20 June 2007

Fleshing out the opening chapter

Steps to the Dragon: 26,267/973,733. Today: 9,501

I'm considering writing out significantly detailed outlines of each traveler's story before November so that the actual writing is only slightly more than transcribing the story. Sort of like doing an interview, then writing the story from the notes.

I'm considering doing this all longhand so that I can spend time really crafting the sequence, tone, and phrasing of the story. For example, the opening words should carry the fact that "the longest journey begins with a single step" so that Steven starts counting from his doorstep. The first paragraph should set the theme and direction for the whole book. It should be clear that no matter who is telling the story, the book is about Steven.

Within two paragraphs we should have established that Steven walks with a measured step at a specific pace. To walk slower would be to drag his feet and appear reluctant. Faster would appear reckless and lack seriousness. It would also prevent the townspeople from having the opportunity to appreciate his departure.

It should also introduce the fact that the journey began long before Steven's birth when a traveler spun a tale for the gullible villagers about a dragon that lived for a thousand years and would descend upon villages to devour their young or their livestock. Every sensible village would be prepared to train up a dragon-slayer. The village would know when the time was right by some sign.

Then we transition to the ______'s Tale. What is he called? Is he a wizard? Is he a minstrel? Does he tell the story out of malevalence, as ajoke on the bumpkins, or as a real evangelist? Perhaps he is an evangelist or a missionary. Perhaps the dragon is a promised punishment for those who do not believe his story. Perhaps the whole reason the village decides to train a dragon-slayer is because they have decided to run the missionary out of town, but fear the consequences.

What does the term "dragon" mean? A dragon could refer to a ythical beast, to a ruler, to a punishment, to a person. A dragon-lady could be a powerful or sexual woman. A lizard. Dragon-breath would be so foul it burns. Others?

Is there a sollusion that is going on? Was a sheep killed by a wolf and themayor uses it to bolster his campaign saying that surely the dragon must have done it--we need to unite in this time of national crisis and send out the dragon-slayer?

Have people alsays lived in fear of the dragon--kids, be good or the dragon will eat you--and now they have decided to break the chains of fear and send out the dragon-slayer. Perhaps they have always left a sacrifice for the dragon and now they are in open revolt and want to break the bonds of fear.

Someplace along the line in the first chapter, Steven needs to ponder whether he was fated to be the dragon-slayer, was elected, volunteered, was drafted, or what. Do we resolve how he was determined to be the dragon-slayer? Does he have reasons to doubt that he is really the dragon-slayer? What if I'm not the right one?

So, in summary,--Interupted. Don't remember the summary.

From Richard: About Faith/Belief. Adler talks about courage (heart). Can be transferred. If I believe in you, it gives you faith in yourself.