This is part of an ongoing series where I’m documenting the development of my serial novel, Razor Mountain.
You can find my spoiler-free journals for each chapter, my spoiler-heavy pre-production journals, and the book itself over at the Razor Mountain landing page.
In this chapter, I had two important things I wanted to accomplish. The first thing: showing a formative event for God-Speaker, where he once again loses someone close to him.
As I’ve mentioned previously, God-Speaker only gets about half as many chapters as Christopher in the book. This is partly because it draws out some of the mysteries, and partly because I want it to feel more like Christopher’s story than God-Speaker’s story.
In Act II, each of the God-Speaker chapters really needs to pull its weight in terms of developing God-Speaker’s personality, and revealing his long, long history. The challenge for me is that these chapters jump drastically through time and feature characters that only appear in a single chapter.
When a character dies, I usually want it to make a big impact on the reader. In the case of Strong Shield and Sky-Watcher, the reader barely knows these characters, and can’t really be expected to feel much for them. However, the purpose of these characters is really just to be foils for God-Speaker in different ways. They don’t have much development, but they have to help to build God-Speaker’s character.
Sky-Watcher accepts her own death with dignity, but God-Speaker does not. After all, he’s been alive for many lifetimes at this point, and he’s used to getting what he wants.
The Mechanics of Magic
The voices deep inside the mountain still aren’t completely explained. That’s a mystery that I want to draw out. However, there are plenty of hints about their origins that many readers will pick up on.
The voices provide God-Speaker with knowledge that would otherwise be far beyond human technological understanding at these points in time. This allows God-Speaker and his little civilization to excavate the underground city and make it livable.
The voices also give God-Speaker other powers, powers that seem to be beyond mere technological advancement. They give him the ability to live far beyond a normal human lifetime by transferring his consciousness to a new body. In this chapter, I also try to explain the mechanics of the “oracles,” specially trained people who can use the voices to move their consciousness through time instead of space.
I’ve found it a little challenging to clearly describe the mechanics of the “magic” while not making it feel like straight exposition. I may revisit this in a later editing pass.
Approaching the Present
In my outline, there are only two God-Speaker chapters left—in Act II and in the book as a whole. The final act of the book will belong to Christopher. These last two God-Speaker chapters will both take place in the same time period, bringing us within a couple decades of the modern day, in the final big time jump of the narrative.
This is an exciting part of the book for me, because it’s where the two main characters’ narratives finally come together. It also marks the point where a lot of the mysteries will be resolved.
We’re back to Christopher for a long chapter. We’ll see a little bit of the modern state of the underground city, and see that things are not quite right. Christopher is still trying to get back home, but it seems less likely than ever that he’ll ever leave Razor Mountain.