Sunday 17th May 2020
I’ve done some more work on chapter 2.
What’s interesting with this chapter is that instead of throwing out and rewriting it, I refine it like waves lapping at a coast.
My focus has very much been on the protagonist. They’ve been changed by the events of book 1. That was very much established in chapter 1. But I build on it here. I’m taking their fears and using it to inform their decisions. In short, the Bruce Wayne vs Batman argument might be a bad idea, it may even have huge great holes in it… but it makes sense given what the character is going through.
So I’ve largely (so far) kept a lot of the dialogue. The drive isn’t so much to set up the conflict for the book going forwards (although that’s there) as it is in establishing character motivation.
I want it when the book gets to the Bruce Wayne vs Batman argument, I don’t want critical readers to go “there’s a small flaw in the logic” but to instead say “I understand why he makes this ‘bad’ choice”. In short, I’ve turned the argument from a logical one to an emotional one.
Now, I think 99.9% people will just roll with it. The Shade Knight books are meant to be fun and we’re setting it up so the big premise can happen. Taking the Dresden Files as an example, I don’t want people to question the logic as to whether Harry can ride a zombie dinosaur, I want them to go “Zombie Dinosaur, cool!”
It’s much more subtle than I’m making out (hopefully!) but I think using the fears of the protagonist to cause them to feel that they HAVE to act, creates for a better chapter. I’m deliberately NOT having them come up with any plan just yet… because I want them to make the decision on the spur of the moment. In short, instead of stressing about how I can make the Bruce Wayne vs Batman argument logically solid, I think I’m going to make it a bad decision driven by the protagonists fears (which are driven by the theme of this book).
So I’m now about half way through and currently liking it. It feels less event driven and more character driven. It was also feeling quite dark and depressive, and whilst it starts like that, I’ve actually used the choice by a secondary character to feel optimistic. It’s a bad choice but it’s the one they’ve elected to take to resolve the current gloom. My protagonist knows it’s a bad choice, the likely outcome triggering his fears and making him feel like he has to act.
Of course, at this stage all I want them to do is to say they’ll help so they can keep an eye on it. They’ll screw it up and be forced into the Bruce Wayne vs Batman argument in a later chapter.
We’ll see how I feel about it tomorrow. I still have a lot of work to do on this chapter, but it feels much better already.
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