Notes Of A Storyteller: The First Chapter

I may not have access to the Internet for very long so this will be a quick update.

Last week I mentioned that I had three different openings for The Stand (Part Two of The Kingdom Trilogy). Well, I wound up rejecting them all and rolling with a fourth one that my editor suggested. More appropriately, she made a suggestion and I embellished it. Thus began the rough draft of my second novel. 

I was on a roll for a few hours, and at last I halted and took a careful look at what I had. 

“Sheesh,” I said to myself. “If that’s not melodramatic, I don’t know what is.”

I won’t give too much away when I explain that. Suffice it to say that Arman returns to a place from his past, and sheds some tears. I threw in a thunderstorm to make it as dramatic and eye-catching as possible. Now, there is nothing wrong with spicing up a passage a little bit to catch your reader’s eye, especially when that assage is the beginning the passgae- the passage that will decide whether or not my reader wants to engage with the story.

But that’s a dangerous thing to say. I don’t want this opening to be too dramatic. If I rely on pouring rain and lightning bolts, and passionately uttered statements of grief, it will be too much. Ladling all of those “special effects” in may lead my reader to think I’m trying to distract from characters who really arne’t all that interesting. It’s also patronizing to hit them over the head with said “special effects”.

I can hear the reader already. “I know Arman’s sad! You don’t need him weeping in a wild thunderstorm for me to get it! I’m not stupid!”

Perhaps not. I may keep it, but I want to make sure that Arman isn’t too over-the-top. I want there to be intense feeling on his side, but I want it to be understated. I want him to try holding it back, especially when other people are around. That’s the way real people talk. I do have more room than melodrama than most; with a fantasy epic like this, you’re allowed to say things that would sound stupid in a crime novel or literary fiction. However, that won’t excuse abusing this privilege.

It’s going to be a while before I get this chapter the way I want it, but my gut tells me I’m on the right track, and I have to start somewhere. So I’m starting there, with our hero in a moment of grief. Here goes nothing.

P.S. I may be away from the Internet for a week, so don’t feel unloved if you comment and I do not respond.

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