Behind The Monk’s Curse: Chapter Three

Behind the Scenes, The Monk's Curse - Prologue

As promised, a review of the process behind each chapter of The Monk’s Curse. This time, the topic is Chapter Three. In the preceding few weeks I have written of the Prologue (and its heavy historical content) and of the two chapters that set the scene: Chapter One and Chapter Two. I am afraid that there isn’t much to this week.

Once more, it sets the scene. But only very basically.

Instead, the protagonist learns very little more of his past – a past which will come to define his search and the plot – but so little that all it does is set the scene for the ever increasing number of questions that populate his thoughts.

This makes for an interesting journey with the character, because not only does it stay away from any action in the story, but it creates that action in the form that the questions take in his mind. His mind is riddled with questions. And this characteristic leads us to understand his character at an intimate level. A level that will stick with the reader as the fight and search slowly changes from mental to physical.

This chapter truly sets the scene for the unusual aspect of this novel. While most novels are based on actions, this one is based on actions and thoughts. In this way, the characters are understood – they becoming compelling reasons for the reader to keep turning pages. This is the substance of the story. This is what Chapter Three introduces.

So, more than anything, it is a short chapter. It is quite dull. But like every other chapter, it is essential!

Behind The Monk’s Curse: Chapter Two

Behind the Scenes, The Monk's Curse - Prologue

Two chapters in. And well on my way into the novel that had begun to take shape. This, Chapter Two, is the chapter that really set the tone for the rest of the novel.

Like Chapter One, Chapter Two required very little research or historical content. And, being at the start of the novel, it needed no consistency checks. As such, this was one of the most interesting chapters to write. Because unlike the Prologue, and the chapters that would follow, Chapter Two, like Chapter One, was guided solely by where my fingers felt compelled to take the story.

And this is where Chapter Two took the story:

Like Chapter One, this was a vital chapter. The Prologue set the tone for the historical content to come. Chapter One started the mystery and introduced the reader to the protagonist. Chapter Two took this all further. For the first time, the reader is transported to the Yaroslavl Oblast in Russia – this is indicated beneath the chapter title.

And being transported there, we begin to see a glimmer of the events to come, and the events that have been.

To avoid giving away spoilers, I shall remain vague. But the characters introduced in this chapter are three of the main characters in this story. One of them is special. For it is he that guided my hand as I wrote – a phenomenon I had spoken to in a previous post.

I absolutely had no idea what I had envisioned for the story before I began writing Chapter Two. Merging the Prologue and Chapter One (as they had both been intended for two separate novels), I got onto planning the outline of the novel. But even this outline failed to predict what would come with Chapter Two – a character so unique that he would come to shape the entire novel in ways unimaginable.

The chapter hardly has any action. Rather, it follows conversations between the three characters present. As it should be, there is a disagreement (again, I cannot reveal more), and this disagreement not only informs the reader of the past that shaped the present of the novel, but it informs the reader of the characters’ goals, their allegiances, their actions, and the beginning of what would come to be a conflict almost central to the novel, but not quite.

Set in a castle far from inhabited areas, this scene reveals much more of the secret societies that vie for supremacy in the ancient war surrounding a boy, a monk, and a prophecy. It lends a view into the mind of one character – the thoughts of which reflect on this war, on its progress, and on its way forward.

If you have started reading the novel, it is a chapter that I would urge you to reach quickly, and it is a chapter that I would urge you to take note of and remember. It is a chapter that will come to mean a lot more later on.

And with that, thus concludes my rather vague discussion on Chapter Two. I promise that the following chapters will prove to be more interesting topics on which to blog. They are certainly filled with more detail.

Enjoy reading!

Hello Literary World – My Rebirth as an Author!

New York Public Library

Greetings to all readers out there!

Here is my literary rebirth!

I have decided to reinvent my literary identity, my career, and, perhaps most importantly, my literature itself. To mark the good progress that I have made on my novel in the works – The Monk’s Curse – I am unpublishing all my previous works, have recreated my entire website, created a new website for the book here (you can visit it but it’s not done yet).

First of all: The Monk’s Curse

The new literary journey

Literary Reinvention - The Monk's Curse Banner
The Monk’s Curse Banner

One of the things that have sparked this reinvention was the conception of The Monk’s Curse. I can’t say much about it, but I describe it as the riveting story of a boy, a prophecy, and a monk. It’s a story where East meets West and the Islamic Caliphate meets Christendom. Oh no, I have said too much! What I can say is that while writing this novel I have made up the most outrageous of fake histories, the evilest and naive of characters and the most scholarly prose. You won’t find too many action scenes in this novel. It is a political masterpiece with constant machinations going on behind the scenes. If you are anyhow interested in scholarly and political mysteries, keep your eye out for this book.

Finally: What has really led to this surge of inspiration and departure from normalcy?

What drove me to abandon my previous books and literary journey to start all over again?

It was a wonderful trip to the United States in the December of 2016. Meant to be an exploration of the place in which I will one day pursue medical studies, I turned it into an awesome experience of winter, museums, books, and a family Christmas.

Okay, so we don’t get white Christmases here in South Africa. So, I went to New York City in the hopes of seeing a white Christmas. I didn’t get that. Instead, I saw the marvellous Museum of Natural History, Central Park, and Times Square. Also, I spent a wonderful Christmas with family in Houston, Texas. Christmas is certainly not such a big affair where I come from. So, the lights, festivities, elaborate meals, and gift giving were a pleasant surprise.

Saturn V Rocket at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston
Saturn V Rocket at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston

View of Manhattan from over the Hudson at night
View of Manhattan from over the Hudson at night

The American Museum of Natural History in Upper Manhattan
The American Museum of Natural History in Upper Manhattan

The pictures just show some of my experiences and can hardly do justice to any of them. All I can say was that my trip to the USA was definitely inspiring enough to get me start writing my novel – I am now halfway through.

But what really affected me!

My greatest experience in the USA was that of my visits to the New York Public Library (see picture above) and the Strand Book Store. Evidently, my literary experiences stood out. I didn’t take any pictures of Strand, of which any book lover will know, but in my defence, I was too awestruck by the sheer decadence (is there a better word?) of the place. Be sure to get my thoughts on it in my next post!

Finally

I hope you have enjoyed what you have read so far, but trust me, if you are a bibliophile, it is only the beginning. See my next post for a whole lot of book recommendations and my experience in the largest bookstore I have ever been to!