A series has different requirements than writing a book that stands on its own: A series has continuity, can in essence, be regarded as one, very large book, broken into sequences, each with their own antagonists, protagonists, questions and resolutions. This is not the same as a serial, where, as a TV, we see stages on the road to climax and resolution. A series then, is a chained sequence of books each offering its own a story universe that feels complete, not fragmented, while being related to a continually developing back plot.
I make these distinctions, since a book in a series can also be partially resolved — not all elements in the story require resolution, since the series as a whole has continuity and connections adding layers to back plot, mystery and answers to questions raised along the road of reading the books. Now concerning this, my first book in a series, it is time to take a stand back and appraise the whole.
Fear Of Broken Glass is not an ‘element’ in the ‘elements series’
Getting this far, it is the understanding of the journey of writing that is important when we assess ourselves what we have done – and – how we can do it better. The product – the book – is in many ways the result of the journey of writing it and the process of growth along the way. It raises many questions and only answers some.
The Prologue was written to be disconnected from greater external events and this will be the book’s strength as well as its weakness. Love it, hate it, or be completely indifferent. It is my first book and it is this author’s intention that the reader plays the role of observer. I will not, therefore, be serving the usual points of plot in any detail – other than what the characters themselves can know, think, or feel. This has been my intention from the start.
So what’s so different then? Maybe not such a great deal: Perhaps a subtlety of focus and the feeling of identification from a distance. The Writer’s Holy Grail is the emotional connection with a main character. Some will argue, this is the only way to have a reader engage in the story. I want to challenge that view of writing in Fire. Not only do I challenge it, I also hold the premise that if the story itself is intriguing enough and the momentum of events can create a snowball effect, then the traditions and holy grails of writing can be bent to the artistic will of the writer. I want to write a book that is significantly different from the rest, while still offering something that is good reading entertainment.
Jigsaw puzzle Metaphors
In the Prologue, the reader has to enter a wide stage in the middle of the play, and try to piece it together, just like pieces in a puzzle. And they do this while experiencing what the characters experience, not with the comfort of distance, or the comfort of knowing, but forced to experience the same as the characters experience, even at the cost of character identification. I have conceived of The Prologue as the initial puzzle, the first picture of a fragmented iceberg where most of it lies beneath the surface. So the first story is both fragmented, but also created by drawing by dots — perhaps more black and white than color, but a picture never the less, one created by the reader.
The first part of putting this intention into effect, is to serve ‘elements of mystery’ — starting with a crime. Each element of mystery is a piece of the puzzle, though each piece is still being identified by the reader who is, at the same time, adding an idea of picture to that piece. The first piece in the puzzle is a figure, hanging from a tree: Enter stage left, The Hangman of The Gallows, Alföðr. All father. Algingautr, the aging Goth and Hangatýr, the god of the hanged.