I’ve now started work on rewriting the second chapter of my novel. The first chapter went better than I expected, so I feel like I have momentum behind me. My concern was having a strong opening to the story, something that would draw the reader in, get them interested, make them want to know more. It took some work, but I think I nailed it. Or at least a close approximation.
So now I’m working on the second chapter. I’ve given up on approaching each chapter as a short story. That was how I wrote the first draft. Now I’m looking at it from a different angle and making each chapter show the reader a piece of the puzzle – WHO is the protagonist, WHAT does he want, WHY does he do the things he does. Every chapter needs to include some of the who, what, and why. That was one of the important things I learned in the creative writing workshops I attended in college – focus on motivation. What drives the characters, what do they want?
The second chapter will explore that in a bit more detail. My protagonist, Rask, is dealing with some de-motivational events in his life, he’s spiraling down, attempting to drown his sorrows and despair. While the first chapter introduces him and gives a glimpse into his past, the second chapter is going to bring the reader into his present, show where he is mentally and emotionally, introduce friends and acquaintances, and show some of his internal conflict. The main thing I want to make sure I get across is that he’s not a bad person, but due to his circumstances he makes some bad decisions. He’s trying to navigate his life without a roadmap. He’s lost and confused and scared. And because of that, he’s acting like an ass.
The secondary thing I want to focus on is the setting. The story takes place in the future after a cataclysmic event destroys the world as we currently know it. A large portion of the population has been killed or died off, there’s very little infrastructure, electricity is a rare commodity so people have to rely mostly on coal and steam to power their lives. I guess it could be described as a post-apocalyptic, dystopian, steam-punkish mash-up. That’ll be fun to explain on the book jacket.
And yes, I’m taking my time on this. No deadlines. No rushing. I want to craft this story, make sure each line and paragraph is needed. There’s a part of me that feels the need to push myself to get this done, but common sense is telling me to relax. I’m siding with common sense this time. Besides, when I feel the need to work off some of that “hurry up”, I’ll simply take a break from the novel and write a short story. There’s always something else I can write.
Now…back to it!