Let's Enter Stage

I want to talk about character descriptive intros. 

There's this really, really fun trope in Japanese warrior tales (gunkimono) where when an important warrior appears on the scene, we get a full-blown description of his wardrobe and accessaries:

That's the introduction for Atusmori, a young warrior (and courtly musician) in The Tale of the Heike. We get a description. Then, they fight. I won't spoil it for you. 

Anyway, lately I've been writing introductory passages for characters in this latest novel, and because the style is so different from Food of Magicians, which was sparsely written, I'm frankly having a lot more fun. Every story has a rhythm, a pulse. If Food of Magicians was frantic chopping by impatient teenagers, the rhythm of Serango is a slow, luxurious cadence that wouldn't be out of place in an older book. 

Fortunately for Serango, it's not YA, so I can count on a longer attention span that might indulge its style. I had a lot of fun introducing two characters recently, a secretary and a dancer who both play major roles in the story. Because their storylines cross, I wanted to play off themes and metaphor (or simile) in both. Every other day or so, I come back to tinker with these, but here is Mercon and Yama's descriptions at the end of March. They appear in different chapters. 

And then Yama's...

Yama's description has been much harder, and no doubt, it will undergo even more editing. It's been hard balancing her sex appeal, her strength, and this essence that defines her throughout the book. I was originally going to compare her to both "a ship in a city square or a carving on the front of a great ship," both ideas that came to me at 2AM, but they got cut down and changed to a "palace statue." Who knows what changes will come? 

My darling count has undergone various descriptive introductions, but I do not like any of them yet. He is too important not to be described properly. He is frustrating because I want him to have some appeal, some fear, some affection... He's very circumstantial, my difficult count. And I don't know if he's handsome! That word keeps being removed from this passage. 

Sometimes I end up breaking up descriptions throughout story, but it can harder to keep track of (for readers). I might have to do that for him. 

This next one is probably the most recent lengthy introductory description. It's Nemesca, a teenage girl who wants to leave her family for the army:

I would probably be amiss if I did not include the only other introductory description, which is of General Airfield. 

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That's all so far! This book is very hard to write, but when it works, I swoon. I'm sure when I hand it off to readers, I'll have more reservations and less swooning.