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Snippet Sunday

I've been writing when mind and stomach allow this past week. Some days that means I got the 750 goal for novel_in_90; some days I got zilch.

But what I did get is a new start to Baxente's chapter. Since I decided to rewrite a lot of my character openings in order to create a status quo before topsy-turvying their worlds,* I have been hard-pressed to determine the best scene for Baxente, one that still has the necessary parts of good (genre) fiction like a scene/character goal, conflict, and so forth.

Perhaps I have one this time!

Baxente doubted the intelligence of his plan as soon as the panel slid closed behind him. A near cripple had no business setting off alone in the middle of the night, especially not through prowl ways, the full secrets of which only he knew. Long before he neared the exit that would let him from the palace, his legs were ready to give out, abandoning him in the tight corridors. Stupid to leave the comfort of his sleeping couch. And fresh air, added his lungs, craving the deliciously cool breeze that had been ruffling the curtains of his balcony doors when he rose to go on such a misguided adventure.**


* I personally find Big Events a lot more meaningful if I care, or at least am curious about, the characters they happen to first, so, duh, this should be a component of my own stories. The "Open with a BANG" advice has never sat well with me.

** I don't know if everyone's browser displays the font (Papyrus) I use for Baxente. Does anyone else do this, use a different font for each POV? I have five POVs in this story, and I find just seeing a different font helps switch my brain from one persona to another. 


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 7th, 2013 09:35 am (UTC)
I like the mystery of this opening! And you get in a lot of information in that paragraph, and in a very subtle way. Excellent writing.

(and nope, I don't use different fonts because I usually don't have a lot of MCs, but I think it's a good idea)
Apr. 7th, 2013 10:46 pm (UTC)
Yay. Looks like I'm on the right track.
Apr. 7th, 2013 01:47 pm (UTC)
I find that too often "open with a bang" openings are just confusing. Sometimes they can work for me, but it's *definitely* not a given.

The papyrus font displayed--what does it signify for Baxente?

I love-love-loved this: his legs were ready to give out, abandoning him in the tight corridors. --I love that phrasing--being abandoned by one's body! Excellent.

(P.S. And by "work for me," I mean as a reader, not a writer. I almost never use them as a writer--in fact, I don't think I ever have)

Edited at 2013-04-07 01:48 pm (UTC)
Apr. 7th, 2013 10:50 pm (UTC)
Yes, initial "bang opening" confusion is normally not of an enjoyable kind!

For me, the papyrus font comes the closest of all the fonts in creating a feeling that evokes Bax's culture. Not "papyrus" the word, but the forms of the letters.

Apr. 8th, 2013 05:11 pm (UTC)
Interesting idea, using different fonts to flag POV switches. I’m drowning in POVs in Lynch. I may have to give this a try.

I was going to suggest that, if an in medias res opening does not work, the author has not done their job. Then I thought a moment. I do believe that the reader brings a significant portion of the story to the table with them. I guess I still think that, in the case where that sort of opening fails, the author continues to carry the burden of the failure, but the scope of the error is different.

There are lots of disciplines where undergraduate (if you will) levels of knowledge and experience are required before even attempting to comprehend, much less master, advanced portions of the corpus. Not every book needs to be an entry-level work, I guess is what I’m saying. I’ve lost count of the number of times when, re-reading a work, I in my greater maturity suddenly understood something that had gone completely over my head previously. That’s not a flaw - not a bug, as the computer people say; it’s a feature.

On the one hand, I think, yes, the author of a problematic in medias res opening has failed to in-clue Intrepid Reader as to the nature of the change occurring on the page. On the other hand, though, I think the author possibly also fails in providing the sorts of information cues that tell Intrepid Reader what sort of information to bring to that table—they’ve failed both to properly tailor their work to their audience and to educate the reader in the elements Reader must have already mastered to appreciate the work.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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