And then Sunday morning came.
I have previously related how I had started variations on a theme to this story, finally getting a good start with a novel until I realized that this was too much fairy tale and not enough pain, pathos and Things Going Wrong For Our Characters To Have To Deal With. So I started writing Novel B. Still, things were too nice, so I had to toughen them and worked on Novel C. But the main characters came out as impoverished AND nasty, so I beat them down further and have been working on Novel D since then.
What makes a story a fairy tale? I've got princesses and kings and queens and knights and people Who Wish Them Harm. Good. Dragons? Er... well... kindof sortof... So maybe? I have WW I biplanes in the 21st century, does that get me points? Sure. Practically steampunk. I have a Big Tragedy that they are still working past, plus new plagues. Excellent. Some of the classic fairy tales, perhaps minus any Disneyfication, including things like Cinderella and Snow White and... these are tales of dreams and hopelessness. (EVIL-grin) Well, we're good with that. Indeed, there's a certain dystopian aspect which is what all the cool kids are reading anyway. Well, I like it.
But Sunday morning, before I even came out to breakfast, I knew what the novel really needed. Where it needed to begin. A lot of the time with a short story one has to cut out the prologue and "your story really starts on page 7". You have a bit more leeway and room in a novel, but the principle still applies.
For me, the new beginning is exactly what I need to make the first chapter, now the second, work.
And... I find myself violating The Rules.
If you've been writing for a while and if you've read writer tips and help pages and maybe taken a workshop, you've run into The Rules. And everyone violates them at one time or another. You know what I mean: Don't write in first person. Don't start with the character waking up -- or its corollary -- don't end the story with But It Was All A Dream. Show, don't tell. All manner of things.
And The Rules are there for a reason. Sure, there are great first person novels -- To Kill a Mockingbird, for example. But just because a great writer can pull it off, doesn't mean that you can or should. There are reasons why most novels are written in the third person. Don't piss off the editor who is reading your work, because they have to get past Page 1 and past Page 10 and past Page 100...
So help me, the new first chapter is the dream.
And for me, it works wonders, because the reader isn't going to be reading Novel A, Novel B and Novel C, with an interruption saying, But Wait, we're not being mean enough, so let's reset. The dream followed by the reality makes the point. It shows what our protagonist has lost or never even had. And why they keep fighting to keep at least what they've got.
And that's the reason for the story.
All told, by the end of Sunday night I had cracked 80,000 words, essentially unlocking the first goal level, as I am trying for 70-80,000 words or so per YA novel in the trilogy. Of course, this word count is for all three and it's not a complete story yet, but still. 80,000 words is an accomplishment.
Alas, this morning I got brutal and excised the remaining sections of text I'd marked in blue, because they were not appropriate fare for a YA novel. While I might take satisfaction at having written a banned book, trying to get one published which can't even be published isn't going to work. (evil-grin)
So I cut 1581 words and now the shiny counter stands at:
The Lost Kingdom Project YA Trilogy Version 1.03
But I am having a blast.