On When It's Time For Expositioning Yourself
Saturnius Mons Author's Commentary Track #3:
Chapter 3 is not and never has been my favorite. It holds the dubious honor of being trapped in the time between the pages where I'm introducing the characters and when I'm sending them off into the wilds to... I dunno, get eaten by a bear maybe.
Anybody that has written a story, or has tried to write a story, or has even thought about writing a story for any length of time has probably heard the old writing maxim, 'Start as far into the story as possible.'
Like most little bits of easily remembered writing advice it has all the hallmarks of deep wisdom while being absolutely fucking useless as far as practical application goes. It's like trying to surgically remove cancer using the saying, "Just cut out the bits that don't belong!"
If you're a highly trained surgeon, you could probably make do with that.
But if you have no idea what the motherfuck you are doing, then your just as likely to remove that big red pulsating thing in the middle because it totally looks like cancer. I mean, seriously, it's like something out of Alien. Get it the shit out of there!
As it goes with writing. On one hand, if you start to late, your main character is already hanging off the side of a building and the aliens are attacking and the dog died and WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!
*RAGE THROW THE BOOK AT THE WALL!*
On the other hand, in starting too early, you run the very obvious risk of boring the shit out of the few readers that you've managed to accidentally trick in to reading the book. Then you don't even get the honor of a rage throw.
I LONG FOR A RAGE THROW!
So in my attempt to find that happy middle ground where my work is neither discarded out of ennui or used to damage drywall, I always seem to find myself at the uncomfortable point where the characters need to define the conflict into which they will be heading and, for some reason, that point was really hard to get right. This, the version you are reading, is probably the fifth or sixth attempt. Maybe more. Chapter 3 got full-on deleted a lot during the extended editing process.
Anyway, I hope you like it. And I hope that anybody that actually reads this finds themselves rather surprised that this chapter caused this much difficulty.
I also hope that someday, way in the future, when I have a whole bookshelf full of content with my name on the spine, I can look back at this chapter and think, "Oh man! What was wrong with me? The answer is so simple! They should have fought the bear now! And the bear should have been riding a unicycle. With a top hat. And a machine gun. Machine Gun Bear! Oooo. That's the title of my new Best Seller."