The Many: A Chronicle of Creation
I’m embarking on a chronicle of creation.
A year ago, I shelved what was then called As in a Mirror after some agent feedback that confirmed my worst fears. The story was overwrought. One character was completely extraneous. A couple agents said they’d be happy to see a revision if I did one. But to do a revision, I’d have to rewrite the whole story. I gave up and moved onto a new project instead.
Since then, this novel hasn’t let me sleep. So I’m setting off on a quest to rewrite and rework it. Will I succeed? It remains to be seen. Here’s your chance to accompany me from first step to final page.
The Chronicle of Creation Begins
Let me tell you, beginnings are not my strong suit. I’m great at the end, because I usually have a clear vision for the tail end of the rising action and the climactic section.
But beginnings? Arghh! They make me want to tear my hair out! I know just how important they are, so I’ll sit there rewriting them over and over again.
I know that the important thing is getting something down — something that will propel the rest of the story forward. That something will change in later drafts, which is part of why writing a beginning feels so futile to me. I know it’s going to change! Why the heck can’t I just get it right the first time?
Well, I have a bit of a beginning, after an hour of work. I’m going to post it below, along with a couple atmospheric images to give you an idea of what this novel’s all about.
I can say that there are now, solidly, three central characters. It’s adult fantasy, not YA. Themes? Good vs. evil, order vs. chaos. And there’s a demon involved. It lives in a mirror. Some of the story’s events are loosely patterned around the fairytale of Snow White.
Originally, As in a Mirror was set in a pseudo-Roman fantasy setting. Two semesters ago at Tufts, I had the chance to take a course on Byzantine Rome, which I hated. It was not my style. But I picked up a great insight, which was that my novel would be much better suited to a pseudo-Byzantine setting. For one, there’s a powerful woman in charge, and that kind of thing didn’t fly in Roman times. But in Byzantium… Helena all the way!
Funnily enough, the character’s name is Helena. But she’s not exactly the charitable Helena of Byzantine history, let me tell you that.
I’m also talking early Byzantium here, more akin to the classical world than the medieval one. And yes, there is a religion, which I’ve taken a pretty long time (by my standards) to work out before starting the draft. It incorporates elements of the religion from my earlier draft with elements of pseudo-Christianity.
At some point, I am going to have Dylan make me a map for this novel like he did for Blue and White. Maps always inspire me. I’ll probably draw mine out on paper first, then he can do all the fancy cartography programming stuff.
As I progress, I’ll post updates and snippets like the one above every other day.
I’ve decided that this is the best way to hold myself accountable. If I don’t do this to keep myself going, there’s a good chance I’ll chicken out and drop the project again! I’m doing this, first and foremost, because I believe in this story and especially in its characters. I can’t wait to introduce you further to Melita, the narrator; to Helena, the evil queen; to Legion, the demon whose name you may recognize from the Bible; and to Tristen, the character who quite literally broke my beta readers’ hearts. And mine. Did I mention mine?
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