Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Ties That Bind

That's the title to the fifth chapter.  I'm sure you might be thinking right about now, well this book seems pretty episodic young author!  It might be.  I don't think it is, I hope it isn't.  I've named each chapter to underline, put in bold, and italicize the chapter's theme.  So, as a bit of a conceit, this blog will be dedicated to underlining, putting in bold, and italicizing each chapter title that I have as of now for The Proxy Wars: Dramatis Personae.

For Chapter 1, the title is the Joker and the Thief.  The chapter title does refer to the Bob Dylan song and Jimi Hendrix cover.  If you look up the meaning of the song, you'll see it's about changing the established order.  And that's exactly what my joker and my thief in the chapter are trying to do.

Chapter 2's title, Three Days Later, is pretty upfront.  I start up the story three days after the events of the previous chapter.  It's a bit more forward than I'm actually used to, but not everything can mean something.

Chapter 3, Runaway is again another very upfront title.  Briok, our young hero, runs away from his mentor Amar.  Not to reveal too much about the chapter, but he gets into an enormous amount of trouble with the mafias because of this.

Chapter 4, An Answer for Everything.  This may look upfront, but it actually isn't because it's a direct rebuke to anyone who is begging for answers from the book.  There've been 78 pages before this of action and plot-thickening, with no real explanation for the events.  Here, everything gets fleshed out, while revealing a deeper history to the whole plot.  This shows that one event from far in the past affects moments in the present.

Chapter 5, The Ties That Bind.  I've already explained this, but I'll give a brief overview here.  It's a Protestant phrase, basically talking about the wonderful bonds of love.  I wanted to show in this chapter how those bonds can be strained and strengthened.

Chapter 6, Deus Ex Machina.  I'm fascinated by the structure of novels.  So, I'm also fascinated by the internal mechanisms that make a novel.  Deus ex machina translates into "God from the machine".  Here, that is taken literally and metaphorically.  I readily admit that I might be pulling a God from a machine in order to further the plot.  Finding that God, finding that machine, and determining how it'll affect the story is up to the reader.

Chapter 7, Liminality.  Liminality means "on the cusp of".  It usually refers to a man or woman being on the cusp of adulthood as they transition from immaturity to maturity.  I wanted to show somewhere in the book how Briok is on this dividing line between being the Magna Beast, and being a normal kid.  It's a bit old-school, a little Harry Potter-ish.  But it's interesting nonetheless.

Chapter 8, The Old Man of the Sea.  The name Proteus actually comes from a Greek God who was nicknamed the Old Man of the Sea.  Protean also means shape-shifting, which that Greek God was known for.  Take both pieces of information for what you will.

Chapter 9, Capo di Tutti Capi.  That's Italian for "Boss of all Bosses".  So, after leaving the mafias alone for four chapters, I dedicate a whole chapter to Tory's mad quest and slow disintegration.  He's power hungry, paranoid, in love, and confident all at the same time.

Chapter 10, Chekov's Gun.  That's a literary term referring to a rule set down by a famous playwright Anton Chekov.  He wrote that if you have a shotgun in the room, then you must use that shotgun in the next scene.  Well, I've got a lot of shotguns in this chapter.

Chapter 11, The Museum Incident.  This chapter has another straightforward title.  Briok is at a museum, and there's an incident.  The repercussions of the incident are monumental, and they're shown in the chapter. 

I hope this was a satisfactory post.  As always, comment, critique, suggest, please.  Tell me if these are interesting, please.  Next week, I promise I'll post another excerpt.  It'll have some action in it, and we'll see how my skills in writing really fare.  By the way, I'm changing the dates for both blogs.  Hell Reader! will come out on Mondays now.  Common Sense will come out on Wednesdays.  It's a small tidbit, I know, but I like to keep everyone updated.  Until next time then.


  1. Horrah! Thanks so much for posting this! I feel like it was a much needed story board (for my sake at least). I'm very excited to read all of chpt 4 (in my hopes that I could actually read something ANYTHING and understand it for the first time). Can't wait for your next excerpt! (please elaboate on the love!)

  2. It’s nice to see all the thought you’ve put into your titles. It’s cool to see the ‘hidden meanings’ behind them and I could see how specific chapter titles would be helpful in drawing attention to the parts you want people to notice. I only wish I could know more of the actual plotline, as in you give snippets of information but never the whole chapter synopsis. Of course I know WHY you do this, but I am ever curious. I do like seeing which goals you have for each chapter and what you hope to convey to the reader. I have one question though: is chapter 11 the last chapter? That seems like an abrupt place to end a novel, though it would probably make more sense in actual written form.

  3. It is the end of the novel. I'm trying to keep the novel as just an introduction to characters. There is a character arc in the novel - Briok's realization of his lineage eventually transforms him from wide-eyed innocent to broken would-be hero. The plot arc is mainly a set up, finishing off events that failed to occur in chapter one.

    All in all the structure of Volume 1, of which Dramatis Personae is only the first book out of four, dramatically mirrors Journey to the West. This is, honestly, pure coincidence. I just read up about what the story was about, and found that it's four-part structure is almost directly parallel to Volume 1's. Creepy, I know.