This first chapter looks nothing like the original. I’ve rewritten it three times… and when I say rewritten I mean that I completely deleted it and started over. I’ve still got the second version here somewhere, if enough people want me to then I can put it up somewhere so that you can see how truly horrible it is. I don’t understand that kind of curiosity. When authors do that I have no interest in reading it. If it wasn’t good enough for the final version then I have no need to see it. It’s like all those deleted scenes on the DVD extras — they’re gone for a reason.
Anyway, this chapter is much better than both the original and the prologue. I think if you’ve read the last few sections that I posted you’ll notice a drastic improvement in the writing — though it still has many flaws — I feel like it flows better and sounds a lot less like I wrote it when I was eighteen… because I didn’t. Actually, this chapter and the one that comes after it are the last two things that I wrote for this book.
I tried with these opening chapters to give the characters a sense of being into something that is way beyond their ability to understand. It’s supposed to be creepy and intense and also make you wonder what is going on.
There will be answers later — I think.
This was the reason I had to rewrite this chapter so many times. The first time I wrote it I went back and read it and was bored out of my mind. I deleted it and started over. The same thing happened a few years ago when I read it again and realized what my problem was. When I started out I had never written a novel. I thought that in order to make my story long enough I needed to give more detail and description of clothing and faces and colors and smells and introspective navel-gazing (can you guess who I had been reading at the time?). This is actually a pretty common problem for new writers. Algis Budrys — one of the greatest writers of English who was actually born and raised in Algeria — said that your first half million words are all garbage. I think this is true to varying degrees in everybody — some people seem to be able to pull off genius the first time, others take much longer.
Once I figured out my problem I started fresh and told the story the way it needed to be told. What was previously three twenty-five page chapters is now one twenty page chapter and one ten page chapter. Let me know what you think.
In case anybody is curious, the original draft of this book was over 200,000 words long. Now it is just over 150,000 words. That’s about 150 paperback pages that were removed.