestral scores for Exile (my favorite Myst score) and Revelation, but some of those songs have nuances of their predecessors’ ambiance. Check out the Exile theme song on YouTube when you can. It’s gorgeous. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Chronicling The Craft: Draft #3 Is DONE!! | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.