Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Outline is Done. Now, if I Can Only Decode It

The Doleful Creatures outline is done. Now I've got to get to the real work.

Chapter One: Jarrod is vague about his past and says he talks to the Man in the Rock who takes some of the pain away. Hints of some past tragedy. Characters: Jarrod, a magpie; Rebekah, his lady love; The Man in the Rock, a rock formation Jarrod talks to; The Lady, a mysterious enemy, it appears; Aloysius, a badger; He Who Notes the Sparrow’s Fall, a benevolent counterpart to The Lady. Narrator: Jarrod.

Chapter Two: Starlings, servant of The Lady, reveal they are on their way to surveille the area where Jarrod lives. There is a cave there that holds something The Lady fears and imprisoned there, guarded by “a man.” Marmots know about the cave. Characters: Starlings, one discontent with service to The Lady. They discuss the “Sparrow-Minder.” Narrator: A starling.

Chapter Three: More about Jarrod and Rebekah, their relationship and courtship, the lay of the land where the story takes place. Hints of past activity with the beavers, likely linked to a disaster. Characters: Jarrod, Rebekah, hints of knowing the hawks. Narrator: Jarrod.

Chapter Four: The Marmots find the cave. Why? (See notes in markup). And why does Father Marmot hate/mistrust Jarrod so much? (See add’l notes in markup.) How does he become the leader, gain the title of “Father”? Lots to do in this chapter. Characters: Father Marmot. Narrator: Omniscient.

Chapter Five: Chylus introduces himself and drops more hints about what happened with Jarrod and the beavers. Do I need less frivolity here, a better explanation for the frivolity, or am I OK? Characters: Chylus, Magda, Bob, Merkel (all crows). Narrator: Chylus.

Chapter Six: Magda tells more of Jarrod’s story, through the eyes of Chylus. Why do Jarrod and Chylus have such a strong friendship? Who is the “we” that helps the surviving beaver? How do they get Jarrod home? This needs to be developed. Characters: Magda, young surviving beaver, Jarrod, Chylus. Narrator: Magda.

Chapter Seven: Schpooky mythology. Watch the tenses – always in present tense, as these animals should not think of past or future. Characters: The Two Voices. Narrator: Omniscient.

Chapter Eight: Aloysius spreads his doom. Tells his side of the Jarrod story. Gloomy. Need to develop his hatred of joy, plus the relationship he had with Jarrod before the events of the box canyon. Characters: Aloysius (and his beloved, what’s her name). Narrator: Aloysius.

Chapter Nine: Lark tells us of the layoff the land – and confesses she is a flighty spy for The Lady. Hints that Aloysuis has been heavily recruited but resists. She is there to watch the men and watch the others and occasionally try to talk to Aloyusis, to pump him for information she cannot get. Not bright, but frightened. Need to develop this more. Characters: Lark. Narrator: Lark.

Chapter Ten: I’m fairly certain this chapter has got to go. Look at it from a narrative perspective – do the farm plots the animals plant help the story along? Look at the marmots’ motivations in previous chapter. Do I need this?

Chapter Eleven: More hints of Rebekah’s death. Why do I keep hinting? Need some clear explanation of what happened to her, aside from hints that the Lady was there.

Chapter Twelve (The Lady): A little more on the Lady. Nothing more. Watch chapter numbers. I’ll put occasional chapter name in as marker.

Chapter Thirteen (Height): The Lady and Jarrod talk. She goes into the cave, which is a no-no at this point. Can’t happen.

Chapter Fourteen: Jarrod more brooding about the beavers. Need to include history between the “black and whites” and the Lady – she ought to hate them all, rather than just Jarrod. Connection with the “Croo Croo” in previous chapter. Also, is he tempting the Lady to ease his burdens? He knows she can’t. The Sparrow-Minder has got to be here too, offering surcease.

Chapter Fifteen (Knee High): Do I keep the raccoons? Are the humans FM is worried about guarding the cave thing? I need to go on with this, but what’s going on?

Chapter Sixteen (Tongues will wag): What’s going on with this chapter? I’ve got to figure out the garden plot thing, or this chapter has to go.

Three is a magic number:  Why is Jarrod worrying about the plantings? I’ve got to sort this out. This would also be a good chapter to talk about the history between the magpies and The Lady.

We believe in meetings: Here, a good chance to hit on the history between Jarrod, Aloysius, and The Lady. And meanwhile, what is the Sparrow-Minder doing? That’s Aloysius’ big question in this chapter.

Else: Establishes more the alliance between the Lady and the marmots.

Height: Jarrod descends deeper into melancholy/madness, Magda and Chylus try to comfort him. WHY? Does The Lady show him something terrible, like Rebekah suffering? He needs to have a powerful reason to suddenly go so gloomy.

Spelunk: Magda asks Aloysius to go easier on Jarrod. Double check that he’s been really hard on him. Maybe they have a conversation before previous chapter about the losses of the beavers and their loves. Something powerful. Also, Magda decides to go see if “it’s true.” She knows it’s true. Maybe she’s going to verify rumors of the beavers coming back to the canyon and wondering where Jarrod is.

Check this Box: Marmots intercept garbled message of Crows trying to do something with Jarrod’s funk. In response to Magda’s voyage up the canyon. Maybe move this later in the book, after her visist? Or is it OK to keep it here to keep readers reading?

No: Jarrod feels the Lady’s tentrils as she tries to capture him completely. Crows are trying to get him to leave to see what’s up in the canyon. Hawk takes him up there. That she’s gone to see the beavers and solicits the hawks needs to be mentioned when she’s making her voyage, perhaps in chapter where she has “hope caught in her throat.”

Taken: Marmots know Jarrod is taken by the hawk and the crows are complicit in it.

Betrayed: News spreads of crows’ betrayal of their leader.

Doleful Creatures: Jarrod meets the beavers in the canyon and begins to tell his tale.

Breathing Together: Jarrod returns, POV marmots. They don’t know what happened but want to know. They will ask Aloysius or Lark to go find out.

Feast: Starling spies eating worms with robins. This chapter is out of place, or the planting earlier is out of place. This takes place in late spring, with a snow. Look at the timing.

Famine: Aloysius goes to the canyon. The Lady follows, to test and torment him. He recalls fond memories of the canyon and of Landi, his lady, who also died at the beaver-ponds. Those fresh memories, triggered by his wlaking on their familiar paths, overwhelms the hold The Lady has on his mind. Bit with Landi and memories needs to be augmented.

Cold: Aloysius enters the lady’s lair, looking to set someone free. His Dad needs to have talked to him about the sparrow-minder, in flashback, because that who is Aloysius is seeking (though why seek him from the Lady?) Also need to hear more about Aloysius’ lady in this chapter.

Hawksong: Jarrod flies with the hawks, crows are still worried about keeping him hidden. WHY? They need to be more concerned about hawks, but also more familiar with them. The hawk should know Jarrod, or at least know of him, so nobody becomes a meal.

Comfort: Aloysius struggles with the Lady. Need more on his father here as well, little bits to come out.Need to hear more about his lady, and why what happened to her makes him love and despise the lady as well.

Escape: Jarrod starts to tell his tale, interrupted by the Lady, revisits what happens to the beavers and to Rebekah. Need to add more of what happened to Rebekah. Earlier, it’s implied she’s stuck in trap. Here, she flies off and is struck by lightning/the Lady. Need consistency. He also sees an indistinct figure wrapped in tentrils, who has “paid the price,” per the beavers. More emphasis that this is the Sparrow-Minder.

Stories are Told: Aloysius reports to the marmots. Why done he lie? What motivates him to tell stories? Have to go back to other changes in previous chapters to enhance understanding.

Forevermore: Beavers tell the tale of what happened. Need to fix circumstances of Jarrod’s parents deaths. Need to add conversation on if Jarrod believes in the S-M, where was he when parents died, when beavers died, when Rebekah died. And Jarrod does not know. She rants about this.

Trapped: The flood that started the persecution of the beavers. This needs to be made more clear that this is what’s going on. And timing on flood/death of Aloysisus’ beloved.

The Gift of Silence: Hawk speaks of the Lady to Jarrod. Why does he defend her? What problem is Jarrod/Nimble discussing? Needs lots of clarification here.

Stale Bread and Sunshine: FM learns of Jarrod’s transformation – stink of Sunday. Why is this such a great concern? Needs to be clear that the Lady cautioned him to be aware of any radical change in Jarrod’s behavior. Might tie in with a visit with the S-M, to also mention in previous chapter.

Gathering Angels: The sparrows and the starlings come, are noticed. Many are nervous, many are impatient. Need to clarify the emotion on the birds’ arrival.

Fear: Moles freezing to death due to influence of the Lady. Need to connect this to the cave and her worries that what lies there is going to be discovered.

Knee-High II: Here, just lot of waiting. Calm before the storm. Has Jarrod been visited by Rebekah to help calm him? What is everyone waiting for. Need to clarify why everyone is holding their breath.

Twaddle: Voles are in the garden eating slugs, talking about Jarrod. That Jarrod is cured of his ails. Why is this important? Need to clarify.

The Filling Forest: Skunks talk to Marmot about the coming trouble. The Lady is there metaphorically snagging marmots with her tendrils. Many things to fix here, including a need to explain why the moles are being specially tormented by the lady – did they discover something about the cave? The starlings are starting to cause trouble – what kind of trouble. The sparrows are being helpful – what’s going on with them? No one is hungry despite the influx of critters? What have the starlings done to inspire fear?

Capture: The voices talk. A third voice is introduced. What the hell is going on here, Mommy? What are the prophecies? What is the Lady going to do? Who is the third voice and who is that voice talking about who will step forward? Is it the man in the rock in the next chapter?

Man in the Rock: Man in the Rock talks to Jarrod about the screams disappearing. Animals have souls. Why does he keep prying about the screams? Is MitR the guard of what is in the cave, or is Jarrod? Maybe it’s Jarrod who has had an eye on things and he doesn’t even know it? And why is the lady so mad about magpies? Perhaps a magpie, waaaaay back, did something to thwart the Lady. That could go in the previous chapter with the voices. The eye Jarrod carries could find its way to the cave where the primordial magpie, the one who offended the lady, is held. That could be who Aloysius was looking for in the lady’s lair earlier. This chapter could help tie a lot of things together.

Additional Twaddle: Again with father marmot and the skunks. I thought I got rid of the truck.

Things Start to Happen: The harvest begins. Father marmot is there in all his newmanesque glory. Aloysius slinks around. Need to add more about the common folk really wanting to eat the food. Weed to explain who This and That are if I keep them. And the truck is there.

Roots and Leaves: Crows show up to help, tell marmot they’re no longer worried about Jarrod. Why are the crows helping? A diversion tactic for what? Are the beavers coming? What in the heck is going on?

Starlings: Starlings talking. Should be more about conflicts with them and the sparrows.

Upstream Side: Jarrod takes the eye fragment of MitR and flies it. The Lady appears to kill kill kill. Jarrod at the direction of MitR drops his eye in the water where the Lady is. This might need to be split into two chapters, one with MitR and the other with the Lady killing everything. Here, the MitR wants to go to the cave where the proto-magpie is. Maybe he’s hinted about the cave a while back, and how Jarrod needs to try to take him there. The Lady talks about fear and guilt, starts uprooting trees and trashing dams. Jarrod is worried again about a slaughter among the beavers at his fault. Perhaps he is captures by the Lady? Then who continues the story? Maybe this is where the mounted crows come in? Or This and That? Big stuff to happen here.

Dying Slowly: Mounted crows get in trouble with the starlings, go into hiding. I love this chapter.

Cutting: The Lady talks with the man in the rock. She’s hiding in a cave. Why hiding? And why it MitR talking to her? This needs development.

Chiasmus: Jarrod and Aloysius survey the damage to the beaver-ponds. No deaths. J&A reconcile. Sparrows come. This chapter needs more something. What I don’t know. Certainy need to see more of A&J relationship before the Great Riff.

Silence: Jarrod flies with Nimble. They talk of the Lady and of MitR. Why? S-M tests his creatures. They discuss why.

Anting: Magda and Willow run still hide from the starlings. Love this bit of the story.

He: Nimble and Jarrod continue to talk. What purpose does Jarrod see in the suffering he has gone through? This is a chance to work a lot of power into the story.

Note: A note to the Purdys. Still think this should be used more throughout the book. Mainly for pranks played on them by This and That. Might be a way to get the raccoons back in the story.

Working Downhill: Aloysius, Jarrod, beavers voyage to the farm. Here, big opportunity for more flashbacks to younger Aloysius, Jarrod, their ladies, etc.

Spring: MitR emerges from the water. This needs something more if he’s the guardian of the cave.

Doubt: Harvest interrupted by reports of deaths of beavers, J&A dead (lies). It needs something.

Black with Sparrows: The Lady proceeds south. She hears J&A behind them, is happy to know she’s ahead, can get ready for their arrival.

Stalking: The Lady comes to the marmots to gather strength. This needs more. Needs to be more metaphorical with the tendrils. Expand on the concept of the Lady gathering strength from the marmots’ hatred.

Builders: Beavers begin building their dam. At the end of this is where MitR, J&A, need to descend into the cave as things go on above.

Tail Wind: Magda and others rejoin the battle. Then more about MitR and company in the cave. The songs need to be more crowish. Father Marmot also had better not meet an ignominious death. He and the marmots and the starlings should come to try to break the dam, to avoid flooding things. The lady gives them strength, she does not want the cave flooded.

Song: Magda sings and Chylus hears Magda’s song amid the battle with the Lady. The harvest is destroyed and the animals scatter. Need to make it clear that FM is not dead at this point, that the marmots are still strong and allied with the Lady to finish the fight at the dam.

Stories to Tell: The dam is hastily built and the lake starts to fill rapidly, startling the beavers. Animals who have fled the battle come to the esker, climb up.

Abyss: The Lady feels for J&A, but her starlings flee. This is good but more stuff needs to precede it.
Bliss: Pa Purdy and Yank. I think this chapter blows.

Frogs: After the battle. Things are settling.

Oh, Sing Away: Aloysius finishes the tale, but refuses to sing. There should be more about people making him want to sing in the book, or it doesn’t make sense.

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