Extras 0.1

As promised, I’m going to be posting a lot of the early drafts of Extras. Here’s installment #1 in that project: the very first thing I can find on my hard drive.

As you will see, it’s not really a “draft,” just a blob of text that has almost nothing to do the final story. Except that it’s about face ranks and fame, and that Hiro’s in it. I’m pretty sure I wrote it in Thailand.

Now you may remember this post back in January, where I explain that Extras was originally written from Hiro’s point of view. In this ancient draft Aya doesn’t even exist yet; Hiro has no little sister, just an old friend named Terra who’s good at schemes and inventions. (Sort of like Ren in the final version.)

This opening may not make much sense on its own, but it does show how much things can change from first draft to last. Hopefully it will remind you all that there is no good writing, only good rewriting.

Here we go . . . chapter one of “From First Draft to Final: The Extras Story!”


Down and Out

Hiro awoke to a bright sky, the heavy clouds like burnished gray metal. He rubbed his eyes, yawned, and gave the room his usual command.

“Darker, and show my count.”

The window opaqued, and numbers appeared on the wall. Hiro sighed softly as he stared at the digits. Overnight, he’d slipped out of the top ten thousand.

That’s what came of sleeping late.

“Anything on the feeds?” he asked.

The screen flickered for a moment, then coughed up mentions. Season recaps, old arguments about the playoffs bubbling up, a few littlies chattering about his new haircut. No snaps, no video—another day of the border of invisibility.

He took a slow breath, reminding himself that it was always like this during the off-season. While his team was playing—and winning—Hiro’s face count never left the top five thousand. But once the playoffs ended, his personal flock of hovercams flew off to stalk politicians, soccer players, and surge designers. Hoverball stars were forgotten by the time the cherry blossoms fell, and the annual One Percent Party always remained out of reach.

This year, though, Hiro Torrent had a plan to change all that.

“Ping Terra,” he told the room.

A chime sounded a few seconds later, the scattering of bells and bird whistles that was his best friend’s signature. Hiro pressed his palms together. “Good morning, Terra-chan.”

“Morning? Did you just wake up?”

“Um, sort of. Didn’t sleep well last night.”

“Nervous about our little trick today?” Her voice sounded amused.

He frowned, wondering if she could see his rumpled pajamas, the pillow lines on his face. His ring was set to privacy, but Terra had ways of tricking the city interface.

Of course, she might just be reading his mind. She’d known him since they were littlies, and she was generally too clever for her own good. Or Hiro’s.

“Are you sure this will work?”

Terra giggled. “It will unless you mess it up, Hiro-chan.”

He sat up and stretched, seeing the trick in his mind, imagining his muscles making all the right moves. “Don’t worry about me.”

“I’m not worried, chan. As long as a Certain Person isn’t already awake by now and sucking up all the hovercams.”

Hiro snorted. “Is that supposed to motivate me?”

“As if you need me for motivation. Have you checked your fame today?”

One of Terra-chan’s annoying habit was using the old word for face counts—fame. But the two were different, really. The way the teachers told it, Rusty fame had been shallow, subjective, and bogus more often than not. But a face count was real, like your height or a hoverball score; it was a statistic, not someone’s guess.

Of course, Certain People were totally bogus, no matter how high their face counts climbed. That’s why he and Terra never said their names out loud: the city interface gave someone face every time you mentioned them.

The teachers said it was bubbleheaded to worry about anyone else’s face count. But they didn’t have to play hoverball alongside Yoshi Cloud.

“I just woke up,” Hiro mumbled.

Terra giggled again, like a littlie full of sugar. “Are you lying to me, Hiro-chan? You know you checked your count already.”

“I didn’t say I hadn’t checked it,” he said, rolling out of bed.

“But you implied it.”

“And now I’m implying otherwise. I’ll see you later—when it’s done.” He cut the connection before Terra could answer, then snapped at the window to brighten. The wallscreen glinted, reflecting the bright gray sky.

His count flickered there, right on the edge between two numbers. Finally it settled on the higher one, determining that Hiro Torrent was currently the 10,910th most talked-about person in the city.

Still falling, and the day had hardly started.

Present-day Scott here again: Whoa! This is the first time I’ve looked at that in about a year. Many obvious things are different: face counts instead of face ranks, Hiro’s last name is Torrent instead of Fuse, and he’s still a hoverball player instead of a kicker. It’s almost scary to think how much work had yet to be done, both in writing and conceptualizing the book. It makes me want to take a nap.

Anyway, I’ll be posting more of these, showing the way the book took shape over the next few months. Hope you enjoy them.

And I also hope to see lots of you at Books of Wonder on this rainy Saturday. Don’t forget: 3PM!

104 thoughts on “Extras 0.1

  1. Wow.
    I just finished raeding Extras yesterday, and I have to say, I’m not sure I could see the book turning out anything the same if it had been Hiro as the main character.
    Ahh it’s so freaky to think about!
    And I’m pretty sure that the version featuring Aya was better :]

  2. Wow! That’s a lot of changing. Like the whole main character was changed, and so many little details.
    Ugh… but the final product was amazing. =]

  3. This comment is unrelated to this blog post but i write it nonetheless.

    My favorite contest entries in the fanlib contest so far, no particular order:

    *http://www.fanlib.com/s/A_New_Era/3079m7 – A New Era
    http://www.fanlib.com/s/_/2soo46 – We’ll make it up as we go along
    *http://www.fanlib.com/s/Big_Brother/2sl3sq – Big Brother
    *http://www.fanlib.com/s/Really__Really_Dizzy_Making/301rqf – Really Realyl Dizzy Making.

  4. My comment is awaiting moderation???????? why oh why oh no why is it doing this??? The world is going to end and i really hope this comment doesn’t publish.

  5. you know what, just click on my name and you will go to my blog. then click where it says (on the side) my YouTube account. then you shoud see my account (with Aya in the backround) and it is the video called Westerfeld Towers

  6. Aww Scott-la! You totally should have kept Terra! My name can also be spelled “terra” (and subs often do)! That would have been SO kick!

  7. the story has developed so much…so different, yet so the same! it was so cool, though…if you had built off of that draft, you wouldv’e had a completely different story!
    is there any way humanly possible you can come to south florida? like, near miami or west palm?

  8. by the way, my best friends name is eden marcu. MARCU. same first name, and a lousy one word difference in the last name!! how wierd is THAT?

  9. you mean one letter rite zoe-la?

    Amy-la. love the tower. your so funny. hehe. ive gotta go try that now.

    Allie-wa. way to sho support!

    -Lizzy-wa OUT! 😆

  10. wow
    it has made a GREAT amount of changes since this stage :]
    it would actually be cool if you did something like writing the same book, but in someone elses point of view
    like uglies, but in shays point of view
    because for some reason ive seen alot of hating on shay and i just dont find that fair
    people just dont understand her
    actually another author, stephenie meyer, is doing that
    shes re-writing her first book twilight, in the character edwards point of view
    so i just thought it would be REALLY awesome if you did something like that
    love, mari-wa

  11. I JUST finished Extras and refused to read that passage until I was finally done. Big difference, dude. I think I might like Hiro a little more…? But I’m more partial to the male perspective for some reason.

    Either way, Extras was great. Interesting ending with Tally and David, there. Quite liked the ‘Extras’ pun. Hmmmmm. I am very tired and need to mull it over longer. I was up until like… 4:00 AM reading it and then had to get up at 8 AM for class. Hum dee dum.

  12. I am in love with the uglies series, but have’nt read the extras yet. So don’t give it away to the rest of us who have’nt read tyhe extras. p.s. i love you scott!!!!

  13. that’s crazy. and awesome. crazy awesome, even.
    my school’s library pre-ordered extras and it didn’t come in until about the 15th. i was finished by the following monday [i would have been finished earlier if not for school getting in the way]. it was wonderful. and i loved the twist on the title. and the ending with tally and david. i’m hoping to buy the trilogy boxed set and extras because i love them so much. :]

    also, i’m in a printing class and i just recently printed a special circumstances zip hoodie for myself. and i plan to be a special for halloween.
    i’ll send you pictures of the hoodie, and possibly my “flash tattoos” as soon as i can.

  14. Wow, long day, lots of homework, finished most of it in class, but still. Getting close to the ending of Midnighters 2, love the second one better, more happens. So, ya, i guess. You guys most be 1 hour or so ahead of me on the time zone. I get on Scott-las blog and think, “Man, these people must be ahead, i just got out!”. O well, its fun sometimes, having friends who only judge you my personality. Not that im ugly (i find myself very pretty!) but sometimes you need those ppl who love you for….. you! I have friend at my school, dont get me wrong, i love them all dearly, but sometimes, they can get annoying (not you Alexa). Lol. Shes my bestest friend! I love all my Scott-la fan friends!

  15. I agree with likeing the 2nd midnighter’s book better.

    I liked the first one— but it was mostly about just telling the basics of the blue time setting it up for more books, and the Second one had more plot in it.

    I LOVE THEM ALL !!!!
    They are so crazy-making.

  16. I saw the weirdest thing today (okay – not the weirdest, but pretty close) There was a guy. Reading. On top of that, he was reading Specials. I have never, ever seen a guy read Specials before. And happy bday, Lizzy-wa. When is it?

  17. I tried to get my cousin to read scott westerfeld books he said they were chick books and he would never read anything I liked. How brain-missing is that!

  18. scott, i just have one question: why does that make you want to take a nap? it’s such a completely random thing to say, and it’s got me confused!!!!! oh, and by the way, PLEASE WRITE A FOURTH MIDNIGHTERS BOOK!!!!! PLEEEEEAAAASE!!!!! yes, you can count that as begging. i know. i’m pathetic. it’s what i do.

  19. Okay, it got WAY better from Aya’s POV. And I didn’t even like her, because I was too busy missing Tally-sama.

  20. Ok, i can say that i could see why guys wouldn’t read the uglies and its follow up, but Midnighters is a multi gender book. O and im on chapter 33, MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD OF THESE CAPS, i don’t want him to become a hafling! AHHH, it would make me sad. And i don’t want Melissa to die of her concussion, and they should just get together already they no they want to! O and Dess, she needs a dude, o and talk about invasion of privacy! i mean what did Melissa think sh was doing! And Johnathon, o, Johnathon, he is so sweet and kind (i didnt say i would leave you Zane) He and Jessica are perfect together. They re so cute! O and talk about awesmoe talent! Go Jessica! This does not mean i choose one series over another, i like them both!

    halfling rex is actually cooler. and dude, melissa doesn’t die. and they quasi-get togeter. i feel dess’s strength is in being the non-crazy one without a boyfriend/girlfriend. jonathan rocks. i have to say i don’t like jessica that much though.
    pity the only midnighters spoiler thread is the blue noon one, which all should AVOID LIKE THE PLAUGE so as to not get that ending spoiled.

  22. Yeah, i just finished touching Darkness! I was so good. SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
    I am so glad they finally kissed, Melissa and Rex, and i can not believe he acculy became the halfling and then not. I thought it was so sweet how Jessica finally showed Johnathon to Beth! I was like awww! it was really good, im gonna get the 3 tommorow. Eww i hate that old lady, urg, she makes me mad! i am so glad, Jessica and Johnathon are together, Rexa and Mellisa, she showed Johnathon beth o other way lol! but still loved it scott-la loved it!

  23. hi 🙂

    i will now get touching darkness 🙂
    i am sooooo happy i might cry 😥
    i am proud i didn’t read the spoilers
    the draft is soooo weird ❗

  24. Oh Steph-la everyone went to the more recent post so must answer your question: I like Blue Noon best. The end made me cry (when i was at school – thanks alot Scott! hehe just kidding)

  25. whoa. it’s crazy to see how much the book devolped over the process of writing. im trying to imagine how different extras would have been if you kept wirtting it inthis point of view!

  26. I just started blogging this site. Who totally loved Specials? Anyone else but me?
    ( Actually i love Uglies and pretties too, but i recently finished specials.) 🙂

  27. I’m gonna get Extas soon! ( I hope ) I’m aslo partially crazy because of Halloween. Hello?

  28. Sorry for falling off the face of the world for a bit – I’ve been quite busy.
    I read all the posts I missed out on, but I wanted to comment on this one..
    It’s quite great, seeing what you had come up with in the past, too. It reminds me of another series, the Twilight series, and how another book for that series is coming out, but in Edward’s point of view, rather the main girl throughout the beginning of the series. Very cool.
    Perspectives are cool.
    And, when trying to find out how on earth I could make shoes with adjustable friction, I found out from my Chem teacher that Dry Ice is the most frictionless substance around.
    But how do you attached dry ice to shoes, let alone get your hands on some dry ice?


    I will create those shoes someday. You can count on that.

  29. Whoo, that was freaky, reading Hiro’s POV. I like the book version though, thank you for sticking to that! hahaha. Just bought Extras last week, had trouble putting it down (I read it in the dark by using my phone to light up the pages, bec. I slept in my parents’ room. I keep having nightmares whenever I sleep in my room. Anyway..), and was able to during the scene with Tally-wa. I would love to see fanart or pics of real people that I can associate with the characters in Extras! (like Frizz for example!)

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