I’ve decided to try give you a better insight into my novel, Mist Rock, as I work on the second draft.
At the moment, I’m editing Chapter 3, “Leaving”. I finished work on the Prologue, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 last week, and am finally starting to find some consistency in the process.
That being said, I’ll admit that up until now I’ve had it kind of easy. The prologue, where we find Queen Farelia fighting for her life atop the Arakil Mountains, had been planned in such detail that the chapter almost wrote itself. The same could be said of Chapters 1 & 2, which focus on Marke’s decision to leave Mist Rock for the Golden Lance Academy.
Which brings me to Chapter 3, where the plot starts to pick up the pace.
There’s far more direct conflict in this chapter. Not only does Marke have to say goodbye to his family, but we start to see just how dangerous the world around him has become. It’s a sort of “curtain-raising” chapter, a few thousand words that takes Marke beyond the safety of the walls of Mist Rock while also delving into the great war on the horizon. That, in itself, is the first book in the Mist Rock series summed up too, so deep down I feel this is a chapter I have to get right
We’ve all had to leave home at some point, and though it definitely isn’t the most emotionally charged moment in the story, it’s a huge step for Marke all the same. That makes it a huge step for me.
I worked on half the chapter last night-the half that sees Marke say goodbye to his mother (Hylia), sister (Nadia) and father over a few scenes I hope give some feel as to how torn he is. I didn’t want them to be melodramatic, which given my flowery style was certainly a risk. Instead, I tried to say more with fewer words.
As the first book is seen solely from Marke’s POV, we only meet Hylia and Nadia on a number of other occasions. This concerns me, not least because the Golden Lance Academy is an all-boys institution, and so the opportunities for my female cast suffer. It’s doubly annoying as Nadia and Hylia both play major roles as the series progresses. I’ve considered dropping in a “Nadia POV” at some point, but am wary of disrupting the story.
I’ll have to keep it in mind as the editing proceeds.
I’ll leave you with some ‘rough stuff from the middle of the chapter, where Marke and his father enter the Aelia square.
“Do you think it will be open war, Dad? Does it feel like it did before the Uprising?”
His father made another face. “I’m afraid it does. But back then things were different. We had her, for one thing,” he said and gestured to a statue in front of them.
They had just entered the Aelia Square, where kings and queens of old were immortalised in stone. Some of them held swords, others hammers, one a bundle of flowers. The statue his father pointed to was the newest, scarcely two decades old. Even fixed in stone, Farelia Aelia looked impossibly beautiful.
“They still haven’t repaired it,” Marke said, nodding at the fissure that ran down the front of Farelia’s dress. The winter before, a terrible storm had descended on the Mistlands, wreaked the kind of havoc that hadn’t been seen since the famous Wailing Storm centuries before.
“They will in time,” his father said. “She mightn’t have been queen long, but the people loved Farelia. They will remember it before the end.”
Marke nodded, surveyed some of the other faces who were worshipped as Gods. One of them was Dia Aelia, who had been queen during the Aelia War, where her cousin rose up against her, gathering support from all over the realm.
Her statue was clear, the stone polished white as snow. But even now masons worked on it, tried to stop it from crumbling. The same hammers rang all year round, so much so that Marke wondered could the damage ever be undone.
Those cracks, he knew, must have been somewhere inside.