Friday, August 13, 2010

Structure, re-structure

My idea for the time-honored and popular-with-readers-and-publishers trilogy was that the first volume would follow the story one main character, and the second would follow the story of the second main character, each with a first-person narrative (forbidden, I understand), and the third volume would bring them together with a third-person, or even another first person, narrative. In developing the first MC, Havel, I have found myself thinking of him as a sort of young Clint Eastwood, driven by guilt and anger over separation, or something like that. This leads him to be somewhat darker and more dangerous and less dorky than Harry Potter, but with also a very soft underbelly where he feels things intensely and is prepared to make ultimate sacrifices, partly because he values himself rather little. So the story is to some extent one of redemption through quest.

But the main source of guilt is his belief that he has killed a girl he liked in trying to help her, by teleporting her into the nevermore. I thought for a young adult novel, it might be best if the actual survival, if misplacement of this character, were shown to the reader early on, so that Havel is feeling guilty for something he hasn't actually done, or done to the degree that he imagined. Also, I wondered if staying in his head exclusively for 400 pages was a great idea. My new idea then is to incorporate what would have been two consecutive first-person narratives into two continuous volumes in which the stories and voices alternate. The more I think about this, the more I like it. Thus, the originating story in the parking garage can be retold in the second section (around 100, or even fifty pages) in, from Bloehm's point of view. Also this allows me to create the two contrasting worlds of Nitra and Nova Huta simultaneously, and to make the tension between them greater, so that even if the result of their being connected by the salt road through the in-between is not understood well by the characters, it is understood by the readers. This will make the readers more ambivalent about the actions and motivations of the characters. Finally, this setup provides an opportunity to keep a romance-of-the-imagination more vividly alive.

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