The entire first chapter of book one is set in a battle. The action all takes place on the battle field, but we occasionally switch to the higher-ups and watch them try to coordinate this fight from afar. In addition to strategising about the battle, and the larger war, the antagonists are busy scheming against each other. Meanwhile, the protagonists are becoming increasingly divided by their values.
The problem is, this is a lot of information to convey, and I’m afraid that the chapter may be exposition heavy – which is far from ideal when dealing with the opening chapter. I’m also worried that important details are getting submerged in the glut of information.
I did a lot of planning, and mapping the area, during the original draft, but I think what’s needed now is some mind mapping. It’s taken me a few minutes to note each sides strengths and weaknesses, and list the issues this would cause them. Out of the seven issues: three haven’t been mentioned; two are a bit lost in the writing and I’d say the last two issues aren’t connecting enough to the battle. All of these things are fixable, and I think the chapter will be much better when it says what it needs to say and how it needs to say it.
The who, what, when, where, how check
Establishing who the characters are takes up a lot of the chapter, as does showing the reader what they are doing and how they are doing it. What’s not clear is:
- Why they are fighting
- Where they are fighting (well, we see that it’s in a forest…)
- When they are fighting
Looking back, I think I must have skipped these details because; well they all become apparent in the fullness of time. But, it’s not essential to the plot that these details are kept back, and putting myself in the reader’s shoes, I can see how the lack of detail may be frustrating.
One thing that’s becoming clear to me is how much work is involved in a rewrite, especially if the first draft was written in a mad 30 day dash. It may take a while, but it will get done – one page at a time.