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Prep for course: "Template" chapter from fav novel, one written way you want your novel.
Prompt: In preparation for the course I want you to "Template" a chapter from one of your favorite novels--- one that is generally written in a way that you want your novel to sound. As an example I have used Chapter 1 in George Martin's Game of Thrones. Take a look at the link to my example and do the same thing with a novel of your choice. Please E-mail a copy of your results prior to the course beginning. As you take the workshop I want you to be thinking about the components a good chapter contains as you write your vignettes "Templating a Chapter

Ashley Faith
01/08/2013
Chapter Template 1

For my “Chapter Template” I have used Tamora Pierce’s [Circle of Magic 01] - Sandry's Book - The Magic in the Weaving as an example. Pierce doesn’t use “Chapters” but location headings. I used the 3rd Heading titled: “In Hajra, port city of Sotat:” This is character Briar’s entrance to the series. The first two are good, but there are more characters in Briar’s intro and I thoroughly enjoy the interaction between Briar and Niko.

There were six key writing components I noted in the chapter. Keeping the percentages in mind I suppose I too will seek to have roughly the same in my first vignette.

There were approximately 1,698 words in the chapter. Below, numbered 1-6 is the chapter template.

1. Backstory: 172 words 10%
2. Character Development: 645 words 38%
3. Detail/Vivid Description/Imagery/Scenery/Tone: 191 words 11%
4. Exposition that moves the story: 254 words 15%
5. Dialogue that moves the story: 442 words 26%
6. Foreshadowing: 17 Words 1%


Backstory: The first time the Hajran Street Guard caught Roach with a hand on someone else's purse, they tattooed an X on the web of skin between his right thumb and forefinger, then tossed him into a big holding cell overnight… Months later, a shopkeeper grabbed Roach as the boy helped himself to a few scarves. The Hajran Street Guard took him, tattooed an X on the web of his left hand, and tossed him into the same holding cell…. Life was a short thing now. No one lived more than two years in those places, and escapes were rare… This was a Money-Bag, then, or an officer. Somebody big, for certain… Choose? There were guards on the docks, nasty, wary fellows… Better yet, Emelan was far to the north of Sotat, fresh territory where no one knew who he was… no one argued with the title the Thief-Lord gave… Briar frowned. “Master” was a word for professors, judges, and wizards. The temples called women and men “dedicate.” Who was this man, anyway?

Character Development/C.D.: Briar - Nursing his sore hand, Roach went straight to the far edge of the chamber, where…Patches of cushiony moss grew there. Sitting on the floor, Roach found that one of them made a fine pillow. [the reader doesn’t know it yet but this is C.D. because as a ‘green mage’, ‘Roach’ is drawn to the moss]…. The moss had grown to cover most of a corner. It made a soft couch where he could sleep and wait to be released in the morning…His moss now covered the entire corner and a good amount of floor as well. It was the most comfortable bed that he'd ever had, with room left over for the rest of his gang-mates to use it for a pillow…Roach whispered to his moss. “I won't be back,” he explained. “Third time's cursed. I'll get the mines, or galleys, or shipyards. Less I break out, it's for life.” He smiled faintly… For all that, he slept well… Roach hissed angrily. It was Slug that got them all in this fix, watching them steal instead of looking out for street guards… Roach hesitated. Should he make them come get him? A guard cracked a whip, looking at him. Roach decided to avoid the beating he'd get if the man had to drag him….“Thank you,” he told the moss,… Roach ignored the testimony that concerned his gang. These grand folk had already judged him, so why listen to their cackle?... Roach shut out the rest as the law officers worked their way through the gang. Instead he thought of those plants in the cell, how peacefully green the moss showed when even a tiny bit of sun touched it. Give him a green like that from a living plant over the light that danced in emeralds. That was hard color; the moss-glow was soft. The plant didn't seem to need much earth to grow in, though it liked water. He'd given it part of his water ration when no one was looking. He didn't mind being good to growing things, but he did object when others made fun of him for doing it… He growled and fought as the guards dragged his hands out in front of him. He knew it was useless, but he didn't care - they'd remember him, at least!... Roach wondered if he was looking for a cute little servant boy, and grinned. Men who liked play-toys always regretted meeting him… Roach looked down… What temple could hang onto a smart rat like him?... For a moment Roach's heart raced: he might be able to run before he ever saw Emelan! Then he met the Bag's eyes and gave up that idea… Only as long as I stay, Roach thought. Still, the Bag was right. Roach had never liked his name, but… The docks were too close to risk annoying these people. What name would temple folk like? Plant and animal names, that was it. He imagined robed men and women smiling at him and giving up the key to the temple gate.
Plant and animal names. A picture flashed into his mind: a green, velvet corner - but that wouldn't do. He needed a tough name, one that would tell folk he was not to be trifled with. He studied his hands, trying to think - and noticed scarred welts across his right palm, a souvenir of a vine that grew on a merchant's garden wall… A last name? wondered Roach. Whatever for?...I'll stick till we get to this temple place, he told himself. I can get lost there, easy.

Niko - Somebody who wore power like a cloak…. The man - Master Niklaren? - looked too wise to fall for any dodge he might pull… Briar/Roach sensed that the Bag was right. Something about this man made escape seem like a bad idea.

Detail/Vivid Description/Imagery/Scenery/Tone: [expanded title to express that these phrases did the best at helping me vividly imagine/build the story in my head]
In Hajra, port city of Sotat:… a watery beam of sunshine reached down from an opening in the wall…A woman in the grey robes of a magistrate sat behind a long table. People in street clothes stood in back of her. Clerks sat on each end of the table, scribbling as guards and civilians testified against criminals… Twin pairs of rough hands picked him up, then dropped him in front of the magistrate's table, jarring his ankles… This was no lawyer or soldier. His long, loose over-robe was a deep blue, dyed cloth that cost a silver penny the yard on Draper's Lane. It was worn open over loose grey breeches, a pale grey shirt, and good boots. He carried only a dagger; it hung next to the purse on his belt… a letter with a beribboned seal on it…The Bag bent down to whisper, long, grey-streaked black hair tumbling forward to hide his face…Roach shivered - was the room suddenly colder? The judge drew a circle of protection on the front of her robe. The guard's face went as white as milk. His partner cut Roach free.

Exposition that moves the story: Roach's current visit was his third: the guard had nabbed his entire gang of street rats in a jeweler's shop. Most of them already had two X tattoos, which meant they got no third release from justice. All of them were thrown into the great holding cell… As others scrambled for a share of the slop the guard called supper,… When he woke, it was Judging Day in Hajra…. and joined the rest of his gang. They were quick-marched past other cells, then up a long flight of stairs. On the level floors, the guard began to trot, urging the captives along with their whips. Roach was gasping when they were driven into a huge, echoing chamber… When the testimony was done, a clerk called out,… The guards slammed Weevil's hands down on the table, holding them so the X shaped tattoos were visible. Like Roach, Weevil had two of them… Roach was hauled back to stand in front of a civilian… The Bag whispered to the judge, who made a face. He held something before her eyes,… The judge glared at Roach, but nodded, and the Bag stepped away from her… The man straightened and looked around until his dark eyes caught and held Roach's grey-green ones. There was something in that black gaze, something that had nothing to do with human play-toys. Roach's sense of power held in check grew threefold when he met those eyes. They warned - and comforted - at the same time… The judge tapped the desk impatiently

Dialogue that moves the story: “Weevil,” brayed a guard at the door. Roach's gang-mates sat up. “Dancer. Alleycat. Viper. Slug.”…“Cheater. Turtle. Roach.”…“Weevil.” The gang leader was shoved in front of the judge. “Hands,” he ordered…“Mines,” the judge said. A guard shoved Weevil into a wooden holding pen at the rear of the chamber… The judge didn't look at his face, only his hands. “Docks,” she said, and yawned…They were dragging Roach to a separate pen from the one that held Weevil and Viper when a light male voice said, “A moment.”…It was not a request, but a command. The guards looked back. Roach did not…“May I see the boy again?” the man inquired…“Bring him.” The judge sounded bored… “Their Majesties are inclined to mercy, as you are but a youth.” The judge rattled it off fast, a speech learned by heart. “You have a choice - the docks, or exile from Sotat and service at the-” She faltered…“You have a choice of the docks, or apprenticeship to the Winding Circle Temple in Emelan,” the judge went on, “until you take formal vows at the temple, or until its governing council rules that you are fit to enter society. Temple or docks, boy. Choose.”… “Temple,” he replied. “Make out transfer papers,” the judge told a clerk. “Master Niklaren” - this was to the blue-robed man - “will you take charge of him?” “Of course.”… “I can't make out papers for a 'Roach,'“ whined the clerk. “Not to a temple.”
“This is a chance, lad.” Niklaren's voice was light in tone for a man's. “You can pick a name, one that's yours alone. You can choose how you will be seen from now on.”… “Choose, boy, and hurry up,” snapped the judge. “I've other cases besides yours.”… “What's them vines with needles on them? Big, sharp ones, that rip chunks out when you grab 'em?”
The Bag smiled. “Roses. Briars.”
He liked the sound of that second one. “Briar, then.”
“You need a last name,” the clerk said, rolling his eyes…“Moss,” he said. No one would think he was moss-soft if he just didn't use it.
“Briar Moss,” said the clerk, and filled in the blank space on his paper. “Master Niko, I'll need your signature.”… “Cut him loose,” the Bag - Master Niklaren - ordered the guards.
“Your pardon, sir, but you don't know what he's like!” growled one of them. “He's born and bred to vice-”
Niklaren straightened and caught the man with those black, powerful eyes. “Are these remarks addressed to me?”… “Briar won't run - will you, lad?” Niklaren bent to sign the clerk's paper.

Foreshadowing: With two X's on his hands, he'd receive plenty of beatings in the future as it was [also C.D. because as he’s not beat in the future he expects to be]
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