Vir's Archive

Monday, January 6, 2014

Reflections on Pt 1 and 2


I plan to write these reflection pieces after important posts for Precipice as an opportunity to talk about what I did and why I did it.  I will endeavor to be careful about spoilers for the handful of you that are reading this, as part of the reason I am posting this is to see what people's assumptions and takeways from the fiction will be.  If I tip my hand too early, then that may color the reader's assumption and understanding of the prose and the character's position in the larger world around them.  I really want the fiction entries to build on one another to not only tell a story, but to build a vibrant and living world.

So...

Pt 1 was a breeze to write.  Its fast, punchy, and I think does a pretty good job of catching the readers' interest.  Two of the best prologues I have read are the entry for the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (Lews Therin walks among the remnants of a holocaust he created) and the entry for the Expanse series by James Corey (dilettante hides in a locker for seven days to escape pirates, discovers mind bending stuff when she finally emerges).  Both examples are fast and exciting, and a bit divorced from the rest of the series... giving an "outsiders" snapshot of an important historical event as it happened.  Tanjean's situation was written with those elements in mind.

Pt 2 was an attempt to really push myself, and I am not sure it is successful.  It was not originally supposed to be an "intro" chapter, but as I rolled the concept over in my head, I kept thinking it would be a great opportunity to show the reader what Jarious and the wolflings are all about.  Problems developed quickly as I started writing.  First and foremost, its damn hard to make a protagonist anything but a D-bag if your first encounter with him is during a torture session that he is conducting.  Torture =/= sympathetic.  I had to rewrite large portions of the interrogation (and start to use the word "interrogation") in order to make Jarious' position more identifiable and sympathetic.

I wonder if a "slow" piece like pt 2 is the best way to intro the characters.  I do like that the speed of the entry allowed me to casually bring up the names and positions of the other members of the wolflings... a preview to more detailed chapters and discussions of the other members coming up.  That said, "slow" pieces like this aren't my strength, so I am concerned it comes off as a bit too much -- too many in-setting words, too many new names, too new of a situation.

I love this world.  I've been working on it and fleshing it out for the better part of five years now.  I've run in a Burning Wheel game set in one of the tangential portions of the setting.  I've written a comic book.  I've got reams of background.  I commissioned art.  The Ecumene World is very much a passion of mine, and I also worry that sometimes I get too far into the weeds.  When I insert in-setting terms like "Car'Had Hadad" and "Kandorad Kingdom" I want the reader to be intrigued.  Its a fine balance between piqued interest and bewildering mumbo-jumbo, though.  Hopefully, I hit the right balance.

Here's a biggie; Too long?  Pt 2 goes on for much longer than a normal blog post, but is the complete chapter.  Is it too long?  Should I have broke it up into a couple entries?

Pt 3 will give us more on the members of the wolflings and continue to define the world around them.