Chapter Eleven, Beyond All Reason / by E.M. Hernandez

Battle is imminent and the commander of the Toxies believes the end is in sight. But what if there is more to fear than he expected.

In 2011 I began a massive rewrite of my book. (It didn't really have a title yet. I called it "Sentrus" in the file names, though I knew that wasn't quite right.) 

Chapter eleven was one of the first things I added during this huge edit and revamp. It marked a change in style for me; a new focus on dialogue, which became a hallmark of the book as a whole. I allowed my theater and playwriting skills to enter the picture more fully, developing characters through their words, more than their actions. Or at least, more than passive descriptions of their actions.

I've always loved historical fiction. It's a genre that asks to be taken seriously, and deals in true stories, thereby investing itself with as much of a sense of reality as possible. But it also tends to deal in lots of "he had beens". You can see it in this chapter actually. The first half is mostly "he had been" doings which establish the context of the chapter and those things are important. They set the scene, and establish the perameters of the action. But some times historical fiction authors fail to move on. They have to much to tell you about the comings and goings of the world, but they fail to really invest in the character, or the reader when it comes to... well, the details. Especially the details which make us laugh, or worry, or love.

In Chapter eleven I present two characters in a moment of frustration, who could not be more different from one another. They have different backgrounds, different ranks, different personalities, different quirks, different needs. But I, as an author don't have to TELL you much of that, if I let them tell you in their own way. The narration can give way to personal revelation through conversation. Which is how we prefer to get to know people anyway. It's the difference between reading someone's profile on match.com and actually messaging them. One gives you information about the person, the other gives you a part of the person.

And after this and a couple other experiments with crowning dialogue as king the rest of the book began to change. I reedited whole chapters to add dialogue and moved forward with a story that was more about the conversations in the present than descriptions of the past.