A first scene

I’ve written a prologue and a first scene for my new book, an intimate epic fantasy called “The Garden of the Mad King.” I’ve been fiddling with a few ideas for a while, and have mapped out the first couple of chapters vaguely. But books are made of more than vague ideas, they are made of concrete scenes. Scenes that start somewhere, do something, then end somewhere. So “character A finds a portentous symbol on a guy she just killed” is not made of the stuff that people like to read. But once you set the scene: twilit snow, blood, a horse breathing hot fog; and imagine how it feels: the post-battle ache, the angry fear; and shade in some history to fill in what it all means, then you have a scene. You just need a killer opening line to drag the reader in, and a killer closing line to spit them back out the other side with enough momentum to land in the next scene.

I must warn in advance: don’t look for superfast word counts with this one. I’m taking my time. I’ve been influenced by the Anglo-Saxon elegies, and I want to imbue every scene, if I can, with that feel of melancholy longing. I intend to spend at least a year in this world, because ultimately I am writing it for my own pleasure, to recapture the feeling I had as a child: new, crisp-paged notebook; quiet place where nobody will bother me; head full of delicious ideas. For the first time in many years, I’m writing without a contract. If it sells to somebody, that’s great. If it doesn’t, look here for the free downloadable pdf!

8 thoughts on “A first scene

  1. How delicious, Kim. When you give your heart to something like this, when you respect the Muse that whispers in your ear and honour her with crisp new notebooks and bright eyed attention, well, you just know what pours forth will be true and good! Hooray, Hooray!!!

  2. “I’ve written a prologue and a first scene for my new book, an intimate epic fantasy called “The Garden of the Mad King.”

    YES! *punches air triumphantly and launches into Bill & Ted style air guitar solo*

    Behold, the Queen hath returned. Long may she reign.

  3. Hi Kim. ‘The Garden of the Mad King’ is a delicious title! That sounds wonderful. It is great to be able to hear about your journey with this book right from the start. I’m excited to hear that you are writing another adult fantasy novel and that you have the luxury to write this one without the time pressures of a publisher contract. Fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing this journey with us and for helping new writers like me to understand the processes involved from the first scene. Looking forward to learning about writing a novel during the Year of the Novel workshops at the Queensland Writer’s Centre. Joanna :))

  4. Pingback: Time to get serious, Joanna, if you ever want to write a book. Stop procrastinating!! « The Writing Cat

  5. Sounds exciting, both the story and your approach. Have fun. Wallow. (Sad we’ll have to wait so long to read it).

  6. A mental and creative soak in a bubble bath.

    Thrilled that you’re going to play with history again. I love the Kim Spin.

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