The first scene is what makes or breaks a novel?

I’m stuck, deciding between several starts to my story. I’ve been thinking about this since this year started. I was going to write the book in chronological order… and pass the flame on from father to son, so to speak.

Since the Writer’s Toolkit class we took on plotting a story, it was much more fun to read a a story that started mid-end than one which started from the very beginning.

BUT WHERE TO START!?

I’ve thought many scenes, I could start at the end of the book, where my character is explaining his story to someone, close to his death.

The moonlight hit my face as I brushed my hand through my hair. The light hit my eyes and cracked through the darkness that had hid my face so well. I tried to clench my fist, but my hands fell loose. Was I broken? Is it my time? I turned to my left, whilst scratching the field of curls on my chin, and saw a young girl sitting beside me. She must have only been seventeen. She had been following me for the last year; tracking my footsteps through the snowy paths like a wolf following a deer. She had a spark in her eyes that seemed so hopeful it was naive, foolish, how I used to be. She didn’t unsheathe her weapon at the sight of me; she observed me, and watched me like an eagle with a piercing glare. I sat on the cliff’s edge with my feet dangling off the edge, my sword resting behind me. I hadn’t been able to touch it since the day I succumbed to my darkness. Something bubbled up inside me, and though frost covered the area, and even the snot in my nostrils had frozen, tears rolled down my face. I lost more than my mind that day.

 

So, I could start it like that, and revert back to it when changing scenes to make it seem as though everything is inside the story, thus it doesn’t need to be in order, nor will it be noticeable when changing from scene to scene.

I could start it with a testimony, like a regret from a section of the story he failed in.

“I could see through the crack in the barn. I thought she’d be safe but they found her. I couldn’t do anything. My heart beat raced, but I was burnt out. we had been running all night. I was already wounded. That’s when I heard his voice. It called out to me and made sense. It was like my darkness took shape, and put his hand on my shoulder, understood my pain, and asked me to let him help. I let him.”

Thomas shuddered at the thought, and squeezed his wrist. Sweat seeped through his paws and his eyes were glassy. He looked to the floor, and away from anyone staring at him.

“Something in me changed. When I saw the knife go towards her. I was no longer myself.”

Thomas was shaking. He tried to breathe, and stop it. He tried to bring his body back under his control but he had become weak-minded, unstable, he looked up at the other people in the room and his eyes looked like they changed,

“I killed them all. I enjoyed it, they deserved it, and that’s all there is to it. I committed justice, and nothing else. They done something that was irreversible, unforgivable, and I won’t stop until I’ve removed every single person who has hunted us from this miserable world.”

Thomas grabbed his wrist a second time, and clamped it tightly with the other. He looked scared,

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry everyone. I’m trying to control it. The last person who helped was my father, but he’s not with us anymore… They took him, too.”

Thomas was cutting off the circulation to his hand. The elder in the room bluntly asked,

“What are you going to–”

He was interrupted by a younger woman,

“You can stay with her, and run away, she’s still recovering, but once she’s better, you can go and have your life.”

Thomas could not be persuaded. Traumatized by everything that had happened over the last couple of months, he could offer only one answer,

“I’m going to become the monster they have been seeking. I’m going to kill the King.”

Startled by his decision the elder stood up and distanced himself. The younger woman scrunched her brow, and squeezed the bridge on her nose,

“Fine, run away from her. Go become the monster, but know that she will always love you, and if you walk away now… you’ll never be able to live that down. She needs you.”

Thomas stood up knocking the chair over,

“She doesn’t need me, I can’t protect her. She wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for me, and I have too many demons to have a life with her now. It’s time to end this.”

Thomas slammed the door behind him and walk away.

 

I can’t decide how to present Thomas to the reader for the first time, as he changes so much throughout the story. It becomes difficult to pinpoint a moment of true change, or his true self. The only other scene I’m thinking of is to place him against his father, as a first defiance. I’m really curious to see how it pans out.

I’m thinking of starting with a first person perspective testimony from Thomas, as if he’s writing memoirs on his journey.

 

My hands were covered in dried blood. I had been bleeding for the past twelve days, more or less… I’ve fallen unconscious twelve times, anyway. And though my body is covered in enough bandages to hide my skin, I feel the flakes of dried blood prickling my skin. My knuckles are bruised, and I’ve broken three of my fingers. I clench my teeth in an attempt to show my father, and his friends that I am at the end of my wit. Why do this? To your own son? I’m not sure I have untouched skin left. I can feel myself changing…  Is this the madness Katherine talked about? This darkness, reaching for me? I don’t understand why they are pushing me… But here I am, standing in a room, blindfolded, clutching my chest, wheezing, and gasping for air. Will they keep going until I die? I must survive… I must. I can’t let them break me… I need a way out. But I don’t know where the door is…

“Let me show you, let me out.”

I felt my shoulder being pressed down, like death was touching me. Was he taunting me? What is it?

“I will help you. Let me out.”

I want to say yes, but I can’t. What will become of me? What will I do? My head hurts…

“Then let me out!”

I heard the footsteps of a man sprinting towards me. My left…? No, there are stone walls, sound is being echoed. To my right, I heard the wind slice.

“They’re using real swords, let me out!”

The pressing hand turned into a squeeze. My hands moved without my permission. I hit the blade with my fist. It stung, but I didn’t flinch. Was that me? I stepped forward, swung my hands out, and took stance. This is my time to escape. I won’t die here.

 

Well, that’s three scenes out of seven I was thinking of. What do you guys think? I would love to hear some responses. How does Thomas come across in each scene?

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New characters 22/02/2016 WT

Writer’s toolkit journal entry.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been thinking of the relationships between characters in my novel. My main character is defined as a bit of a lone wolf. He has several connections he holds onto which gets him into trouble, but ultimately everyone he thinks he can count on turns against him. I’ve been introducing emotions such as jealousy that sparks up later life for some people, and when they have power over him such as ‘it’s up to them whether he gets caught or not’ they make their choice.

I’ve been looking at a new character to introduce or rather introduce a personality into a character. I was thinking of almost a doppelganger-like character to oppose the character in an ‘equal’ sense, but at the same time be different. I think it would be interesting to make a character who is villainous, at the same time justified. Like Alaric, the main villain of Thomas’ story (my main character). He is trying to become a tyrant to unify his own kingdom, to further advance his nation and overall improve their position for the better. It is justified, and Thomas is in his way by the rumour of Thomas’ wife being the last legitimate heir to the throne. As well as the fact that his seer gives Alaric the idea that Thomas is having a son. Which from a usurper’s perspective, and bastard grandson of a King, would realistically make his legitimacy false. Ergo, Thomas and his line must die in order to better secure his own right to rule.

I want to focus right to rule as being one of many standpoints for the reason that Alaric feels it is important to put so much resource into pursuing Thomas. It’s not the only reason. From childhood Alaric has been offended by Thomas’ presence, and after Thomas is the one chosen to carry on all of the fathers’ skill/attention he felt resentful towards him, as he barely got his father’s attention and this boy, who had his own father, was taking his father’s attention as well. From a young age he felt it was unacceptable and never understood it. This drove his malicious attitude as a boy further from his family and a little insane in motive. The emotion jealousy, and envy drove him to the point where he confronts his father and chooses that it would be better to remove his father, so he can further enhance his position. This is however, after he finds out that he is of royal descent (a bastard) and pushes all the jealousy into strength. It becomes like a mask he can never remove when he walks the path he does, into kingship. To the point where he no longer recognizes himself, and becomes like Thomas in the sense that his personality splits in half over what is right, and what he needs to do.

The class I’ve been taking: Writer’s Toolkit has helped me understand character a bit more, and how they need more than one motive to do a task or start a journey. Characters need to be broken, in a sense that they take up a new ideal, or make a promise, or even become the monster’s they’ve been running from.

The idea that everyone has 3 faces, one they show others, one they have inside, and the one they truly are. This idea gives every character more than one side, and more than one track they can run on. So to speak, more than one flavour in the stew that is themselves.

As I have two stories at 2,500 words each coming up soon; I want to look at perspectives in these, and utilize how different a scene can happen from two point of views. I’m a little stuck between A husband and wife’s point of view, two character’s taken from my novel  (Thomas, and Freya) or taking the perspectives of Thomas and Alaric. I would like to write the same scene and show how different it can be, depending on the character, and use a soliloquy to define character’s inner thought whilst this is going on and show how different they are.

I’ve been playing with the plot thanks to the class we had in Writer’s Toolkit where we looked at the chronological aspects of a story and how they can be re-written, and re-timed in different ways to write the story and how it doesn’t need to be in order. This has been a really useful tool in understanding the way I want to write the novel. I was thinking of starting at the end or at the climatic point.

I could begin the story where Thomas has his sword aimed at Alaric’s throat, and then go back to how he got to that point, and then push past after his confrontation with Alaric. Or, start later where Thomas is close to death and then roll back 10-12 years to how he got there.

The other thing I’ve been looking at is chapter perspectives, and wondering how it would work if I developed the journeys of multiple characters, who change each chapter. There are a few characters I can follow. The two who I would focus on are Thomas and Freya, of course… but then there’s a character who seems very important to Thomas, and who travels with him for a while, and they meet multiple times over the 15 years Thomas’ story is mainly based around. The character is Lisett Rosaire, who teaches Thomas the darker side of combat, and a dis-honourable way to kill/fight. Using dirty tactics, to survive and win.

I’ve focused quite a lot of time into this character and the more time I spend the more I’m interested in how she develops. The difference between her and Freya is the fact that she is very much a bad influence on Thomas’ behaviour, and plays a large role in making him feel that it is okay to let loose, letting out his ‘inner demons’ to use when fighting. Which in turn, morphs his behaviour throughout the story. Freya however, keeps him calm, and feeling almost protected from them.

Here’s a little teaser of Lisett Rosaire’s character:

“Lisett is a woman with a very dark past, she is a very unique character and when she looks into Thomas’ eyes and sees his pain she falls in love with him, the odd thing about her is that she should have died as a child when she was hung, but somehow she managed to live, but lives with the scar across her neck as a reminder not to trust anyone.

She finds it difficult to spend time with Thomas as when she looks into his eyes she feels her first flutter. She attacks him out of fear of the feeling. They travel together for two years before parting ways.

Lisett is a woman who feels it is necessary to kill every man who has a perverted enough mind to pursue a woman even when she says no, she targets drunkards, known men who have hurt women, and seduces them, taking their life as soon as they make a move.

She has a unique set of beliefs, much like Thomas, and the only person still alive, to use blood magic, aside from Thomas. They learn from each other, teach other, and do unspeakable things. There is a huge connection between them and they make a pact with each other to meet in the next life as they are not yet ready to spend their life together as they are both still sorting out their demons.”

Distraction, distractions

Disconnected, distracted, and then feeling isolated. I find myself feeling these type of things often. The problem with these is that they are addictive feelings, more so, over-powering ones. It’s shit, really. The problem is, which always brings me back down from my surfing the clouds in fairyland is when someone asks me, “Are you okay?”, or “Would you like to talk about it?”.

I am so happy someone asks, but I rarely get asked it. So much so that I get defensive and wonder why they want to know, or/and, rarely say anything is wrong. It’s almost like my brain puts up a wall, protecting me from danger. Whatever the reason is for that is another thing.

As much as I’ve enjoyed playing around with Active and passive voices in my spare time, I’ve come to the conclusion that I would like someone drop kick me back into being me, seeing as my current problem is feeling down because I see my daughter looking for her mother, and/or asking me questions, or telling me she misses her. The problem with that, and very much the thing that is distracting me, pissing me off is the fact that the mother isn’t dead. She’s very much alive, and just not bothering. After not hearing from her in about half a year, one wonders whether they even think about their child.

Some would argue of course, but the actual fact is that even if she did, she’s still not showing it in the slightest bit. It’s been upsetting me. When we walk home, my daughter sometimes tries asking other ‘Ladies’ to hold her hand as well as mine, which is relatively new and it just hits me hard knowing that she won’t have a mother to hold her hand at all.

This has been distracting me.

I have to constantly remind myself of what I’m doing so I don’t let my mind drift into such ways of thinking again…

And, this… this is something no one can help me with. I know all the motions of trying to cheer someone up in the sense that they can say “Don’t worry, she’s not worth it” or, “Nevermind, your daughter has you and that’s all she needs”. I know this, and have heard them all… but it doesn’t stop you from thinking about it all, and especially for me…. someone who thinks a lot, it certainly doesn’t help.

 

Well, we all move on. We all strive continue, and today is just another day.

Is it me?

I’ve felt distant from the people I have been so close to over the last few months, or better yet, I’ve been distant with everyone.

I had a period of time in January where I had to visit the hospital a few times to check a possible hereditary problem. All clear, but I told no one. I didn’t mention it to anyone until after it was done and sorted, and I didn’t feel the need to either.

If anyone asked I just shrugged and said it was just an appointment. However, it could have been life threatening. After several calls over the following two weeks after that from family checking up on me I looked at myself in the mirror and saw someone who was close to no one.

Even the person at Uni I’ve talked to the most so far since returning from Christmas I’ve been distant with her, though that has something to do with the both of us being distant, not so much just myself. The drama in Uni over the last few months has been enough to put me off talking to anyone and furthermore it’s just made everything strenuous.

I know the person I was once close to can’t be bothered with me any longer. I say this, because whenever I talk to her, I get half a reply, a word or two, or even, simply, just ignored. It’s weird to think that you can go from being someone’s closest friend, and someone they wanted to keep in their life, to someone that is pretty much in the shadows.

I can’t blame her though, we all have our own things going on, our own battles to fight, and our own demons to face. Some just take longer than others.

One of mine is this incredible loneliness that strikes me from time to time. I tend to drown it out with high tempo music which raises my mood, for a  while. That being said, it’s difficult to pinpoint where it originates from, as I’ve felt it my whole life. I even tried going to the doctors once asking for help. I got turned away as I do enough on my own to get rid of any form of depressive qualities I have. I write, draw, meditate, and exercise.

After having a conversation where the conclusion deemed anti-depressants would make me worse off than actually being better off, I chose to not bother with them. I stand by my choice, and though I get ups and downs, and get moody from time to time, or lose motivation I always pull through and always have.

I can’t help having a complex, and feeling the need to help people, ha!

Anyway, the moodiness has its uses. It helps me understand things I normally wouldn’t. I understand emotion better, and take it in more as usually I’m a fool who’s feelings don’t actually effect them until days after the said event or when it typically ‘should’ effect. That’s all fine though, right?

And after spilling coffee onto my keyboard over the weekend, and destroying it (£168 mechanical keyboard) I could have cried. Though it has just turned on and is working, wicked. Anyway, I may be a pain in the ass, and I offer credit to those who manage to put up with me, but I feel like I’m disconnected from everyone, not in a simple communicational way… physically, I’ve not had a single deep conversation or, deeper than the typical ‘how are you’ conversations for months now, and then to further that, I’ve lost all the people I felt connected to in a deeper way, whether it be spiritual or some other unknown function of the brain.

I would state however, that I currently haven’t a clue how my brain is working, or making conclusions. I’m running on coffee fumes, but I’m pulling it off. I just hope someone will grab the rope I keep throwing out and help, rather than pretending not to see it. Have a nice day folks,

 

I’m out!

Standing in the mud

Apologies for not posting for a good while… I’ve been so busy over the last couple of weeks, and I’ve been rather demoralized.

 

So… I’ve moved home, closer to the University now. I’ve got out of the place that was prehistoric and moved to a place slightly more entertaining…

Anyway, things haven’t quite gone to plan.

Between broken door/window handles, swelling doors and penetrating damp the move has been exhausting.

I’ve been lost to sense of direction for the last two weeks. It’s been a rather interesting period of time actually.

I’ve learnt that it doesn’t matter how close you move to your friends, or other people, you still feel alone. And more so as of late. Aside from the empowering feeling I’ve had lately of feeling like I’m looking for someone I’ve been pretty empty-headed, and frankly, a little lost.

Weirdly enough, I’ve had a large amount of de ja vu. Not only that, but a gleaming amount of a shuddering feeling in this house. I’m not particularly enjoying the feeling I get when I’m there. But I’m sure it won’t be too long before making it into my home.

Matters other than my house, I’ve been pretty hard hit by losing my closest friend. I’m pretending I’m okay about it, and that everything alright… but it’s not true. With feelings I’ve always been a bit… lacking in the sense that it takes a few days to process emotion, or weeks for that matter and that is exactly what’s happening. I’m not sure I’m even consciously aware of it but it is affecting me but I’m sure it’s something like that.

Other than that, I’m trying to free myself of an ex partner I had last year back in April, and it seems no matter of goodbyes I make or how many times I ignore the girl she just won’t leave me alone… and I don’t know what to do anymore. Ha.

I’ve been a little less focused on work and been rather worried with things after my daughter asked me where her mother is, last week. It’s been a bit of a struggle coming to terms with the idea that she’s not going to bother, or be around for a very long time, and I didn’t give much thought to whether my daughter would catch on or not, at least not yet. But when she sees other children’s mothers picking them up she always asks the question.

Well – I’ve also been thinking about my writer’s toolkit, and though the lessons we’ve been having has given us outlines of how a story is written, it seems difficult to apply the techniques as I’ve been working on the same techniques in my own novel writing for a good while now. It has been a re-run of things I already know so far.

I would however, like to add that it has helped me visual my own characters more by giving them more of a reason to fight for themselves, and carry themselves for their own independent goals.

I also noted down the way stories can be written outside of the chronological order, and how playful you can be when writing the text which I will be working into my novel writing.

I have also concluded that music helps my mood so much, and after not listening to much music at all in the last few weeks, it’s surprising how dull I feel, like a blunt knife not having anything interesting to listen to.

Anyway, I feel a little stuck at the moment, and I haven’t got anyone to talk to, so I’ve decided to write it all down and move on with things. I thought I met someone who I really got along with, but after spending the 2nd day together, and it mostly consisting of being insulted and slapped, it gave me an idea of what the relationship would be like. It’s not something I could put myself through again.

The thing I’ve been doing is playing games to escape reality for as much as I can, I shouldn’t be but I’m not particularly enjoying much right now. I’m fine, and I’m clear-headed when it comes to being a parent, and looking after her but it’s the rest I’ve felt isolated with.

I feel like people are worrying though, but no one is actually talking to me which is a little confusing… I just don’t understand why it’s so hard for someone to talk to me, and ask me how I feel, rather than feel it’s easier to ignore me when I’m a little distant or emotional. Ha.

Needn’t worry too much though, I’m headstrong enough to get back on my feet when I hit the ground.

Well, back to class. Have a nice day readers.