Behind The Monk’s Curse: Chapter Six

Behind the Scenes, The Monk's Curse - Prologue

Two weeks too late! I completely missed last Wednesday (the day that this post was supposed to come out). After all, I did promise one post per week giving an insight into each chapter of The Monk’s Curse. On this note, I have two confessions to make.

Firstly, I have realised what a dismal show this topic of blog posts has put on. I promised behind the scenes and I delivered teasers. So, this week I will endeavour to correct that.

My second confession is that I am drowning under the work of being a self-published author. Not only has this kept me away from Twitter, and blogging, but it has brought all my works to a grinding halt. A book that was supposed to be published at the start of this month is get published two weeks too late. Other books that were planned for release this month will probably have to be moved on to next month. Alas, that is the price for trying to juggle so much at once.

But, onto the chapter

This is the unravelling of the tantalising plot. This is the chapter where two pivotal characters meet and where three key bits of information are passed on. Behind the scenes, this was the chapter that lulled me out of the comfort of my seat-of-the-pants writing style. That is, unlike previous chapters, I could not write this one without any planning.

Because two key characters meet here, it was especially important to decide how much to give away to the reader and to the protagonist as he continued in his search for the truth. In the end, not much was given away. What was given away was a pivotal newspaper article that only led to more intrigue. This was in itself fun to write because not only did it add another dimension and character to the story, more of which came to be elaborated on in other chapters, but because I delved into historical research for it. It took more on a journey deeper into the circumstances of the end of the Romanov Tsardom. It took me on a journey deeper into the end of the House of Medici. And, it took me further into territories of European history unchartered and clouded by the rise of the USSR and its suppression of fact through propaganda. Apart from that, another document was revealed to the protagonist. This was a brochure discussing Ottoman primogeniture. As anyone familiar with this topic know, it is a quagmire of details that are far too obscure for the lay man to understand. As such, it is not fully comprehended by the reader or the protagonist. Nevertheless, as all parts of the story do, it has its place. And that place is something that will come to rock the curse around which the book is centred.

To conclude

I hope that this blog post has been refreshing. I hope it has been so for me. From here, onward and upward. Until next week.

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!