Exciting news on the novel front: I received the first round of feedback from my editor on Monday, and overall it was extremely positive. I’m now starting to work on some revisions, then it will be back to him for a more detailed and technical copy edit.
I don’t want to say too much about what is already in Gateways and what is being changed. One thing I will say, though, is that I’m considering starting a few chapters with some fake “excerpts” from fake historical sources, like this one, as a way of introducing parts of the world. I just wrote this one last night, so I may still do further edits or even scrap it entirely — but at least as of now, this is the new beginning I’m thinking of using for my novel:
In the popular imagination, the Great War lives on as a spectacle. Each year, as autumn is threatening to give way to winter, hundreds converge on the Maxalo Pass in Wassia, in the south-west of the Continent, to re-enact the battle that was once fought there. The mood is festive: vendors hawk sugary drinks, horns and trumpets blow, and women and men march proudly in the brightly coloured uniforms of a bygone era. The day belongs not to the long-suffering veterans of the conflict, but to a celebration of homespun southern hospitality.
Indeed, the conflict is remembered by many as a distinctively southern war. Certainly the greater part of the fighting took place in Wassia, where massive graveyards now stand testament to the many who lost their lives in its meadows and valleys. Is it surprising, then, that it is the southern front which has persisted in the cultural memory of the Continent? That schoolchildren, filmmakers and even military historians have been drawn to its cascading offensives and desperate stands?
When, however, the war is considered from a broader historical perspective – not merely as a series of battles, but as a phenomenon that influenced the future course of a Continent – then it is the north-west, the confrontation between the Realm of Brealand and the Republic of Deugan, where our focus is inexorably drawn. It is hardly an exaggeration to claim that the Continent entered the modern era through the Gateway, that region which links the two combatants; and a study of the Brea and Deugan manoeuvrings along their shared border reveals to the historian not only a clearer portrait of the war, but also a glimpse at its more delicate and elusive cousin: peace.
(From “Introduction,” in Rothwell, Hering et. al., Perspectives on the Great War: The Northern Front (1725))
From there, of course, we would launch into the actual novel, which (at least so far) starts like this:
It was an old memory, the kind that lies concealed in the corners of the mind until it emerges in times of tension. A dirt floor, and a boy, and a night sky filled with so many stars that it almost seemed white.
Yeah … it may have looked something like this (image licensed as stock photo here) (Click image to enlarge)
I will be back soon with some law-related posts, as well as possibly one about dance organizing. In the meantime, please comment and let me know if there’s any topic you’d like to see me write about.