32: First Chapter Analysis with Guest Alden T Burgess

First Chapter analysis with Alden Burgess’s science fantasy YA novel, The Elusion Crystals. Great discussion with this film maker turned novelist.

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Transcript
Alden Burgess:

What you do in film, like you call it an

Alden Burgess:

overhead, like so I need to know where everybody is. Oh, and so I

Alden Burgess:

draw that out and like draw out their action. An awful

Alden Burgess:

illustrator, but it's like, oh my god, I can understand like,

Alden Burgess:

my my chicken scratch, but it kind of gives me a relation to

Alden Burgess:

everything. And once I have that, I find the scene much

Alden Burgess:

easier to write.

Kathrese:

Welcome to the writing pursuits podcast, where authors

Kathrese:

like you discuss writing craft, author, life and book marketing

Kathrese:

strategies. I'm your host Kathrese. McKee. I own writing

Kathrese:

pursuits and write and produce the weekly newsletter writing

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Kathrese:

fiction author. Writing pursuits is for authors who drink too

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seeking encouragement, information and inspiration,

Kathrese:

this podcast is for you. Let's get to it. Hey, writing pursuits

Kathrese:

authors. Welcome back to the podcast. For those of you who

Kathrese:

are new, I want to extend a special welcome. My name is

Kathrese:

Kathrese McKee, and I'm glad you're here. Please leave a

Kathrese:

comment a star rating and follow the show to help others find

Kathrese:

writing pursuits. Today, I'm thrilled to have all in T

Kathrese:

Burgess as my guest and we will be discussing his debut novel

Kathrese:

called The illusion crystals. So let me introduce him to you all.

Kathrese:

Ben Burgess is a writer and filmmaker based in Western

Kathrese:

Massachusetts. He grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, and

Kathrese:

later attended Rockport College in Maine. His short films chance

Kathrese:

and what is she to you? won numerous awards when he is not

Kathrese:

working are looking after his two children. He can be found in

Kathrese:

the kitchen trying to ferment anything he can get his hands

Kathrese:

on. That's good for you. Right? And if he's not there, he's out

Kathrese:

on a hike with his dog taco. Alden is currently working on a

Kathrese:

young adult science fantasy novel entitled, The illusion

Kathrese:

crystals. All then welcome to Writing pursuits. Thank you for

Kathrese:

being with me. What do you been doing lately?

Alden Burgess:

Um, well, I've been writing. And I went for a

Alden Burgess:

nice walk with taco this morning. Awesome. But in the

Alden Burgess:

past week, I had a week off. Because it was my my kids break.

Alden Burgess:

So we went to see my folks, which is really nice.

Kathrese:

Okay, wow. Well, let's weather like, because here, it's

Kathrese:

creeping up to the 90s. This week.

Alden Burgess:

It's in the 30s right now. Down, get really

Alden Burgess:

cold, and it's been really windy. So hopefully though, I

Alden Burgess:

think by the weekend is supposed to get back up to the 70s. Like,

Kathrese:

oh, I can't believe it. So, I was wondering, because

Kathrese:

you're calling this a science fantasy? Ya. Um, well, how did

Kathrese:

you get the idea for this book?

Alden Burgess:

Um, so basically, you know, I was out on a bike

Alden Burgess:

ride. And I was just kind of thinking about borders, and

Alden Burgess:

like, kind of like, like, how borders go and in the countries

Alden Burgess:

and like, you know, kind of how, who decides who can cross what

Alden Burgess:

border, right? And then I started thinking about our solar

Alden Burgess:

system. And I was like, Well, what if we didn't know there was

Alden Burgess:

a border once we crossed over into something else out there.

Alden Burgess:

And so in from there, I was like, Well, what if they, you

Alden Burgess:

know, just kind of started playing these What if games with

Alden Burgess:

with my head like on this ride? And then I was like, Well, what

Alden Burgess:

if what if they were like, something out there like a

Alden Burgess:

border patrol almost out there. And they're like, oh, wow,

Alden Burgess:

sucking the life out of you. And that's kind of had like, kind of

Alden Burgess:

came to this like Vampire idea. And that okay, and that's, from

Alden Burgess:

there. I just the ball sort of rolling on like, well, what if

Alden Burgess:

there was more like kind of fantasy creatures out there and

Alden Burgess:

a lot of what we thought were myths that we grew up with, like

Alden Burgess:

elves and dwarves and vampires, you name it, those were actually

Alden Burgess:

aliens from another planet long ago, and that like for you know,

Alden Burgess:

these were different creatures in for like, you know, early

Alden Burgess:

man, they tried to explain it. And that's where those myths

Alden Burgess:

came from.

Kathrese:

Right. It was our, our verbal history, but we just

Kathrese:

thought it was like fiction. It was stories you tell around the

Kathrese:

campfire? Yes. And a thing. Oh, okay, I love that. So how does

Kathrese:

your time in film make your filmmaking affect the way you

Kathrese:

write.

Alden Burgess:

Um, I'd say for myself, like a lot of time,

Alden Burgess:

especially when there's a lot of characters, a lot of action on

Alden Burgess:

the screen, or on the on the page, I need to like, kind of

Alden Burgess:

map it out. And like what I would what you do in film, like

Alden Burgess:

we call like, an overhead, like, so I need to know where

Alden Burgess:

everybody is, oh, and so I draw that out and like, draw out

Alden Burgess:

their action, an awful illustrator, but it's like, oh,

Alden Burgess:

I can understand like, my, my chicken scratch, but it kind of

Alden Burgess:

gives me a relation to everything. And once I have

Alden Burgess:

that, I find the scene much easier to write. And then I can

Alden Burgess:

kind of picture where the action is going, if there's a

Alden Burgess:

spacecraft flipping over, or something I can like, Alright,

Alden Burgess:

who's going to be affected by that? Where's the explosion, and

Alden Burgess:

like, all those little details that can helps me kind of map

Alden Burgess:

that out.

Kathrese:

A lot of authors lose track of that.

Alden Burgess:

It's hard, because especially when you have

Alden Burgess:

like, five or six characters sitting around a table or doing

Alden Burgess:

something. You want to make sure everybody is in relationship.

Alden Burgess:

And like when you're talking to people, there's always a side

Alden Burgess:

conversations. Sometimes that might happen, or like there's a

Alden Burgess:

lot of a lot of stuff going on at once that you kind of have to

Alden Burgess:

keep up with.

Kathrese:

And I agree. Yeah. Yeah, I agree.

Alden Burgess:

Yeah, one of the other things, I think, that has

Alden Burgess:

helped, like filmmaking wise, they always tell you to give

Alden Burgess:

good people business, give them something to do. And so I try to

Alden Burgess:

always look to people just don't always just stand around and

Alden Burgess:

talk. You know, you got to have them like, you know, scrubbing

Alden Burgess:

the dishes, or doing whatever, and then having that going on in

Alden Burgess:

the background while they're having this conversation. And

Alden Burgess:

that gives you as a writer, if they get frustrated, they can

Alden Burgess:

slam a dish down gives you something to do gives the

Alden Burgess:

character something to act off of as well, often, and

Kathrese:

it shows to in your manuscript, I can tell that

Kathrese:

you're used to doing that. It's kind of like, I guess, blocking

Kathrese:

in theater, where they're telling you to stand and what to

Kathrese:

be doing at that time. And there's some, some Japanese, a

Kathrese:

cartoonist, and I'm trying to remember its animation. And for

Kathrese:

the life of me, his name isn't coming to me, but he's very well

Kathrese:

known for anywhere you look in the frame, something's going on,

Kathrese:

which is very unusual. Most of the time, everything's pretty

Kathrese:

static in the background. In real life, unless you're

Kathrese:

controlling it, like this environment, where the dog might

Kathrese:

bark, but that's pretty much the only dynamic thing that might go

Kathrese:

on in the background. Then sorry, there's Lunas bite in the

Kathrese:

screen. But anyway, she'll turn around in a minute. I'm sure

Kathrese:

she'll adjust. But unless you're in a controlled environment,

Kathrese:

there's, it's everything's dynamic. Everything's fluid,

Kathrese:

everything's in motion. So good to good to be thinking about.

Kathrese:

And it's a really good tip, actually, for other writers to

Kathrese:

kind of scope out where people are, what they're involved in

Kathrese:

doing. You don't have to show it. But you need to know it and

Kathrese:

that way you can, if you need to communicate it. It's there. It's

Kathrese:

already ready. Cool. I really liked that. So let's get into

Kathrese:

the topic for today, which is your first chapter. Okay, I want

Kathrese:

to read the back cover copy, and your logline, and then we'll get

Kathrese:

into the first page on screen and have a look at the first

Kathrese:

chapter rubric as well. So, back cover copy, Earth is in

Kathrese:

shambles. humanity's last hope is aboard. The interstellar

Kathrese:

spaceship celebration, which I find is a very ironic name.

Kathrese:

Stuck aboard is Palmer bridges a teenage Cook, who's been let

Kathrese:

down too many times. And too many times to trust anyone all

Kathrese:

power knows is cooking and cleaning for this the ship's

Kathrese:

elite passengers with another 15 monotonous years ahead of him.

Kathrese:

Palmer's desperate for a change and gets more than he bargained

Kathrese:

for when Extra Terrestrial vampires captured the

Kathrese:

celebration, determined to survive, get his brother back

Kathrese:

and free everyone. Palmer teams up with a ragtag group of elves,

Kathrese:

fairies and dwarves, who to his surprise are real, but nothing

Kathrese:

like the old myths from his childhood, embracing his destiny

Kathrese:

Palmer is on the path to stop an evil aliens rise to dominance.

Kathrese:

Until a forgotten relics power is unleashed, forcing him to

Kathrese:

confront his own beliefs. So good, cool. I like the way you

Kathrese:

set the stage. logline, a teenage cook on an interesting

Kathrese:

hour on an interstellar spaceship if I could just read

Kathrese:

Musk battle for his life and save the last remnants of

Kathrese:

humanity from the sinister alien he's prophesied to kill so good

Kathrese:

job okay. Why don't you read it all in

Alden Burgess:

my hands are red. A wipe them on my apron but all

Alden Burgess:

I do is make a mess. Five minutes in I'm already faced and

Alden Burgess:

I'm already facing a demerit. You kill a vampire. I hear Gomez

Alden Burgess:

laugh. Yeah, I say back by saying get back to it. With his

Alden Burgess:

awful mustache. It's hard to look his way. We're not friends,

Alden Burgess:

because it's not worth making friends out here. But he's all

Alden Burgess:

right. Over my shoulder is Tinker he's always within my

Alden Burgess:

say. After every everything we've been through. I don't

Alden Burgess:

blame them. Watching his little hands drawn Sketchpad makes me

Alden Burgess:

smile. Like Nana always says, family looks after family. No

Alden Burgess:

one else gives a crap. And from what I've seen, she's writing

Alden Burgess:

everyone's out for themselves. You see this Hugo says Gomez

Alden Burgess:

bomber has been staking vampires because your red handed he

Alden Burgess:

blurts out a goofy laugh. We have gloves so as Hugo he walks

Alden Burgess:

over and leans in. You know how it is around here that make you

Alden Burgess:

wear hairnet for that mop of a head of yours. Do the same for

Alden Burgess:

your hands. If you don't the mark is lanky body jiggles with

Alden Burgess:

laughter. You go always last before he makes a joke. Not as

Alden Burgess:

bad as those hands. Beat it guys. I say hold up two fingers

Alden Burgess:

to ease a whisper and grab another cray. I want to do my

Alden Burgess:

work and get out of here without losing my cool. Unlike last

Alden Burgess:

week. When to kill a vampire. You get bloodier than that. an

Alden Burgess:

unmistakable voice rails out. I tense up Loulan Fada. He didn't

Alden Burgess:

say much. But when Lou speaks people listen. It's more than

Alden Burgess:

his deep voice or how he lumbers around like an overgrown bear.

Alden Burgess:

He commands your attention. I try to avoid them as much as

Alden Burgess:

possible, which is tough because he's my boss. With their pale

Alden Burgess:

skin and yelloweye to suck the life out of you more than their

Alden Burgess:

fangs lose big bush big bushy red hair, beard wavers in the

Alden Burgess:

light. As he gazes off in the distance, the steak would kill

Alden Burgess:

him, but put a stake through the heart of anything and it dies.

Alden Burgess:

Well, it's got nothing to do with it either. Cutting off

Alden Burgess:

their heads always a good way to go. If you can grab hold of

Alden Burgess:

their greasy hair. Nothing's worse than thinking you have a

Alden Burgess:

vamp down for the count down and they slip out and come back at

Alden Burgess:

you. Once they get the center of your blood, they'll know it

Alden Burgess:

forever. Lou looks at me. Remember that? My hair stands on

Alden Burgess:

it. He says it was such certitude. I almost I'm almost

Alden Burgess:

convinced. What he's saying is true. It reminds me of these

Alden Burgess:

bedtime stories my mom used to tell all about fairies and elves

Alden Burgess:

fighting evil vampires and goblins. I believed them. I know

Alden Burgess:

better now. You could never trust anything she says. She

Alden Burgess:

said. Who's full of it, too. How do you know so much about

Alden Burgess:

vampires? You got blood stained hands. Go my Gomez gives me a

Alden Burgess:

wink. Blood doesn't stain your hands says Lou. It always washed

Alden Burgess:

it out. It's the memory that stains. He snaps his head to

Alden Burgess:

Gomez and Hugo back to your stations. They scurry away and

Alden Burgess:

Luke turns to me. And when you're done with the beats Clean

Alden Burgess:

yourself up. I don't want to waste time writing to mirror and

Alden Burgess:

put away all that produce the ACT drop off who takes two steps

Alden Burgess:

and no hover lift. Mothers mutters to himself about not

Alden Burgess:

being ready as he walks off. I roll my eyes no hover lift.

Alden Burgess:

Whether it's lifting a 50 pound bag of busy veggies or chopping

Alden Burgess:

them loose always makes me do everything by hand. The ship is

Alden Burgess:

filled with all these cool gadgets that the rest of the

Alden Burgess:

kitchen crew gets to use. Not me. Whenever I complain, he says

Alden Burgess:

I need to build my strength or sharpen my knife skills makes me

Alden Burgess:

laugh as if any of those things will come in handy.

Kathrese:

That always makes me laugh because like it's like a

Kathrese:

self fulfilling prophecy. I always come to those sentences

Kathrese:

and books on how might you do that? Yes, you just you just

Kathrese:

cursed yourself. Okay, so well done. I am going to say that

Kathrese:

basically the hook lasts until about the end of the first

Kathrese:

chapter where he's he's holding up two fingers to ease BEAT IT

Kathrese:

guys To ease, you know, like it's an you know, he's making a

Kathrese:

joke, or upon a chapter rubric is actually split into two

Kathrese:

parts, there's a section on just the hook alone. So all I'm doing

Kathrese:

is looking at the first page, as if I'm an editor or an agent.

Kathrese:

And sometimes that's all the time you get is just that first

Kathrese:

page, and it starts down the page a little bit, I actually

Kathrese:

even put a few, like, about a third of the way down the page.

Kathrese:

So that kind of shorten too much time to make your impression.

Kathrese:

And overall, I think it's really, really strong. So here

Kathrese:

we go. This is the table of contents on the rubric. And in

Kathrese:

the hook, I'm looking at five things point, our promise, which

Kathrese:

is of conflict, answers to questions, a satisfying story to

Kathrese:

come. All those things, you're aware of what a promise is, and

Kathrese:

the point of view. And I'm hoping that I'll meet the main

Kathrese:

character, which happens, which is great setting, tone and mood,

Kathrese:

and genre. So on those things, and I'm going to go down to the

Kathrese:

hook section, the very first thing, and I didn't know what

Kathrese:

your length was, I couldn't remember the word count, you may

Kathrese:

have told me, is that approximately 70,000

Alden Burgess:

Or, I don't know, I'm like it. Like this. I'm

Alden Burgess:

working on my third revision right now. My second draft was

Alden Burgess:

114,000. Okay,

Kathrese:

you know, that's, that's okay. For science

Kathrese:

fiction, fantasy. Ya. So you're right in the ballpark, you can

Kathrese:

go that long without raising any eyebrows. So, you know, you

Kathrese:

know, it's just how onpoint is it? You know? And do they want

Kathrese:

the whole story? So

Alden Burgess:

I'm trying to cut it down by about 20% is my goal

Alden Burgess:

with this draft? Okay, just to make it tighter? Yeah, just to

Alden Burgess:

make it tighter, and it's already coming down. Okay.

Kathrese:

So on, on each of the pages. There's like this rubric.

Kathrese:

And it has four sections. It's underdeveloped. Fair, good. And

Kathrese:

Excellent. Excellent, is ridiculously hard. Like the hook

Kathrese:

is likely to be quoted from now on, you know, kind of like the

Kathrese:

first line of Pride and Prejudice or, you know, people

Kathrese:

put it on their bookmarks and T shirts, you know, so, yeah, I

Kathrese:

kind of made it kind of hard to do that. I think you might be

Kathrese:

able to do that with Andy Weir, but you'd have to be okay with

Kathrese:

swearing. His book, but uh, we're the first one anyway, the

Kathrese:

hook is original and interesting. So I put you in the

Kathrese:

good category, which is great. Immediately questions are raised

Kathrese:

in the readers mind is some form of conflict is clear. And there

Kathrese:

is a promise of a satisfying story. readers want to keep

Kathrese:

reading they are hooked. So in your first paragraph, you

Kathrese:

already hint at conflict five minutes in and I'm already

Kathrese:

facing a demerit. Ah, you know, so that tells me that there's

Kathrese:

some tension going on. He's, you know, there, there's a little

Kathrese:

bit of tension going on. Plus, we know that we're not friends

Kathrese:

because it's not worth fourth making friends out here. But

Kathrese:

he's all right. You have the saving grace here where he's

Kathrese:

concerned about some little kid. It's not easy to tell that his

Kathrese:

his his brother, I might counsel you to say, watching my little

Kathrese:

arm. My brother's little hands draw on a sketchpad makes me

Kathrese:

smile. Okay. Or my younger? My younger brother's hands. I don't

Kathrese:

know how little he is. Because he's nine. Yeah, so, you know,

Kathrese:

he might consider him little because he's 15. So anyway, so

Kathrese:

the very first thing you get in the conflict, and that's one of

Kathrese:

the things I'm looking for. Also, you've raised a lot of

Kathrese:

questions just in that first page. My questions were Why does

Kathrese:

Palmer believes it's not worth making friends? You know, who

Kathrese:

heard Him and you kind of get the idea that it's probably his

Kathrese:

mom. But anyway, why did his Nan teach him that no one else

Kathrese:

besides family gives a crap. That's like a family motto. So

Kathrese:

So how old are are all these guys approximately? Why is

Kathrese:

Tinker permitted in the kitchen? And why are there demerits so

Kathrese:

those are great questions for them for for me to have right

Kathrese:

away. I want to know what the answers are. That's the purpose

Kathrese:

of a hook is you've made a promise I'm going to answer

Kathrese:

these questions. And and I think you're well on the way by The

Kathrese:

end of the chapter to get in most of these questions, then

Kathrese:

then you've raised others. So there's also signs of conflict,

Kathrese:

especially inner conflict. Nobody cares. I can't trust

Kathrese:

anybody. And I got in a fight last week, you know, believable

Kathrese:

dialogue among the guys who are present. So you're really strong

Kathrese:

on your promise of a satisfying Sorry. Okay, the next section

Kathrese:

point of view. You have any questions about that one? No,

Kathrese:

that's okay. All right. So point of view, again, you're in the

Kathrese:

good section. This section is only for point of view within

Kathrese:

the opening line. So I'm going to look at the whole chapter

Kathrese:

here. I'm just looking at the hook. So it's not an overall

Kathrese:

point of view assessment. But your choice of first person

Kathrese:

present tense works very well for the story and your genre of

Kathrese:

why a for whatever reason, people kind of like the first

Kathrese:

person and you've intensified it a bit with present tense some

Kathrese:

people like that. I'm okay with it. One of the people that does

Kathrese:

it very successfully, was I believe, Suzanne Collins with

Kathrese:

the Hunger Games, is written that way. And you know, she

Kathrese:

reaches out her hand and the bed is cold. And, and she she's

Kathrese:

straight there, right in Katniss, his point of view, and

Kathrese:

she never strays, never strays. So you stay in Palmer's head,

Kathrese:

and the readers get a strong sense of an outsider who's just

Kathrese:

trying to get by, and possibly has a big chip on his shoulder.

Kathrese:

Now he is protective of Tinker, but in no hurry to make friends.

Kathrese:

So really great, right out of the box characterization, a

Kathrese:

strong point of view, very believable, 15 year old guy, in

Kathrese:

my experience, so

Kathrese:

that's great. All right. Setting this is the only this is the

Kathrese:

only thing I'm gonna do on really is setting it's minimal

Kathrese:

and basic right in the hook. And the setting adds no flavor to

Kathrese:

the opening, the reader needs more information to understand

Kathrese:

the context. And what I'm going to say is, you know, when you're

Kathrese:

making a film, you have an opening shot, and you get about

Kathrese:

what, 30 seconds. Yeah, maybe. But, you know, if you were

Kathrese:

planning this as a movie, it would start out and you would

Kathrese:

see maybe the exterior of the spaceship, as it's going through

Kathrese:

space, then you know where you are to, then you would get into

Kathrese:

the quarters, and you maybe follow the roadies down the

Kathrese:

hallway. And then you would go to the kitchen. And there's

Kathrese:

already maybe we'd open with a chop, chop, chop, chop, chop,

Kathrese:

chop, chop and his hands are grows. And you would know that

Kathrese:

he's chopping beets, and he's in a in a chips, galley. But

Kathrese:

whatever you would do to kind of maybe, and then maybe pan out to

Kathrese:

the cafeteria or people to streaming in. And they're

Kathrese:

probably well dressed. I mean, they got on their uniform or

Kathrese:

whatever, they got their spacesuit, but you can tell

Kathrese:

they're kind of wealthy, as opposed to the scrubs in the

Kathrese:

kitchen. You know, so you've already started. But that's all

Kathrese:

in the that opening sequence where you said absolutely

Kathrese:

nothing. So I was thinking maybe, because you don't have

Kathrese:

the luxury of that in your very first thing is maybe we could do

Kathrese:

this thing where Give, give a label there at the very

Kathrese:

beginning of the chapter, right between chapter one and the

Kathrese:galley of the USS celebration:Kathrese:

where, you know, kind of like that's what the ISS the

Kathrese:

international space station uses to coordinate time zones because

Kathrese:

they've got people from all over the world. They've done mission

Kathrese:

controls from various places in the world. And you know, and I

Kathrese:

didn't know if it was USF because, you know, that stands

Kathrese:

for United States ships. So who knows what it really says. But

Kathrese:

anyway, you kind of see that on its whole and but I was thinking

Kathrese:

that maybe that would be a shorthand way to establish that

Kathrese:

you're maybe in space. The other thing I thought maybe would be

Kathrese:

very easy to do. Also to set the setting is to mention the

Kathrese:

hydroponics deck or the Ag deck because you wreck it you you use

Kathrese:

ag you know later they brought produce right and he's assigned

Kathrese:

to the tiller. So beat it guys. And I grabbed another crate from

Kathrese:

the celebrations hydroponics deck or from celebrations ag

Kathrese:

deck, because I'm going to go process some more beats. Yeah,

Alden Burgess:

that makes sense. But that

Kathrese:

just just You just slide it in there. We don't need

Kathrese:

any more information than that. But that gives you the idea that

Kathrese:

you're on a ship. And they have hydroponics for some reason,

Kathrese:

some be probably in space. And if they skip the stupid cover

Kathrese:

with, with the actual description, hey, it's on this

Kathrese:

interstellar spaceship, and they haven't looked at the cover,

Kathrese:

which has, you know, a spaceship or whatever. If they don't have

Kathrese:

any of those context clues, if somebody's just reading an audio

Kathrese:

book, or listen to an audiobook, they get a get at least some

Kathrese:

clues. So that would be my my recommendation is just slide

Kathrese:

something in there. You know? Okay, because you don't have a

Kathrese:

lot of time in the hook. Yeah, yeah. Okay, and I can kind of

Kathrese:

see that it's coming up to the dinner hour. But anyway, um, and

Kathrese:that's why I guess it's:Kathrese:

Okay, so tone and mood that the hook sets a clear tone and mood,

Kathrese:

the word choices and phrasing, original engaging. readers feel

Kathrese:

confident that they'll enjoy the experience because of the

Kathrese:

author's tone and the emotions they feel at the beginning, make

Kathrese:

them look forward to getting on with the story. And I really

Kathrese:

feel that's true. Immediately, you feel the tension in the main

Kathrese:

character. The reader wants understand and sympathize with

Kathrese:

Palmer, because you can tell he hasn't had an easy life. But he

Kathrese:

still wants to get by and take care of his brother. So you

Kathrese:

know, he's relatable. So pony mood, I think you hit it. And

Kathrese:

you might think of it is a little bit different. He seems a

Kathrese:

little depressed. Not quite happy. And certain and

Kathrese:

standoffish. So you've, you've set that kind of emotional tone.

Kathrese:

And that's fine. That's what you want, right? Yeah. Yeah. So,

Kathrese:

okay, genre, there's a hint of which genre the book is in. If

Kathrese:

you're not looking at the cover, and you're not looking at the

Kathrese:

back, because you've obviously, like told them, but you might

Kathrese:

want to just make it perfectly clear, they are on a spaceship.

Kathrese:

And I think that that would be great. And I and I said, I

Kathrese:

really hope they're going to be vampires or something worse, but

Kathrese:

you've assured me there are going to be so if I started on

Kathrese:

the front page, and I got down to where they're talking about

Kathrese:

vampires, like, like Luke was talking about them, like he's

Kathrese:

seen them and fought them before. So I'm really hoping

Kathrese:

that it's true. And that, or at least he's seen film or video.

Kathrese:

You know, so Anyway, okay, so let's go back. And let's go

Kathrese:

through another section. I think this is really strong start. And

Kathrese:

that's the only thing I'm being in you on is, is because I want

Kathrese:

you to just make it clear, make it really clear. And that's a

Kathrese:

really easy fix. That it's really easy fix. Writing

Kathrese:

pursuits is run by Kathrese. McKee, who has been trusted by

Kathrese:fiction authors since:Kathrese:

level of excellence. Guthrie's is a three story methods

Kathrese:

certified editor who specializes in story diagnostics, coaching,

Kathrese:

and line editing to help you prepare your story for the

Kathrese:

journey ahead. For more information, go to writing

Kathrese:

pursuits.com. The link is in the show notes. And now back to the

Kathrese:

podcast. If you want, I can read the next section then you can

Kathrese:

read the last section. That works. Okay, we got through

Kathrese:

makes me laugh as if those things will come in handy. Okay,

Kathrese:

so what we're skipping here for our viewers is they kind of have

Kathrese:

this thing where they're going to have a dartboard but they're

Kathrese:

going to use knives on the final round, which is totally against

Kathrese:

the rule. Before they get to that point.

Kathrese:

They get interrupted because the boss walks up. Okay, and he says

Kathrese:

breaks over. But in the interim, you you learn that Palmer has a

Kathrese:

knife that he carries at all times, which is totally against

Kathrese:

the regs, but he's got it and he keeps it with him and always

Kathrese:

hidden, but he thinks about it because it would be perfect for

Kathrese:

throwing. Anyway. Brakes over says Lu his eyes narrow in on

Kathrese:

me. Palmer Your turn. My body turns to stump hope come on,

Kathrese:

man. I want to hide it's the worst job in the kitchen.

Kathrese:

Birthday duty. Before going back under the roadies. Get a slice

Kathrese:

of cake for the birthday they missed while asleep. It's the

Kathrese:

only sweet thing they get. They love it if their slice isn't big

Kathrese:

enough. And it never is. They explode at you. It takes every

Kathrese:

ounce of energy not to snap back. Can one of you go with me?

Kathrese:

I look around and no one will meet my eyes. I knew they

Kathrese:

weren't my friends. Quit your whining says Lou. I grab the

Kathrese:

cake cart and walk out. Hurry up says short dude with a buzzcut.

Kathrese:

I remind myself that they've been in hypersleep for the past

Kathrese:

year, and by this point in the week, you're cranky, but the

Kathrese:

tension in my body remains on the other side of the room is

Kathrese:

the kids table. Their gold coveralls are in sharp contrast

Kathrese:

to the roadies bright red. You're not supposed to but I

Kathrese:

grab a couple of the biggest slices and bring it over to

Kathrese:

them. Their kids. They need joy in their life. And for a brief

Kathrese:

moment life is normal. The roadies yell about it. But I

Kathrese:

block them out. Share I say they smile and nod. Thanks Palmer.

Kathrese:

Since a little girl as I walk over to dole out the rest. It's

Kathrese:

a sight to take in. No one misses cake day. The place is

Kathrese:

packed out with over 200 roadies, the bright lights and

Kathrese:

shouts combined with an antiseptic smell that protrudes

Kathrese:

from the roadies make me dizzy. I study myself on the cart, but

Kathrese:

it doesn't help. I want that one. No, wait, I want that one

Kathrese:

says a tall, pasty boy. You better give me a good piece as a

Kathrese:

blonde girl with her hair pulled back so tight. It makes her

Kathrese:

eyelids pop up and hey, I know you. I shut her tailored Jordan.

Kathrese:

I remember her She's awful. I thought I had left her in that

Kathrese:

place behind. My legs could move if my legs could move. I would

Kathrese:

run. You're that loser from school says Taylor. Everyone

Kathrese:

laughs and something in me clicks like a switch. Loser.

Kathrese:

I've had it. I'm tired of being pushed around. I'm tired of no

Kathrese:

respect. My muscles squeeze until I'm like a stone. I know I

Kathrese:

should let it go. But I don't want to island it all out. You

Kathrese:

want this piece I shout this one right here. I grabbed the

Kathrese:

biggest piece of cake on the plate and shove it into my

Kathrese:

mouth. It's sickly sweet and I don't like it. But I eat it all.

Kathrese:

Ah come on you big beard freak. I hear over the din of a crowd.

Kathrese:

Or is it this one? I smash it with my fists or this I pound

Kathrese:

another two steps of two sets of arms grabbed me from behind

Kathrese:

security. If they're light blue coveralls didn't give them way

Kathrese:

down events. My feet sweat a lot and I never changed my socks.

Kathrese:

foul smell would Ackerman his silent kite sidekick is with him

Kathrese:

to Palmer bridges. Why am I not surprised, says Donovan. He

Kathrese:

wipes frosting from my hands and sticks it into his big mouth. Do

Kathrese:

any of you have a birthday today? I squirm, but the gift

Kathrese:

squad tighten sir grips. Boos bounce off the metal floors and

Kathrese:

walls. Give it arrest says Donovan Ackerman leans into my

Kathrese:

ear. You're lucky we're here. His breath smells Oh, it smells

Kathrese:

like onions. They would have torn you apart. Taylor builds

Kathrese:

out. palm branches falling down, falling down, falling down.

Kathrese:

Everyone joins in palm prints are falling down. Big Fat loser.

Kathrese:

They slam their fists on to the table in their perfect shiny

Kathrese:

teeth glared me. I smile. Got them. That's enough, says Lou.

Kathrese:

The whole place comps Gomez here go divide the rest of the cake.

Kathrese:

Lou turns the roadies, there'll be something extra tomorrow. He

Kathrese:

turns to security. I'll take him from here. Let me make sure that

Kathrese:

I have sorry.

Kathrese:

Okay. I'll take him from here. Donovan and Ackerman released me

Kathrese:

and I walk back to the kitchen with Lou as we cross into the

Kathrese:

gap back into the galley. The last continue another rotation

Kathrese:

where I look like a loser again. At least there are only two days

Kathrese:

until they go back under. Maybe they'll forget about it by the

Kathrese:

time they wake up next year. What were you thinking since

Kathrese:

Lou? I want to say I wasn't that they started it that everything

Kathrese:

sucks. I don't want to do this anymore. That I'm a stupid cog

Kathrese:

in a stupid will that I have no say in my life and nothing

Kathrese:

matters because nothing is ever going to change. But I'm lonely

Kathrese:

and everything is hopeless. Instead I looked down, no. Loo

Kathrese:

leans over and puts a hand on my shoulder. We've all been dealt a

Kathrese:

crappy hand laddie. He tosses me a hand towel, clean yourself up

Kathrese:

and tackle those dishes. Wait. Luke takes out the coin that he

Kathrese:

always carries He's got this whole ritual. He clears his

Kathrese:

throat, shakes out his hands and carefully places the coin on his

Kathrese:

flipping thumb and gives me a nod. Like I have any say in

Kathrese:

what's about to happen. He never says what the options are. He

Kathrese:

flips tells you I can't decide if he's already made up his mind

Kathrese:

and the coin is out. Like you can't get mad at me it's the

Kathrese:

coin or the coin is his mastering. He must do whatever

Kathrese:

it says. Both are pathetic. He flips catches it and takes a

Kathrese:

look deep clean tonight. I not so much for keeping my head

Kathrese:

down. I wish I could go home but that doesn't exist. I wish I

Kathrese:

could get off the ship but there's nowhere to go. As he

Kathrese:

leaves he mumbles fates a cruel mistress. Great fate is against

Kathrese:

me as well. That means no hope that there is nothing new I gave

Kathrese:

up any hope long ago. Wow, okay. I'm sorry, man got a scratchy

Kathrese:

throat or something. So very entertaining, it keeps moving.

Kathrese:

That bit was Taylor I just want to anyway, she's all winter. So

Kathrese:

let's flip over to the rubric again and go on to the next

Kathrese:

section. So you stay in the point of view. The POV type

Kathrese:

intents are good choice for the audience reader enjoys the

Kathrese:

narrator's distinctive voice and is prepared to root for the

Kathrese:

character because they are shown to be relatable. Amen to that.

Kathrese:

It's good. There are a couple of places where you go shallow. And

Kathrese:

they kind of stick out to me on page five. Okay. You say I

Kathrese:

shudder Taylor Jordan, I remember her. That kind of goes

Kathrese:

without saying you just said her name. And then she's awful.

Kathrese:

That's fine. I thought I had left her in that place behind if

Kathrese:

my legs could move I would run. That's That's good. That's what

Kathrese:

I wanted to say. Everyone laughs and something in me clicks like

Kathrese:

a switch loser. Right here. I think you could get rid of this.

Kathrese:

You can leave it. It's in his voice. But I think you did lose,

Kathrese:

leave it out. And and he says loser my muscles squeezed until

Kathrese:

I'm like a stone. I should let it go. But I let it all out.

Kathrese:

Without saying I know. But I don't want to. If you could get

Kathrese:

rid of maybe those two phrases and leave the rest that would

Kathrese:

work. But I think it becomes more impactful. My muscles

Kathrese:

squeezing until I'm like a stone. I should let it go. But I

Kathrese:

let it all out. You want this piece? I shout. So it that's and

Kathrese:

I mean, don't take it don't take it hard because it's very, yeah,

Kathrese:

it is a little tighter in it gets that get rid gets rid of

Kathrese:

that shallow point of view. I love I love this part where he

Kathrese:

wipes the frosting from my hands and sticks it into his mouth.

Kathrese:

Okay, okay. Um, and I did want to speak to you about this, but

Kathrese:

we may come to that, we may come back to that. All right. So

Kathrese:

let's get back to the thing. There are a couple places where

Kathrese:

you go shallow. That's one of them. I remember I've had it

Kathrese:

blah, blah, blah. Okay. That's all I needed to say about that.

Kathrese:

I did put in a little note about laugh. If you search on laugh,

Kathrese:

you're going to find it several places. Okay, I would see how

Kathrese:

much I can get rid of that. And just use it when it makes the

Kathrese:

most impact. You know? So and it's something I would notice,

Kathrese:

because I'm an outsider come into it for the first time.

Kathrese:

Yeah, but you won't notice it because you've been in it for a

Kathrese:

while.

Kathrese:

That's the beauty of having somebody look at it. All right

Kathrese:

setting. I think that you became it became clear as the thing

Kathrese:

went on. For one thing, their insults and so forth, echoed

Kathrese:

off, they're banging their fists and echoes off the metal floor,

Kathrese:

the metal, everything. So you get a sense again, that they're

Kathrese:

on the spaceship. And by that time, it's pretty clear. The

Kathrese:

reader needs the context. Okay, I already said that. You have

Kathrese:

the law. The choice of the galley is where you really, you

Kathrese:

really hit a Homer, the choice of the opening setting is

Kathrese:

representative of the protagonist. I don't think you

Kathrese:

could have chosen a better place. It's the opening setting

Kathrese:

is perfect for your main character to show who Palmer is

Kathrese:

and his normal world which is the next section. I wish there

Kathrese:

was a way to communicate the stardate but the reader will

Kathrese:

come to their own conclusions. So no worries on that, um, you

Kathrese:

know, maybe going too hard science fiction instead of

Kathrese:

science fantasy, which I love that distinction. I like that. I

Kathrese:

think it's a good a good way to communicate what you're aiming

Kathrese:

at. Okay, the normal world characters normal world, and

Kathrese:

their place in it are communicated in a clear before

Kathrese:

snapshot, you know who he is, by the first half of the first

Kathrese:

chapter, you know where he fits in that ecosystem. You know,

Kathrese:

he's just a young guy who's chopping beets in the galley and

Kathrese:

trying to take care of his brother, and you sympathize and

Kathrese:

relate to his conflicts, wants and needs. So you made him stand

Kathrese:

for a standoffish and conflict and complicated and still

Kathrese:

relatable, that's really great. Then you persecute him. And one

Kathrese:

thing we're gonna skip is the prophecy but you fit in a

Kathrese:

prophecy and take away the spoiler alert, take away the

Kathrese:

only memento from his mother off to a great start. Shandra let's

Kathrese:

go on to the next section and read that we're on page 12 now,

Kathrese:

and we're gonna say, start with this and this is tinker. They're

Kathrese:

in their compartment, their little bitty apartment

Kathrese:

compartment where the brothers stay together. So this is Tinker

Kathrese:

speaking. You want to do this or you want me to do it. Yeah, I

Kathrese:

can do it. Okay, great.

Alden Burgess:

All right. I saw what you did. He says, You

Alden Burgess:

scared me. He's not angry, but disappointed. And that's worse

Alden Burgess:

than a punch in the gut. I'm sorry. Promise me you won't get

Alden Burgess:

like that again. I know. I wish it was that simple. Look at the

Alden Burgess:

time. I need to hurry. You. You ever mentioned the knife to

Alden Burgess:

Gomez? Tinker shakes his head? No. You know I'd never do that.

Alden Burgess:

I not but I'm not sure how to how to handle this. It's good to

Alden Burgess:

tinker. It's good. Tinker didn't say anything. But how did Gomez

Alden Burgess:

know about it? It's gotta be about the dark game. I grabbed

Alden Burgess:

my knife and look overall the handle look I've done a hundreds

Alden Burgess:

hundreds of times before. There's all these intricate

Alden Burgess:

carvings. It's like nothing I've ever seen. We have to keep it a

Alden Burgess:

secret because our ringer chimes and I shoved the knife into my

Alden Burgess:

pocket as the door slides open. Said price stands with a

Alden Burgess:

dissatisfied vice principal grin. He's a head shorter than

Alden Burgess:

me, which makes it easy to see the ball his bald spot through

Alden Burgess:

his short gray hair. He straightens his sleeves as

Alden Burgess:

jacadi wears over his light blue jumper. We're in a climate

Alden Burgess:

controlled ship. The only reason he wears a jacket is to make

Alden Burgess:

sure everybody notices the three stripes on the left arm that

Alden Burgess:

scream Look at me. I'm the big boss over insecurity. I'm not

Alden Burgess:

impressed. Mr. Bridges says price. You're not an easy man to

Alden Burgess:

track down. I suppress a laugh. I'm in my room. yours and your

Alden Burgess:

brother glances at Tinker. You're supposed to be at work. I

Alden Burgess:

shrug? I needed to change a smirks your clothes are the only

Alden Burgess:

thing that needs to change Uranus. You need a serious

Alden Burgess:

attitude adjustment The captain will see to it. The captain bite

Alden Burgess:

my tongue. I have been in trouble before, but I've never

Alden Burgess:

had to see the captain. No more demerits for use as price. We

Alden Burgess:

need a whole new system. I snore Gomez's rate, I put my hands in

Alden Burgess:

my pocket and touch the nice hill. It's someone coming for

Alden Burgess:

me. No, it can't be the only one counting for me. It's price.

Alden Burgess:

He's had it out for me ever since the day we met. You never

Alden Burgess:

believe tinker and me when we told him we didn't know how we

Alden Burgess:

got a board on board. It's not his fault. We're here and either

Alden Burgess:

is losing my cool. The roadies egged me on. He clears his

Alden Burgess:

throat passengers. Brody's passengers, Same difference.

Alden Burgess:

Everybody calls them that because 200 of them rotate out

Alden Burgess:

of hypersleep for a week before going back under yet nothing

Alden Burgess:

changes for the crew. We're stuck in the summer camp from

Alden Burgess:

hell fine. I cross my arms the passengers egged me on take it

Alden Burgess:

up with the captain first thing in the morning. What's that in

Alden Burgess:

your pocket? Why is pop and I slammed my hands in my pocket.

Alden Burgess:

Nothing. I've got to go to back to work. And it over says price

Alden Burgess:

here feels heavy. Like a like a bull. I suck in and shoot air

Alden Burgess:

back with force. I'm ready to charge. Hand it over. No one

Alden Burgess:

takes my knife for me. I grip the handle and squeeze it until

Alden Burgess:

my knuckles are white. Palmer says, tinker and look over to

Alden Burgess:

tinker his eyes, please, my shoulders relax. A good price

Alden Burgess:

and the knife by the handle. You know, you can't have this kind

Alden Burgess:

of contraband on the ship. It looks at that knife and shakes

Alden Burgess:

his head. What does this blade to you? He would never

Alden Burgess:

understand. I'm mad at her. But that doesn't mean I want to lose

Alden Burgess:

the only link I have left. I swallow my thoughts and shrug.

Alden Burgess:

You can get it when we land process. Until then, you'll be

Alden Burgess:

locked away in my desk, he walks out will be an old man, my 30s

Alden Burgess:

Male after life is hopeless. all I had for my mom was that stupid

Alden Burgess:

knife and now it's gone. It's like everything that brings me

Alden Burgess:

joy gets taken away. Or leaves.

Kathrese:

Awesome. Okay, so I think that's a good cliffhanger.

Kathrese:

We want to know if he gets the knife back. It was in the

Kathrese:

prophecy that we skipped over. And you know, I didn't want to

Kathrese:

do all spoilers. But anyway, he's, there's a prophecy and it

Kathrese:

mentions the knife. And now all of a sudden, it's gone. So you

Kathrese:

did a good job of showing the knife in the drawer, or I guess

Kathrese:

in his pocket. Before all this before this scene, or this part

Kathrese:

of the scene happens. So good. It wasn't a surprise thing that

Kathrese:

came up. And we got a glimpse of it. It sounds fascinating with

Kathrese:

the relics. I mean, the stuff, you know, the carvings on it. So

Kathrese:

I think all of that is very strong. And I love your

Kathrese:

characterization of Sid price. wearing the jacket even on a

Kathrese:

climate controlled ship, because he just wants to show off is

Kathrese:

like that's or status, whatever it is. Very well done. Look at

Kathrese:

me. I'm the big boss ever insecurity. I'm not impressed.

Kathrese:

Everybody has those feelings. Everybody understands that

Kathrese:

particular like, you know, roll your eyes. Kennedy this guy.

Kathrese:

Yeah, this guy. We've all met that guy, right. So the genre is

Kathrese:

and I didn't highlight a section I should have. I, I love this

Kathrese:

chapter. And so I would put it right on the line. Good and

Kathrese:

excellent. I've never read a book quite like it so good. You

Kathrese:

know, you've done something really great. But at the same

Kathrese:

time, You've honored the tropes. The ones that I spotted, are

Kathrese:

Lou, the mentor who knows too much about vampires to make

Kathrese:

anyone comfortable. And so nobody believes him. But at the

Kathrese:

same time. It's, you know, it makes Palmer's hair stand on in

Kathrese:

go mass a surprise mistake who's unaware of his powers? So that

Kathrese:

was good. Taylor Jordan. You know, I wrote this I kind of

Kathrese:

think she dies. But maybe she will be one of the core team

Kathrese:

members. Who knows, you know, the reluctant ally? I don't

Kathrese:

know. But it brings up another question. So what's going to

Kathrese:

happen to her because obviously highlighted her in her main girl

Kathrese:

spirit. And then you have Tinker the vulnerable younger brother.

Kathrese:

And I know that's not actually a trope, but it's a really good

Kathrese:

tool in your tool belt, and it gives you a lever to work on

Kathrese:

your main character with so great. And then the roadies,

Kathrese:

which I mean, they seem like zombies to me. There's a little

Kathrese:

bit of an undead air about them that do have some things in

Kathrese:

common. So I'm just kind of hoping that they you know,

Kathrese:

somebody turns but anyway. The captain, why do I think he won't

Kathrese:

make it? Anyway, the head of security? Yeah, those are just

Kathrese:

figures that you expect to see on a spaceship. So you've

Kathrese:

honored that the ship headed away from a dying planet, very

Kathrese:

dystopian. Their destination, and I love the way you fit that

Kathrese:

in Planet jackass. And I mean, New Earth, whatever it is. So we

Kathrese:

expect them to have a dream planet waiting for them. That's

Kathrese:

kind of a trope, that they're headed towards paradise or their

Kathrese:

new home. They hope it's going to be perfect. You know, we have

Kathrese:

Palmer the underdog hero in her safe interstellar spaceship A

Kathrese:

must you know for what you're doing here. And then the knife

Kathrese:

and unexpectedly called gift from Palmer's mother? Is it a

Kathrese:

magical relic redefined out? I don't know if that's the relic

Kathrese:

you had in mind. But it is very interesting and obviously put it

Kathrese:

kind of at the center of the conflict. So were there other

Kathrese:

tropes that you are trying for or that I didn't catch?

Alden Burgess:

That's a good question.

Kathrese:

And it's okay. If you mentioned something that comes

Kathrese:

up later.

Alden Burgess:

Yeah, I'm trying to trying to think if there's

Kathrese:

what you know, you have mentioned some, actually,

Kathrese:

you mentioned commonly held beliefs about vampires.

Alden Burgess:

Yes, they do. Like there's, like a, it's, it's

Alden Burgess:

hard for me to keep it straight. What's in the first chapter

Alden Burgess:

verses? Right. Right. Right. This is the rest.

Kathrese:

You've brought them up first thing, and I didn't even

Kathrese:

mention it, you know?

Alden Burgess:

Yeah. And so then we'll, and I play with those

Alden Burgess:

tropes later on. When we meet people like Phil, tell you what

Alden Burgess:

is a myth and what is not awesome, which is fun.

Kathrese:

And that'll that'll keep it yeah, very entertaining.

Kathrese:

Well, and you've shown the vampires in the drawer too, you

Kathrese:

know, you brought them first thing, you know, and and then

Kathrese:

you kind of like, Ah, ha, they're not real, you know. But

Kathrese:

then he mentioned on the back cover. Yeah, yeah. And if you

Kathrese:

pay attention to the back cover, yeah. You know, they're covered.

Kathrese:

But anyway, that's, that's where I think he did a good job of

Kathrese:

honoring the conventions and expectations. I am thrilled by

Kathrese:

the promise of great things to come. So that's right on. Cool.

Kathrese:

Okay, so the stakes death is on the line. And this is what I

Kathrese:

tell all of my writers is that there's several kinds of death.

Kathrese:

There's emotional death, spiritual death, social death,

Kathrese:

political death, and physical death. And I think there's three

Kathrese:

that are distinct possibility, obviously, the social death.

Kathrese:

He's already in the bottom run. So you know, what's, what's

Kathrese:

there? Well, I'm, you know, there may still be room for him

Kathrese:

to fall farther. Palmer already feels like an outcast. And then

Kathrese:

Taylor leads a chat about his loser status. Wow, great.

Kathrese:

Emotional, they have to be on the line, if something happens

Kathrese:

to tinker. And already he's he's ailing. In a way he's kind of

Kathrese:

sick, because I don't know what happened. And then Is she alive

Kathrese:

or dead. And something has gone on with his mom, that has deeply

Kathrese:

wounded him. So there, he's got a wound he's carrying around.

Kathrese:

And then physical death seems like they think possibility to I

Kathrese:

mean, they're on a spaceship headed to a planet that is yours

Kathrese:

from Earth. You know, what could possibly go wrong there. So

Kathrese:

you've set the stakes pretty high, and then when his knife

Kathrese:

gets taken away there, at the very end, you've raised the

Kathrese:

stakes at the very end of the chapter. So I think that's very,

Kathrese:

very well done. Okay, then conflict, the shadow things to

Kathrese:

come. So that's all you have to do is kind of hint, or give us a

Kathrese:

clue that there's more conflict that's going to come down the

Kathrese:

pike, the protagonist must make a choice. And whatever choice

Kathrese:

they make has associated risks and consequences. He chooses to

Kathrese:

give the knife away, because he's trying to stay in his

Kathrese:

brother's good graces. You know, they just had this discussion,

Kathrese:

and then Tinker is the one is the reason he gives up the

Kathrese:

knife. So that's going to have some consequences down the line.

Kathrese:

So I see almost every kind of face of conflict there is

Kathrese:

already kind of happening here. Palmer kind of hates himself,

Kathrese:

and has trouble controlling his anger issue. So he's got an

Kathrese:

inner struggle going on there. Character versus self. Character

Kathrese:

versus character, paler. Oh, my gosh. And also maybe the said,

Kathrese:

Whatever his face is the security guy. There's also some

Kathrese:

conflict there already. He from the moment they met. It's been

Kathrese:

bad. Probably because he assumes that there's so ways, which is a

Kathrese:

great touch, by the way. They don't know how they got there.

Kathrese:

And he suspects that they were, you know, they're there. They've

Kathrese:

they've lied to him. Yeah, yeah. Character versus society, the

Kathrese:

poor versus the rich. We did skip over that section. I think

Kathrese:

you did a good job of him reflecting on what he knows what

Kathrese:

he thinks he knows about how things are working out.

Kathrese:

Character versus nature, spaces of vacuum, what could go wrong?

Kathrese:

Just saying character versus technology could be character

Kathrese:

versus supernatural. I think that's there's a promise there.

Kathrese:

Possibly because I think I believe the knife has some kind

Kathrese:

of magical power. That's, you know, as a first time reader,

Kathrese:

that's what I'm thinking And then character versus state,

Kathrese:

there's a prophecy. So of course, he's gonna have you

Kathrese:

know, the struggle against his fate, right? Yeah, yeah. So

Kathrese:

you've kind of hit all of the hit all of this. And usually you

Kathrese:

don't even have to hit more than maybe two. It's almost always

Kathrese:

character versus self, you get the inner inner struggle, but

Kathrese:

then you've got one or maybe two of the others, but you've

Kathrese:

managed to immerse yourself in an environment where the

Kathrese:

possibilities are pretty endless. For conflict. So

Alden Burgess:

good deal, okay.

Kathrese:

Choice, it comes down to the conflict in the first

Kathrese:

chapter forces protagonist to make a difficult choice. And he

Kathrese:

didn't, you don't feel like he has a choice. But he could have

Kathrese:

chosen to just refuse to give up the knife and have a struggle, a

Kathrese:

physical struggle with the security guard, and who knows

Kathrese:

what could have gone wrong. But he made a difficult choice, and

Kathrese:

he gave up the knife. So I think that that's a pretty good thing

Kathrese:

he did have, the consequences are not not necessarily very

Kathrese:

obvious what's going to happen, but then it's at the end of the

Kathrese:

chapter. And that makes it a good jumping off place, you've

Kathrese:

already shown some consequences. And that's kind of the next

Kathrese:

thing is conflict always demands choice. And choice leads to

Kathrese:

consequences. That's kind of the rule. So I'm gonna put it right

Kathrese:

here, because, you know, it could be higher. You know, you

Kathrese:

haven't put him on Mars with being stabbed through the site

Kathrese:

spaceship with an antenna. So but you've done really well. So

Kathrese:

he did have some, some consequences already. And that's

Kathrese:

the next thing is he had some consequences, where he had to go

Kathrese:

on. I don't think the birthday cake was meant to be a

Kathrese:

punishment, it was just his turn. But then he had to go on

Kathrese:

deep clean. So that was a consequence of what he did to

Kathrese:

the cake. Yeah, yeah. I love the idea of the characterization of

Kathrese:

blue where he flips the coin. Like it's the coins decision.

Kathrese:

Explanation there, it made me laugh, but no major consequences

Kathrese:

have happened yet except the loss of the knife. But we can be

Kathrese:

sure that more consequences are on the way and there's going to

Kathrese:

be a ripple effect. So So when I'm looking at the first

Kathrese:

chapter, it's a strong first chapter, there's just you know,

Kathrese:

a couple of things just a couple that you need to tweak and then

Kathrese:

it does need to go through a copy edit or somebody's looking

Kathrese:

at your commas you know, where you start and stop sentences but

Kathrese:

but really, I think part of him is his run on sentences. That's

Kathrese:

the way he thinks so some of that needs to stay and hope

Kathrese:

hopefully you know, an editor an agent can see that that's that's

Kathrese:

part of his voice. So the first chapter ends with compelling an

Kathrese:

answer questions check the stakes get raised check and

Kathrese:

something unexpected happens he loses the knife check that late

Kathrese:

that raises more questions. So Palmer is going to meet the

Kathrese:

captain the next day what will happen? Will it get the knife

Kathrese:

back? Good Ending? So well done? Um, do you have any questions

Kathrese:

about this or about anything else that you you have questions

Kathrese:

about your first chapter?

Alden Burgess:

Yeah, I've good I've gone back and forth on

Alden Burgess:

like, I what I I've been writing like almost like I've split up

Alden Burgess:

the writing scenes is how I generally write it. And

Alden Burgess:

originally I had you know, I've kind of gone back and forth we

Alden Burgess:

do i do like shorter chapters. We're like that first chapter

Alden Burgess:

would almost be from the start to where Lou syndrome tells them

Alden Burgess:

to where you finished reading where he would face a cruel

Alden Burgess:

mistress, but I gave up hope long ago like that. That would

Alden Burgess:

be like kind of like one chapter that will be kind of shorter.

Kathrese:

I wondered about those breaks. I was wondering if

Kathrese:

you're doing seeing breaks, I thought that will seem break.

Kathrese:

It's unnecessary. It is a long chapter. I think I didn't really

Kathrese:notice it. It's, it says it's:Kathrese:go to shorter chapters around:Kathrese:

but honestly, I didn't see

Kathrese:

let's see where that where that puts us. I'm just gonna do a

Kathrese:

quick rundown here today.

Alden Burgess:

cuz I've kind of gone back and forth. There's

Alden Burgess:

this is my theory on this, this is kind of like, people were

Alden Burgess:

like, I don't have time to watch a movie on Netflix that then you

Alden Burgess:

end up watching like a show like over and over again because you

Alden Burgess:

like can consume little bits. And I feel like sometimes people

Alden Burgess:

will like, they may not read the whole chapter. But if a chapter

Alden Burgess:

is shorter, they'll continue to read and they'll get what I want

Alden Burgess:

is like people to get hooked to keep on reading.

Kathrese:

Let's try my right now. I agree with you. Um, maybe

Kathrese:

a good place to stop if you wanted to cut the scene or chop

Kathrese:of that:Kathrese:

with Gomez. And he gets a faceful of cake. And then

Kathrese:

Gomez's eyes glow white and his body hangs like a puppet at

Kathrese:

rest. His head flops up and he grabs me by the shoulders.

Kathrese:

Beware. He says in a raspy voice. You know, like I've never

Kathrese:

heard they're coming. They're coming for you. He squeezes and

Kathrese:

gets an inch away from my face. Your knife will save your life.

Kathrese:

You could cut it right there. Okay. Yeah. I mean, that's a

Kathrese:

good cliffhanger. Because what on earth and then come right

Kathrese:

into the next chapter. Make sure that he looks at Gomez. But he

Kathrese:

stares at Gomez and then Gomez. You know, what did he say? And,

Kathrese:

and you'll have to, again set the scene. Yeah, I mean, just

Kathrese:

because people do put down books. I don't think they're

Kathrese:

gonna, that's a great cliffhanger. But you need to do

Kathrese:

it anyway. Because somebody might have promised to put it

Kathrese:

down. You need to remind them where they are. But have him

Kathrese:

maybe refresh my knife will save my life. You know, and he's

Kathrese:

looking at Gomez, we're still in the kitchen. And then. And then

Kathrese:

GM is like, Hey, you want that last piece of frosting?

Alden Burgess:

Yeah.

Kathrese:

It's cracked me up. And then he says, you sound like

Kathrese:

Lou. And he says, I'm out of here, you know, and you go on

Kathrese:

from there. through to the end of where you ended, that will

Kathrese:

work too. It's really gonna be kind of up to you. I think it's

Kathrese:

a very strong first chapter as it is. But if you wanted to end

Kathrese:

it sooner than that would be where I would say, maybe you

Kathrese:

could end it because that's a great cliffhanger. Nobody's

Kathrese:

gonna put it down. Not willingly. Not willingly. So

Kathrese:

yeah, like I said, I think you it's definitely in need of an

Kathrese:

edit, I can tell you right in the middle of you know, getting

Kathrese:

it getting it done. And so that's fine. I am going to send

Kathrese:

you my notes. I'm going to send you the rubric. I'm going to

Kathrese:

send you one with the track changes on and it's not an edit

Kathrese:

it's just some side notes here and they're the thoughts I had

Kathrese:

as I was running through it, you know, in preparation for our

Kathrese:

cup. Thank you so much for being here with me today. Is there

Kathrese:

someplace people can find you on social media or do you have a

Kathrese:

website they can look at or anything like that yet?

Alden Burgess:

No, yeah, I need to get that's one of the things

Alden Burgess:

I like it's on my to do list is I was gonna start a Twitter

Alden Burgess:

account. And I mean, I'm on Instagram, but I'm not very

Alden Burgess:

active. But that that's, that's like, my next one of my next

Alden Burgess:

steps is

Kathrese:

like Yeah, yeah. One of those things you can really

Kathrese:

like, go on and get started. I was gonna say that you if you

Kathrese:

decide to go the indie route, and I know you're planning on

Kathrese:

doing the whole query thing, but if you decide to go the indie

Kathrese:

route, you have a great idea. You have a great way to have a

Kathrese:

reader magnet, which would be how what happens at Home show

Kathrese:

them at home. The lousy conditions, Mom's gone. Also

Kathrese:

left me with this crummy knife. And, and man who's crusty, old

Kathrese:

lady, and then somehow know that they know this whole thing is

Kathrese:

going on with the celebration. People are leaving Earth on Elon

Kathrese:

Musk's starships that's a joke, Elon. Anyway, I'm watching. So,

Kathrese:

they're already planning ahead. They're already complete. So,

Kathrese:

um, and then they wake up on the ship. Cut. Somebody says How did

Kathrese:

you get here? They have no idea, you know. And that would be your

Kathrese:

your reader magnet. It's been, it's almost already written for

Kathrese:

you. Because you know what needs to happen in that pre cool kind

Kathrese:

of, and it can be like, it could be almost this long, or maybe

Kathrese:

7000 words or something, but it wouldn't have to be much longer

Kathrese:

than this. You know, you're just setting up the the normal world

Kathrese:

just showing them before before they became

Alden Burgess:

ship dwellers. Yeah.

Kathrese:

So, yeah, great. Any other questions?

Alden Burgess:

I'll think about it like, well, I'll get off with

Alden Burgess:

you. And then like five minutes.

Kathrese:

Just send me a note. That's fine. That's fine. And I

Kathrese:

will send you this stuff. And I just want to thank you so much

Kathrese:

for being my guest. And I look forward to reading this book

Kathrese:

when it comes out however long it takes, because it's gonna be

Kathrese:

it's gonna be fun. It's gonna be fun. All right. Well, I will

Kathrese:

talk to you later then. Thanks.

Alden Burgess:

Alright, thank you. Bye. Bye. Bye.

Kathrese:

Thank you for joining us today. If you enjoyed this

Kathrese:

episode, please leave a comment and follow the podcast. If

Kathrese:

you're new around here. I hope you will sign up for the weekly

Kathrese:

newsletter writing pursuits. Tips for authors that link and

Kathrese:

all the links mentioned in today's episode are in the show

Kathrese:

notes at writing pursuits.com. Please join us on Wednesdays for

Kathrese:

new episodes and keep writing my friends. Keep writing

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