I don’t see why I say I’ll do one project. I’m not very good at sticking to one at a time; my mind blooms with so many more than the simplest… We are at the end of July, though, so my promise to my sequel no longer has as much hold over me. Besides, the first book ought to take precedence over the sequel, hehe.
I’ve decided to rewrite chapter 1 of my main novel again. In terms of When the Clock Broke, it is my arch-nemesis, the antagonist of this personal story, if you will.
Thoughts haunt me regularly, even through the better times of the novel-and-story. Am I starting in the right place? In media rerum indeed? Further back, and I’d have the same clog as chapter one, as well as an additional, arbitrary character and a new scene from which to build. And, at 80K, I’m in a comfortable place with wordcount.
Further forward, and readers might not ‘get’ the character motivations and set up in chapter 1.
But is it worth the risk of changing? I still believe that Aidelle being introduced to the house marks the more important part of her life – literally and symbolically – than the reader being introduced to both sides of the couple in the house already.
On the other hand, I have already moved the clock (hints at the inciting incident) and the master bedroom (symbolism and possible foreshadowing) into chapter 2 to help trim the fat off the 1 as it was (over 5.5K before my last edit!). Conversely, I don’t want to bulk up that chapter. My word!
So, you see how the argument is panning out in my head.
The second question is of my ability to work without the first chapter. It’s not something I want to do, but it’s something I maybe could. I could probably create the tension from Phillip’s family by including that into his conversion/discussion with Rion, as I have done for some other pieces – but can do the same for Aidelle’s troubles?
Her internal conflict is greater and I don’t think I could show it adequately through Phillip’s eyes. Besides, half a chapter is not enough for Aidelle at the beginning.
Losing chapter 1 puts me down to 75K as well, something which I am not so comfortable about.
I know I probably don’t need so much world-building, but I need to make the events of 3 as believable as possible. Why do Aidelle and Phillip fight? These pressures acting on them – pressa omnes partes, Propertius might say* – are shown in part through chapters 1 and 2.
Of course, I want the best for the book and readers.
Thirdly, I’ve had a couple of Beta readers say that they find it hard to connect with my protagonist of the first chapter, Aidelle. Okay, yes, this is a weakness of mine. I can do characterisation – but getting inside the skin of a character is more complicated than one’d think.
Help! How can improve on this?
And then there’s the elaborate prose that I have to deal with. Eep.
Anyways, I’ll put that on the ‘summer goals’ list. 😉
*Taken from memory of Propertius’ Elegies Book III. I’ve forgotten in which exact poem he uses the expression roughly translated as ‘[love] presses [on me] from all sides’ – where ‘omnes partes’ (all parts) is used more frequently than the English term from all sides. Used in this post, it provides an apt sidebar that, unlike Propertius’ experiences, it is not love that is pressing against the lovers, but the consequences of their undying faith to each other.