Spoilers ahead! I'm not recapping these chapters in Bloodlines and The Golden Lily, but I do refer to some things that happen in them. These posts are to give some commentary and behind-the-scenes info for people who want to read along (or re-read) with me or walk down memory lane. If you haven't read the books, you might have some surprises ruined. So maybe go grab a copy and read along as we count down to The Indigo Spell! :)
THESE POSTS ARE NOT ABOUT THE INDIGO SPELL! You're safe if you've read the first two books in the series.
Hey! If you missed my earlier post today, here's the latest news about The Indigo Spell.
The Golden Lily, Chapter 1
Let's talk a little craft first. Unless you’re writing a highbrow literary novel where you can open with some in-depth description of the way light’s reflecting off cottonwood trees, it’s always a nice rule of thumb to drop readers right into some action at the beginning of a book. And what’s more action-packed than going into an underground Alchemist bunker? (That’s rhetorical, so you don’t need to answer with, “Adrian shirtless.”). I also don’t like to info-dump in the opening chapter. Even in the middle of a series, I like to gradually catch readers up over a few chapters, so that they can get hooked into the story right away without reading a bunch of recap.
A book two is very different from a book one for me. I always use the first book in a series as the establishing book. That’s not to say that crazy things can’t happen in it, but you can’t really knock readers for a loop if you don’t set up a baseline so that they know how to measure crazy. I need to lull you guys into a false sense of security. So the status quo usually more or less resumes at the end of my first books. Bloodlines certainly had its share of twists and turns, but we ended in a relatively calm spot (aside from the newcomers’ arrival). Book two is where I can really begin to turn the tables on my characters, setting us up for the real game changing moments that come in books three and four.
That’s part of why I started The Golden Lily here: to remind us of how really freaking scary the Alchemists can be. We ended Bloodlines in a sunny spot. Sydney was breaking out of her shell and becoming friends with the Moroi gang, one of whom has a more than friendly interest in her. It’s easy to think all is peaceful between the races, so we need this slap in the face of poor Keith beating against the glass to remind us of the consequences of crossing the Alchemists. Even I’m a little disturbed at everyone’s reactions, like how Keith’s father thanks Sydney for saying Keith’s a terrible, immoral human being--just so long as she doesn’t say he likes vampires. It’s really messed up, as is their treatment of him, and no matter how likeable Sydney’s become to us, we need to go forward into this book with the threat of what she risks hanging over us.
But don’t worry. If this chapter was too intense, just hang in there for the next one because I can never stay too serious for long. Angeline’s got some wardrobe problems that we’ll address tomorrow.