Chapter 1: Finished!

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Twelve
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And it feels like a huge milestone has been passed.

Chapter One has had several incarnations. It started as a prologue, a non-personal introduction to the problem and the world. “There’s monsters that were locked up but now they’re not, who’s going to go down there and kick their asses? Anyone? Ah! You, young man, with your wonderful good looks!” He comes back, his shoes are worn through and bam! we enter the real chapter one with the current protagonist who the story is really about but we needed to lay a foundation for. It was alright, but it wasn’t fantastic. That was written back in August of 2012 during Camp Nano. In November of the same year I brought the novel back out and continued working on other parts of the novel that didn’t get finished the first time but still didn’t get all the scenes I needed by the end of the month. The thing was a sprawling mess. That’s what rewrites are for, right?

The rewrite started in December, spawning a decision to jump straight into Chapter One and put in relevant details from the Prologue in appropriate places. Forget about boring introductions to the world! Who needs a Prologue anyways? I heard that a lot of people get rid of Prologues so lets see if it’s possible. It was indeed possible. I rewrote Chapter One without the Prologue to set the scene and it worked, at least I was pretty sure it worked. There was a problem with introducing one of the main characters who was present during all the discussion that took place in the Prologue but now didn’t appear until Chapter Two. I was using a flashback to fill in that information but with a scene I wanted to add in I had a problem with introductions.

The character is deaf. I wanted to introduce this fact in a way that makes sense and is seamlessly integrated. You know, give it enough attention that it’s noted but let’s not stop the world for it.  Reviewing Points of View and all that I realized there was a problem in getting that point across in a fantasy landscape without making it either not obvious enough or too blatant that it cut into the story taking place.

Stroke of brilliance! Give him POV for the first chapter which is actually the Prologue but now told in a limited 3rd person instead of an omniscient 3rd. I started rewriting and it all worked out somehow. By making Pip the POV character in the first chapter his being deaf is integral to how he views the going-ons of a town meeting. His back story, which was before told in a flashback, was now in the present, its clear he’s deaf, and I’ve found a way to integrate the background information into something that resembles a story that is shown, not told. Started that rewrite in the middle of February and then finished it by the beginning of March. The Prologue had now become Chapter One.

I continued to Chapter Two, played with part of Chapter Three and realized: I don’t like the setting. Writing a story in which you are making up the entire land, society, and culture is a gigantic undertaking. Kudos to those writers who do that all the time building those huge mythical landscapes and  everything from the bottom up. As I attempted to do the same thing I realized: that’s not me. Yes, the story I have could be told in the classic way of some fantasy land but that’s not the only way it can be told. The more I thought about it, the more I enjoyed the prospect of changing the whole thing into modern day and turning it into an Urban Fantasy kind of thing. Some character motivations changed with the setting while others that had been blurry came into sharp focus. The fantasy elements were normalized by adding urban legend to a small town where everyone knows everyone and has for generations.

Of course, this meant another rewrite of Chapter One. Started on March 5th I am pleased to say I’ve finished it! There is so much left to go but after working on it for several incarnations it’s good to know that from now on any changes made will be much smaller. I can continue onwards with a firm foundation. It’s changed a lot from the prologue, both story and word count (it’s gone up 3,000 words now that the whole story of the town hall meeting is all in one place). The icing on top this cake is that I planned to join Camp Nano this April as a way to help propel myself through the rewrite. As I’m busy the next few days I won’t get around to writing again until Monday, which is the beginning of CampNano. My word count can start with the beginning of Chapter Two instead of my messy editing rewrite of Chapter One (I wrote a few paragraphs only to delete them later, and edited a few paragraphs here and there. This would have been no good for Nano totals and horrible to track).

I’m a little bit behind in my desired word count for the month (I set goals for each month to keep me on track to hopefully have this thing finished before November) but it’s only  by 1,000 words, which I can definitely catch up on during CampNano.


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