I’m out of town on a work-related thing and I brought this little notebook with me to take notes. It was in the bag that once functioned as both purse and diaper bag; I haven’t seen this notebook since 2009. So, it was a pleasure to find notes in it from when I just started January Black. Because the story idea evolved, there’s no spoilers, so I thought I’d share.
I’ve mentioned before that JB started with a still frame of a boy looking at the stars.
First Chapter ==> Teenage boy stands in an overgrown garden. Storm is coming in. He needs to make a decision.
==> Is he hacking away at the overgrowth, to the confusion/horror of his servants?
The question here…what does the “Heysu” story have to do with the garden and the need to rip it out?
- The Heysu story is about a man who chooses “right.” It is not in his best interest, but it benefits mankind.
- The garden is a metaphor for the Regency. His action is his desire to rip it out.
This opening scene is the climax of the story. The rest will explain the scene and what he’s doing.
The man to tells him the Heysu Story is Eric Redstar, the former king, the night before he left Kelmarin.
Maybe intersperse this with scenes of Redstar having to make a decision elsewhere?
I have to keep things simple. This story is about the immediate consequences of a decision for a 12 year old boy. There are far reaching ones for the people around him.
So, what was retained in the final draft of January Black?
There’s a boy in a garden. There’s a story that influences him to rip that garden apart. And the name Red Star appears in the second chapter.
Sometimes notes are building blocks. Sometimes they’re tools. The trick is figuring out which is which.