So I started writing, with
a better idea this time of where I was going.
You'll notice that place names started to appear which would end up in the
final version. This draft talked more of the mysterious Brotherhood (much
less fun than the Sisterhood, I assure you) and their quest to retrieve the
key for their master. Once again, Ranma has been wandering this world after
being trapped here, and I took time to explore his dark, inner thoughts as he
Also appearing in this draft
was one of the recurring elements, that of a
dragon. Baahnid made the scene here and in draft three in different
incarnations but with a similar purpose as far as the story went; to give
Ranma his quest.
The clash in the town of
Kobasa showed what would have been an important
element; Baahnid's interest in humans and Ranma in particular. The story
never reached the point of talking about Baahnid's past, but it doesn't take a
rocket scientist to figure that he caused trouble by using the Spring of
Drowned Man to become a human for the love of a woman, nor to guess what woman
that might have been (recurring patterns, indeed). Baahnid was to encounter
another Kasumi down the road, but I should point out that Baahnid is not
Dragon; they share little in the way of character.
At any rate, Baahnid played
his game and decided that this Ranma was worthy,
and sent him on the long rocky road to the eventual end of this story. I
won't go into too much detail about the City of the Dead and what Ranma was to
do there, because there are a few elements of that which will hold true for
the current story as well.
And so he ended up in Trossik.
Much of this part of this draft is quite
similar to draft 3, but with notable exceptions. In this version, Ranma is
thrown together with Pirotess instead of Sonya, and the ship is docked openly
in the city instead of lurking in the fog. But the idea is much the same;
Outlander is thrown together with renegade misfit crew by circumstance slash
fate and everyone ends up on the run.
A word here about characters,
for those of you who may not be familiar.
Pirotess is the dark elf from Lodoss War, a character I quite liked. In fact, I
thought she and Ashram made a far better couple than Parn and Deedlit. If
you haven't seen the series, well, she's an elf, quite beautiful and haughty, and
in the show she was only really a secondary character. I'm not really sure why
I decided to make her the captain, but although the idea stuck, having her become
a love interest (or really, more of a sexual catalyst) for Ranma began to seem
far-fetched to me. She is older, world-wise and experienced, and the more I
thought about it the more it seemed to be forcing things to try and put the two
together. I could have made it work, but I was afraid it might seem a little artificial.
Much of the battle is also
similar, as well as the aftermath, although draft
3 is more detailed and better overall, I think. Clearly, the intent was to
have the ship try to reach the borderlands with the duke's forces in pursuit,
while bonding happened and mysteries were examined. This was only the first
chapter, and there were other matters to be explored: the hazards of the
journey, the reasons for the duke's interests in the wastes, and of course
Ranma's reactions to the differing mores he would be faced with (something
else that made it through to the final version).
So why did I stop it, right
in mid-scene? Again, I'm not sure. There was a
gathering weight of details that I felt just didn't measure up to what I
wanted to accomplish somehow; it's hard to explain, but even having come that
far, I felt like the beginning was too flat, or just not good enough, not the
way I wanted to draw the reader in. I felt the overall idea was good, and
kept most of what happens after Ranma reaches Trossik, only modified with more
detail and a little bit darker tone, I think. But there comes a time in a
story, or even the draft of a chapter, when I find myself wondering if the
foundation I've built will hold what I'm constructing. Sometimes I can tinker
with that foundation, but other times it needs to be torn down and built up
again from scratch. That idea nags at me the further I get into a story,
because after a certain point the prospect of going back is daunting, but the
prospect of going forward seems pointless. And then things fall apart. Here,
I felt I was onto something, and decided to go back and re-do the beginning.
I'm not sure why I kept this version instead of taking it apart and editing
it, but I did. There are other saved versions of this story with fragments of
paragraphs scattered through it where I tried to edit scenes, so maybe it was
just that I decided to go and re-write from scratch with a better roadmap to
And so I did, and here ends
the tale of draft 2.