Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nearly finished Chapter Ten of Rush

So I was writing on the bus this morning and I am nearly finished Chapter Ten. I would like to offer some more insight into the mind of writer…or at least into the mind of this particular writer. As I have mentioned before I write a chapter-by-chapter outline before I start writing the actual book. But this process only takes you so far. Here is an example.

This selection comes from Chapter Ten of RUST. Our hero Rifter has arrived at the town of Clan Hearth, which has roughly ten times the population of his clan, Deep Fathom. His clan was attacked by the Quickening Spear Clan, and his clan elder, Red, was mortally wounded in the attack. Red gave Rifter an amulet which he calls the Talisman, which glows blue when touched by human skin. It is believed to be a key that leads to paradise, which supposedly resides in the highest level of the world of RUST.

In this chapter Rifter has just met elder of Clan Hearth, Lorkin, and his apprentice, Sammel. Rifter was introduced to them by Meah, a girl whom he met in the tunnels leading to Clan Hearth:

Meah told Lorkin how she met Rifter and what had happened to his clan. The older man shook his head sadly as he listened to her tale. She also told him about Red’s Talisman.

“May I see it?” Lorkin asked in almost a whisper.

Rifter lifted the amulet out from under his shirt, holding it by its leather thong.

“And it glows if you touch it?”

Rifter demonstrated by touching it with one finger. Sammel jumped back as the Talisman bathed them all in a soft blue light.

“It must surely be a sacred gift from the Old Ones.” Lorkin said breathlessly. He lifted a trembling hand up, but seemed fearful of actually touching the amulet.

“Red said it wasn’t made by the Ance—Old Ones.” Rifter glanced down at it with reverence. “He said it was beyond their ability to construct, that it must have been made by others.”

“Blasphemy!” Sammel cried out, his face reddening.

Rifter was startled by the apprentice’s outburst. The word was meaningless to him.

“Now, now, Sammel.” Lorkin put a restraining hand upon the younger man’s shoulder. “Do not be so harsh. His ways are not our ways.”

“But clearly this Talisman was created by the Old Ones. It should belong to the Temple and not be in the careless hands of an ignorant savage.” The apprentice glared at Rifter like he had just stolen his food.

Sammel suddenly lunged for the amulet, but Rifter easily dodged his clumsy grasp. Meah let out a little shriek and Mekah nearly fell off her shoulder.

“Sammel! Stop!” The Elder roared as he grabbed the apprentice by the arms, showing an amazing strength that Rifter did not expect.

“I think I’ve seen enough, Meah.” Rifter dropped the Talisman back under his shirt and turned to leave.

At this point I had no idea what to write next. Does Rifter walk right out of the Temple, with Meah trailing behind him? Does Lorkin stop him somehow? If he does, what would make Rifter stop? These were all the thoughts that were going through my head as a sat on the bus, staring at the laptop screen, my hands poised over the keyboard. Below is the decision I came to:

“Please wait.” Lorkin cried.

Rifter paused, torn between showing respect to a clan elder and his desire to get away from the angry apprentice.
“Sammel, please leave now.”

The younger man hesitated, gave Rifter a hard stare, and left the Temple.

So there ya go--a glimpse under the hood of my writing process.


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