Sunday, 8 January 2012

New Spring Chapters 2-3

Virtually all of the new material in New Spring the Novel focused on Moiraine and how she began her search for the Dragon Reborn.
One problem with prequels is that they don’t have the payoff that the main sequence story does. Readers already know how the characters will fare, and it is mostly details being filled in, often with “easter eggs” for the obsessive fans.
Another problem is that whatever tension or mystique you’ve built up around the characters in the main sequence is lost. In the Eye of the World, Moiraine and Lan are mysterious, and part of the story turns on whether the heroes can trust them completely.
In New Spring, Moiraine has little mystique.  Neither does Lan.  Moiraine’s whole plan for the Dragon Reborn is laid out early, the story then follows her through the steps of setting off on that quest.
Moiraine comes across as a very sympathetic character in this story, and I think it is in large part to relying on the universal experience of wanting to accomplish more than you’re being allowed to. It’s a pretty standard teenage complaint, or of anyone working a menial job. And the fact that the Accepted act a lot like my old college dorm reinforces it. Moiraine is at an age where people are asserting themselves as adults and full members of society. The old ‘coming-of-age’ story.  
What works less well is a big bit of info-dumping so that we can understand by chapter’s end what just happened to Gitara with this Foretelling. Without the benefit of having read the main series, it’s a bit much to wrap one’s head around. I suppose it’s part of starting the story as late as possible, with Rand’s birth, but it feels forced.
Were Tamra and Gitara waiting for something to happen that Dawn? It sure seems like they were…
The most surprising concern I had about the early chapters of New Spring is whether they affect expectations of the series of a whole. Obviously, the story is still about Rand, but with all this attention on Moiraine and Lan, is it now more their story? Rand dies, right? Are Moiraine and Lan the bookend characters? They start and finish a quest to save the world and Rand dies, and they high five and say well done and the last book ends with the characters that it started with? I always figured the last character POV would be Rand’s because it was his quest, but now I am not so sure.
Writing lessons:
A universal experience like ‘wanting to grow up faster’ will create powerful connections with your readers.

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