This is part of my ongoing series where I’m documenting the development of my serial novel, Razor Mountain. Be forewarned, there are spoilers ahead!
Last time I came up with brief descriptions of the hunter, Amaranth; the exile leader, Ema; and the exile traitors, the brothers Garrett and Harold. I named the main Razor Mountain group the 550th Infantry Regiment.
What Comes Next for Christopher?
I left off the chapter 1-2 outlines with Christopher in a mysterious bunker in the Alaskan wilderness, and God-Speaker’s tribe starting its migration. I don’t want to make it very obvious this early on, but I think chapter 2 is actually what Christopher sees in his troubled dreams while he’s collapsed in the bunker. Being in close proximity to Razor Mountain is bringing his God-Speaker memories closer to the surface.
I’m planning to intersperse God-Speaker chapters, and since I plan to have a larger amount of Christopher chapters, I think the next two should focus on him. He wakes up, shocked and damaged, takes stock of his surroundings, and has to decide what to do.
The first and easiest thing for him to do is explore the bunker. It’s a relatively small space, cleverly designed, but the decor hints that it’s actually quite old. There are beds, food, supplies and even weapons to sustain several people here almost indefinitely. And yet, it’s empty and unused. This appears to be a safe place for Christopher. Because of his personality, he’s inclined to stay put, but he also quickly realizes that there may be no help coming.
His next thought is to explore nearby, still close to the bunker. There is a radio, but it only picks up cryptic signals. Perhaps there is a high vantage point where he can look for settlements? Or a way to make a smoke signal?
After a few days, Christopher begins to understand (at least subconsciously) that he may be the only one who can get himself out of this situation. He has a stark choice. He can stay safe in the bunker, letting it become his prison, or he can choose to take some serious risks, which is probably the only way he will ever be found or manage to get home.
These chapters need to set up Christopher’s internal conflict, which will drive Act I: his fear of the unknown and his unhealthy aversion to risk vs. his need to act and take chances to get out of his current predicament.
The Next Two Chapter Outlines
Chapter 3 – Christopher wakes in the bunker, injured, but alive. He explores the bunker and finds food, beds, and geothermal technology that looks like 1950s science fiction. He finds a large, old radio, but nobody responds to him, and the only signal he can find is a cryptic numbers station that continually shifts frequencies. He also finds a map that has several locations marked, but no explanation of what those markings mean.
Chapter 4 – Days have passed, and Christopher is settling into a routine. He starts a bonfire outside the bunker and burns fresh pine boughs to create a column of smoke. He hikes the area around the bunker, but has found nothing but empty wilderness. It begins to snow heavily, and he returns to the bunker for the evening. He is restless, scared, and uncertain what to do.
What Comes Next for God-Speaker?
Travel and hardship.
God-Speaker’s Act I ends with him having lost his whole tribe, and being drawn into the depths of Razor Mountain, where he will find the artifacts. His first few chapters should be a succession of devents that wear him down and take away everything he cares about.
The tribe has already suffered loss. Now they are migrating, and since it’s the midst of an ice age, cold weather seems like an obvious challenge for them to face. Along with this, there is a lack of food. This is also what’s driving other tribes to migrate across the area.
I might also be able to use weather to make a small connection between Christopher’s chapter and the adjacent God-Speaker chapter. Christopher experiences a large snowfall, then God-Speaker does as well.
Chapter 5 – God-Speaker travels with his tribe, carrying the stone god in a carrier on his back. It snows frequently for days, making travel more difficult. They consult the god to determine where to go. They attempt to hunt, but the hunting party encounters another band of travelers. They have a tense face-off, but do not fight. The hunting party returns empty-handed. Everyone is hungry.
I outlined three more chapters. I’m feeling pretty good about pushing through Act I chapter-level outlines. I think I will still have a lot to figure out when I get into Act II, so I may try to include some of that work in the next couple sessions.