Light and darkness spun around her. Althea stumbled into space. She slipped out of control, falling forward – reacted automatically – legs and arms extended, palms flat; fingers outstretched.
She felt sudden solidity. The vertigo and free fall spinning slowed, stopped.
Althea collapsed on a hard, cold surface, shuddering. Her body curled up in defensive instinct. Lights flashed around her, the portal roared its chimes – and against that – saturating Mirror Maze visions warred.
This is not how The Undeniable Labyrinth originally began. I did like the original opening chapter, and for several drafts felt it provided a perfect atmospheric prolog. However, upon reaching later drafts, and as the story became more sophisticated, I decided such a slow start wasn’t the best way to introduce this story.
The beginning I needed had to reflect the novel, not reflect The Promethead, the series’ nature. This meant finding the most appropriate first chapter, which was three chapters in, and the true start of the story, which was Althea arriving on Makan
And so changes were made.
Instead of spending the first few chapters with providing answers to the reader, I thought questions, frantic ones at that, worked much better.
So I dispensed with the pseudo-prolog. I think the opening is now much stronger and dynamic. Now, this is not to say I’ve abandoned the deleted scenes (as it were). Much of the exposition and atmosphere fit well later in the novel (and in future novels). I’ll let you know where some of them crop up later on in the commentary.
But here, is what I consider to be the actual beginning of this story. Althea arrives in a state of disorientation, visions brought on by her transit from elsewhere. You get to see her quick response to the reality of her situation, her instant and familiar connection with Dorian (with a bit of detail on his nature, contrasting with hers), and finally, her issues with her identity.
Althea was back again on her knees, looking down at her outstretched hands pressed hard against freezing solidity. How could she think that was not her? Straight black hair, smooth adult features with dark brown eyes and near the same shade of skin – that was who she was. She gritted her teeth.
Follow the plan!
I believe any story starts with an opportunity, to introduce what is important about it, what it means and where it’s going.