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Nose to the Grindstone: Braiding and Revising - MoonScape [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Nose to the Grindstone: Braiding and Revising [Nov. 13th, 2008|11:47 pm]
[Current Mood |awake]
[Current Music |"Ave Maria" (Parkening and Battle)]

Worked my way up to chapter 20 today, but with some difficulties.   Alpha reader (m)  reported that first chapter is still a big draggy and suggested chapter three as a first chapter.  That breaks the chronology.  I've been struggling with this for weeks on the side...there's a rock'em/sock'em chapter that--if this weren't as complex a plotline as it is--would be the obvious beginning. 

But putting it first means going out of chronological order...and that means doing a temporal reversal early in the book to get back to the "real" beginning, which is still not as flash-bang....and all backward steps in temporal sequence feel slower to readers, which added to the slower pace in that section (necessarily slower and chock full of plot points that will blossom later on) will make it seem even slower than if it comes first, I think.  Besides, I think keeping the chronology in order makes it easier for readers.

So, at the weekly fencing class (which ended up with no one fencing tonight), I presented this problem to alpha reader (m) and some others,  and during the discussion, the youngest member came up with the best solution, which I hadn't thought of AT ALL.   Since the beginning of this book overlaps the end of Oath of Gold (Paks III for those who have it in the omnibus edition), he suggested reprising a chronologically "correct" exciting scene from there, and someone else had said "Use a different POV" and the two ideas coalesced in my head on the drive home.   While continuing to braid downstream, I'll be trying to write a new opening to the first chapter. 


[User Picture]From: dunkelza
2008-11-14 02:27 pm (UTC)
Yay! Paksworld groweth! :)
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[User Picture]From: harfafnor
2008-11-14 09:44 pm (UTC)
I don't mind a slow start to a book. Some are just that way, it takes a bit to get things up to speed. Going with a bang then sliding in some slowness on the other hand can be a bit irksome. I'm glad there was an option presenting itself to your satisfaction.

I've been meaning to ask and feel I should know this already. I need to read the Paks books before this one, correct?
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2008-11-14 10:45 pm (UTC)
I don't know about "need" but you'll definitely benefit from the background in that world. In fact, all five books set in this universe will be holding a conversation in this one...stuff that happened as background for the Gird book (Surrender None) is about to explode all over this group. I recommend the Paks books first, then the Gird/Luap books. Each group is available as a trade paperback omnibus from Baen.

Specifically, the beginning of this one overlaps the end of Paks III by a short time--in the Paks books we followed Paks, the main character, but she didn't exist in a vacuum. For her, that book ended the story she wanted told...but for others, it created a very unstable situation, which they're now living through.

I personally don't mind a slow start to a book that needs it, but editors are another kettle of cod. And this one needs to satisfy existing Paks readers (who wouldn't mind, because the characters at the start are familiar) and also pull in new readers (who might wonder why they're dragging through what it takes to get out of Dodge...so to speak. Oh--why be coy? The original start was set in the north, in the Duke's Stronghold, as Arcolin finds out the Duke won't be returning...which is 7 days after the Duke leaves Verella with the Royal Guard escort. There's plot significant and character-revealing stuff about Arcolin and the north, but it's not as exciting as dropping the reader in the midst of a battle or even a bar-fight.)


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[User Picture]From: gauroth
2008-11-15 02:15 am (UTC)
I'm wishing you all the best for the new opening! I read Paks's story when it first came out, and while I love your sf, (Vatta! Serrano!) Paks and her world will always be special to me. A hero who suffered from her heroism, who overcame her troubles and became greater because of them meant so much to me. Thank you.
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