Thursday, April 12, 2012

Where are you going...? Know it, I do!

Where are you going to!?

Yeah, okay. For those of you who aren't old school mega-geeks like me, that was a King's Quest 6 reference. It was pretty bitchin' back in the day, and it was the first game I ever played on CD-ROM; that is, the first game that ever actually TALKED to me! I played it so many times I can still hear certain lines in my head. "Don't just wander, Alexander; let your conscious be your guide."

Right, moving on...

A friend of mine sent me a link to Patrick Rothfuss' blog (If you don't know who Patrick Rothfuss is, stop reading this right now. Go find one of his books. Read it. Read the second one. Come back.) in which the author instructs a first-time fantasy writer in the fine art of not showing your hand too early. Don't pile on the info so fast that your reader gets bored and wanders off, in other words.

It's great advice, and in a fantasy story it's especially important. So how does this advice apply to The Dark Man's Son?

Well, ya see. People ask me (quite often) what my book is about. I, being me, kind of assume they're just being polite and give them a sort of over-simplified version. "Oh, it's a modern urban fantasy with mythological elements. Like, angels and demons and whatnot. Good vs. evil. Ya know." It is all those things, don't get me wrong, but I'm leaving out pretty much...yeah, 99% of "what it's about".

How, then, do I explain that, yes, it's about those things I just said, but also I created this class of being that's unique (not 100% unique,, Joseph Campbell) to my story. Am I supposed to launch into an entire background spiel? Maybe some people would find that interesting, but other people might be like, "Yeah, um. I was just bein' polite. Thanks, though."

Besides that bit of social awkwardness, Pat's blog sent me into a tailspin of rewrites. In the original (as in, 10 years ago) versions of this story, which are all VASTLY different than the final one, I had long paragraphs basically describing the Guardians' origins, function, history...everything. I had taken most of that out in this story, but I did have a prologue that established some of the story's mythology straight off the bat.

In response to the "don't share too much too soon" advice, I chopped my prologue up into little bits. There's no longer a prologue. Instead, peppered throughout the story, are pieces of the prologue. Like croutons in a salad. Wait: I just said "peppered". Right. So the prologue is now peppered like salad croutons, because I did not mix my metaphors, dammit.

Do I like it better? Yes and no. Yes because I prefer a non-linear style of storytelling anyway, and doing this allowed me to mix the prologue up (like salad dressing) so that the first bits are now middle bits, and the last bits are first bits, and the middle bits are all over. But for the no: I'm not sure I like how I've peppered the croutons throughout my story salad, and maybe it doesn't work at all.

Sigh. Okay, kids. Next entry won't be so much second-guessing. I'm going to try to point you guys towards some of the reference sources I used, because for a modern urban fantasy with mythological elements, I did a helluva lot of historical research.

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