This may be an odd way to publish this, but I hate the format of a blog for a novel, so I am gathering the whole novel - as I write it - into this post. The latest addition to the novel will be highlight in yellow, and to enable people to follow along with comments about the novel I will date the parts. This way, if anyone feels a desire to read the novel from the beginning, they are not leaping from post to post.
For me, introducing Nathan at this point is introducing the conflict. I have given Azariah his own demons. My problem is to emphasize those demons without expressing directly to the reader what they are. I want the reader in the dark for now. By avoiding saying what exactly the conflict is I give it power in the reader's mind ... so long as in the long run I live up to the expectation. Obviously, Azariah can be worried whether or not the horse has been fed.
Heh heh. I have something in mind.
Mostly all I wanted to start with this passage was Nathan needling Azariah, which I've given a lot of thought to this last few weeks and which is the part of this chapter that worries me the most. Does it sound like needling? Does it work? Does it seem to be getting under Azariah's skin, or does the whole thing seem too constructed and obvious? There's never any easy answer to these questions. You trust that you can do the best you can for the first draft, and it is this sort of thing that's meant when an author talks about "getting some distance" on their work. The hope is that if a few months go by before looking at this again, I can read it as someone who didn't write it and recognize immediately if it flows or if it sounds trite, cliched or too 'clever clever.' My point here is that I'm thinking of that as I write it, but I'm also aware that I'm too close to the material to trust my instincts one way or the other. It may not have even occurred to the reader that there was any problem. But I won't know myself for some time after today.
So, plans are to write more tomorrow.