Opening Scene of Sword of Chaos

This is how my novel starts. At least in this draft. It could be a prologue as it occurs a few months before the main events of the story. However, as you will see, I have several scenes introducing characters and setting up for the “inciting incident” as it were. I might make the first chapter as a series of shorter scenes, like this, or several small chapters at the beginning.

ButterflyQ  Let me know what you think in the comments.

A thunderous crack of lightning awoke the darkness, and ripped the sky open. Two women, drapped in silken robes, struggled to stand in a small boat on the once still waters of Lake Nans. The rip loomed above them hemorrhaging chaos and swirling as it grew larger.

The younger woman chanted and moved her arms in great arcs, her fingers tracing out complex patterns as she held the rift in the Void open. Her mother held aloft a large sword wrapped in leather. She watched the gap grow, waiting for the right moment.

Before she had a chance to hurl the weapon into the rift, an enourmous shadowed hand reached out of the darkness. Grotesque fingers groped around, searching for their target.

The women learched in the boat, startled, but not completely shocked by the intrusion. They had prepared for this night ever since the Elder brought the sword to House Moon. They knew the spells, the optimal location to perform the ritual, but they knew this would be dangerous.

The boat rolled harder and the women lost their footing. The mother called out to the Elder on the far shore. Her eyes grew wide as the ghostly hand grasped at the air mere inches from her face. She nodded to her daughter and, before she could change her mind, braced her legs against the sides of the boat, and launched the sword toward the shore where the Elder stood, stiff and focused in meditation.

Instantly, the Elder’s hand darted out from his cloak, catching the leather wrapped sword and swinging it over his shoulder in one fluid motion. His wrinkled fingers never losing their grip. He returned to his stance but began chanting.

The younger woman’s chanting took on an urgent tone and the rift began to change, the vortex reversed and turned counterclockwise and the hole into the darkness shrank as she sealled the fissure. Enraged, the disembodied hand smashed down onto the boat, grasping for the women, and sending the splintered remains flying to the opposite shore. A huge wave rushed outward, sending waves cascading to the shores of the lake.

Suddenly, as if satiated, the rift imploded, swollowing everything, the noise, the chaos, the shadow, with a resounding pop, as if nothing had happened.

The lake became unnaturally still.

 

Writer Resolutions

I’ve never been into resolutions. Especially since I never keep them. Usually, they are about dieting or exercising. I have no motivation for such things.

This year, I want to resolve to write more, write better.

But what do those really mean? That is the question, isn’t it? The answer is personal.

For me, writing more is writing every day, even when I don’t feel like it. I will commit to editing at least a chapter, or writing for 30 minutes instead of _______________ (fill in the blank with any other recreation).

Improving my writing requires reading. Reading fiction. Reading writing books. Reading advice blogs. I also want to get a journal that has prompts or writing exercises. Maybe get a critique partner or group. I am not sure if I can commit another 30 minutes every day. I have a 9-year-old and a full-time job, so time is precious.

Beginning next week (I’m going to Las Vegas this weekend!) I plan to attend a Meetup group “Shut up and Write” (which also has a website: http://www.shutupwrite.com/). As far as I can tell, the group basically comes together to, well, shut up and write for an hour (after getting some coffee and being social for 15-30 minutes). They have a meeting on Fridays not far from my work, so that will be something I will put in my planner with ink.

Hopefully, I will be able to stick to my guns this year.

ButterflyQ

What are your writer resolutions this year?

Last Day of NaNoWriMo

Today is the day. The day to turn in word counts and collect your “winner’s” prizes.

Not for me. This wasn’t my month for writing. Last year I made sure I wrote every night after work. But last November my job allowed me the flexibility to leave early. My son played a bit more Nintendo than I usually permit. This year I work until 6 pm, commute an hour, and my son was diagnosed with epilepsy in August which requires medication that has to be administered at 7:30 pm.

Sure, I still could have made time. The time I spent writing this post could have been better used throwing words down for my NaNo count. They would not have been very meaningful; I haven’t felt the inspiration.

On a good note, I received some feedback on the first draft of my fantasy novel. Now that would have been a good thing to work on, but of course, inspiration strikes at 1 am and I can’t really get up and write at that hour, so I scribble a few things in a notebook and hope I will recall the scene when I return to me notes.  I want to finish my novel and get an agent and see it hit the New York Times best seller list (hey, I have to dream!) but it certainly will not be this month.

Ironically, I have been reading more. Finishing a book by D.L. Timmerman, reading a collection of fantasy short stories collected by John Joseph Adams and written by George R.R. Martin, Ursula K. Le Guin, Kate Elliot, and others. Picking up a classic and trying out a few new authors. More than anything, I am finding my place in the landscape of fantasy writing. What draws me in and keeps me reading? How can I find that tone in my writing. Looking at the balance of description, dialog, action, and reflection. Watching how they handle POV and develop voice.

Most importantly, where will my novel live? It is epic fantasy, with multiple characters, overlapping stories, and complex histories, but is it more like Tolkien, Sanderson, Jordan, or Martin? Should I spice it up to meet the tastes of Martin fans, or try to appeal to the YA crowd? My novel currently lives in the middle,  with both adult and younger characters, no graphic sex, and I would venture to say the violence is tame compared to most. Reading current fantasy author’s like Sanderson, it does appear to be a market for such works. Would this genre be “just” fantasy?

November hasn’t be a total loss,  however, I did not accomplish the 50k word novel this year. So congrats to those that did and I’ll see you around. Maybe next year book two of my epic fantasy will be my NaNoWriMo 2019!