Chapter 3 of Wonderbook is all about beginnings and ends. The Writing Challenge is to write possible beginnings to a novel called, “Krakens Attack at Dawn.”
This chapter caused me to look carefully at the beginning of Grayson of the Commonwealth. I still believe it’s a solid and appropriate beginning, which is encouraging. While I was analyzing the first chapter, I realized who/what the real Antagonist of the novel is. It was a bit surprising, but will certainly strengthen the overall feel of the story. Analyzing my ending led me to scribble out a paragraph that needs to be added in somewhere along the line so that the significance of the ending is stronger.
I think I did this well – starting Grayson of the Commonwealth and then studying Wonderbook. Now I have an outline (a 50,000 word outline) of my story and as I learn what makes up a good story, I can add and change things as needed. For now I’m just writing it all down in a notebook, but once I finish Wonderbook I can use what I’ve learned to finish Grayson.
In the meantime, I’m keeping the creative juices flowing!
1. Vondur grips the wooden railing and gazes out over the icy sea. The ancient wood feels rough and weather worn beneath his calloused hands. As the ship rises and falls with the waves, a sliver of that ancient wood enters his hand. Vondur hardly notices. After years at sea and years living with the kind of men who frequent the sea, he is well used to pain. But now, after months of plotting and planning, now it’s his turn – not to receive the pain, but to inflict it. “The kraken is coming,” Vondur speaks into the wind. All that answers him is his own satisfied laughter, a maniacal cackle that is carried away by the frosty breeze only to be delivered back to the men of the ship, men who have no idea what kind of storm is coming.
2. With an ear-splitting crack a giant, destructive something slams into the side of the ship. Before any of the men on deck can react, the destructive thing reels back and delivers again. Someone screams. “It’s the kraken!”
Deep within the bowels of the ship sits a man – Vondur. The last-word shouts of the seventy men charged to sail this old ship fill the air but Vondur is only concerned with one. Vondur leans back against a barrel full of cod and closes his eyes, imagining the scene that must be unfolding above. In his mind’s eyes Vondur can see clearly Vikari’s massive frame, arms raised in a vain attempt to shield himself from the kraken’s deathly blows. My only regret, Vondur thinks, is that Vikari will die not knowing that it was I who ordered the kraken to kill, that it was I who won in the end. And then the memories come.
3. Vondur stands pressed up against the wall outside of Vikari’s office. The rise and fall of the Norwegian sea coupled with the howling wind make it difficult for Vondur to hear the strained conversation taking place inside, but he is determined.
“They won’t come after you now that you’re in my care,” Vikari assures the stranger.
“How can you be so sure? These men are not like others.” The stranger makes no attempt to hide his fear. Vondur knows that Vikari must see this as a weakness, but if he does, it is not evident in his voice as he responds.
“So you say. But what I still don’t understand, Dingur, is why they are after you when you claim innocence.” Dingur. Vondur searches centuries of life at sea to place the name but comes up empty. He has never heard the name before.
“What I claim is true!” Dingur cries. “I am innocent!”
But if that’s true, Vondur thinks, if this man truly is innocent, then I have condemned a guiltless man to death. And a frightful and sure death it will be. The kraken is already on its way. The kraken attacks at dawn.
Which one would make you want to keep reading?