Sunday, December 1, 2013

VEILED ROSE Read-Along: Prologue

Dear imps, welcome to the second Goldstone Wood Christmas read-along! I can't believe it's already been a year since we read Heartless together. But here we are again, ready to dive into Veiled Rose.

A few things before we start: If you have any questions on the text (or the series, though try to keep things Veiled Rose focused), feel free to ask them in the comments below. I will try to answer them in the next day's post, though I may end up having to wait and do a bunch of question-answering at the end of the week.

There are going to be giveaways at the end of each week, so don't miss out on those! You can check yesterday's post for details on how you can get your name entered. Winners will be randomly selected, but there are a number of things you can do to get your name into the raffle several times over. The more times your name is entered, the better your chance to win.

And I think that's all I needed to cover. So let's dive into the story!



Wow, it has been a long time since I read this book.
Well, maybe not that long. After all, it's not really that long since I wrote it. I drafted this version of the story in a little more than two months during the summer of 2010. So three years (and a bit) ago now.
That was insane.
You see, I had already the year before written an entirely different version of Veiled Rose. A lot of things were the same: the veiled girl with a goat companion—her friend Leo who turns out to be the prince—her rival, the beautiful Lady Daylily. And, of course, the Dragon. I'll probably make mention of that other version (possibly even share snippets from it) as we read this book together. I really enjoyed writing it, and was very proud of it when I sent it to my agent. She also loved it. So I passed it on to my publishing house.
And they hated it.
In fact, they wanted to skip it entirely and go directly from Heartless to Moonblood. Which, as those of you who have read the series know, was a mess. Though I made an attempt to write Moonblood as a sequel to Heartless, it just doesn't have the background it needs without Veiled Rose.
So that's how I ended up writing this version of Veiled Rose in two months. We were getting pretty late in the production process of Moonblood when I begged my publishers to allow me to rewrite Veiled Rose instead. Reluctantly, they agreed.
Much of the book we will be reading is recognizable from the original draft. But, to make it a more suspenseful and exciting story, I decided to keep more secrets this time around. For instance, we don't know what Rose Red looks like until the end of the book. In the original version, you find out in the first chapter. We also don't know who Leo is until mid-way through the story. In the original version, we find that out within a chapter or two as well.
I also increased Lady Daylily's role in this version, which I think was a good decision. She was all right in the original version, but she was very much a background character. In this version, I brought her forward and gave her a chance to shine in all her conflicted glory.
But, I'm getting ahead of myself. We'll get into all of those details as we go along! For now, let's focus on this opening . . .
The Dedication: My David Rohan is, of course, my handsome husband, Rohan. I really could not dedicate this book to anyone else. You see, Rohan was courting me, proposing to me, and planning a wedding with me during those two months when I had to write this entire novel. If any of you have ever tried to write a novel, you will know that it is hard work, no matter the time frame.
Two months?
And I've already been paid for it?
"This is madness!"
As a result, I spent a good portion of those two months raving mad. And yet Rohan still loved me, still proposed to me, and still planned a wedding with me. I basically finished the manuscript, sent it off to my publishers, and hastened to the wedding ceremony! Through it all, Rohan was a rock, always patient, loving, and there for me. He has continued to be just as patient and loving through our marriage. So yes, this book is dedicated to him, and he more than deserves it.
The First Line: Hill House, though abandoned, had remained unscathed during the years of the Dragon's occupation.
When I finally received word from my publishers that they were going to let me go through with the rewrites—and then was told the timeframe I had in which to do it—I nearly panicked. But when I sat down and opened the blank document, this sentence immediately formed in my mind. I wrote it down, and the rest of this prologue came together in a heartbeat. It really was a blessing from God!
Hill House: The house itself—home of Leo's aunt and cousin where he is sent to spend his summer holidays as a boy—became the perfect place to introduce the new story while still tying it back to Heartless. It's funny to me now, but I think Hill House itself was a huge reason this book works! It had not existed in the original draft, which began on the grounds of the Eldest’s House and stayed there for much of the book. But by uprooting all my characters and setting them in this whole new location, I was able to get a fresh look at all of them and their storylines.
Some few of you might recognize the name from the famous novel, The Haunting of Hill House. I had just read that novel at the recommendation of some friends a few years before . . . and was SCARED OUT OF MY MIND. I'd never read a horror novel before, and while it was fantastically well-written and I appreciated the genius, I have solemnly vowed to never, never, never read another horror novel again.
But I liked the name “Hill House,” which suits the naming scheme I use for Southlands. So literary hauntings and several sleepless nights aside, I went ahead and bestowed the name upon Leo's summer getaway.
Use of Time: This prologue sets up for the rest of the novel to be told in backstory. A bit of a daring choice in current fiction, which tends to be very focused on the here and now. It isn't until the last chapter of Veiled Rose that we catch up to Leo again and find out why he was climbing the mountain to begin with. So the whole novel is basically to explain the prologue!
Like I said, a bit daring. But I really like how it works. It creates a sense of full-circle, which is very much needed in Veiled Rose. Otherwise, this novel feels too much like the in-between-book . . . a sequel of sorts to Heartless, a set-up for Moonblood. Because of this time loop, however, Veiled Rose becomes an entity unto itself.
The nameless hero: We don't even know the name of this young man as he climbs to Hill House. I like that little added level of mystery. Who is he? What is he doing there? We must turn pages to discover answers to these questions. Good fiction is all about leading your reader forward with questions. If you feed them too much information right away (even down to a character's name sometimes), what is the point of continuing the story?
Little hints: There are plenty of little hints and foreshadowing about the character as we follow him up the hill. The line, "Lately, he felt far lonelier in a crowd than when left to himself" is a huge indication of isolation and even shame. Yet another question to tempt the reader to keep turning those pages!
The beanpole: What the heck is with the beanpole? I'm sure this was a common question among those reading the book for the first time! But here we have yet another hint about the story to come, a story that begins in childhood and the realm of imagination.
After all, when we were children, we tended to see the importance of humble things far more readily than we do now as adults. Perhaps this hero needs to return to that childlike wonder. Perhaps he needs the beanpole, not because of what it is, but because of what it means. To the child it meant heroics and adventure and great deeds!
But is this man a hero, a doer of great deeds? He does not seem to be anything of the kind. So he seeks out the beanpole, a symbol of what he once wished to be. And perhaps he hopes to reclaim a little of that lost ideal . . . 
The Dragon: Of course, the BIG question this selection leaves us with is, What went on with that Dragon????
If dragons aren't a reason to keep reading, I don't know what is!
Questions on the Text:
1. Not much to ask questions about here. So instead, why don’t you tell me about a time you had a crazy deadline. What did you have to accomplish? In what timeframe? How did you get through it?
2. What was your favorite line or lines of this selection?


Molly said...

Wow I didn't know that you RE-wrote VEILED ROSE! Yikes how crazy!

1. Ugh when I has my first NaNoWriMo, it was really crazy for me because I'd never written anything in a specific timeframe with a specific word count. I just wrote as hard and as fast as I could every day. To be honest I never finished the word count.

2. I love the first line in this. It's the sort that grabs my interest in a book.

I'm excited about the read-a-long!! Merry Christmas!

Hannah said...

I cannot even imagine writing a novel in two months. Especially one that got rejected. That had to be so discouraging! But it turned out beautifully. :)

Hmm, so far I haven't had too many very stressful writing deadlines. I'm still plugging towards finishing Moonscript by the end of December. And I told myself I would finish my last Cinderella story before the end of November and I finished it yesterday. :D

Unfortunately, I don't have the book on hand (someone's borrowing it), so I don't know what my favorite line is. I do know that a mother of my friend picked up the book, intending only to read the prologue, and read the entire book. =)

Meredith said...

You wrote this second draft in just two months? Amazing and wonderful! What a beautiful book it is. So, so excited about this read-along!

2. Lines: Lately, he felt far lonelier in a crowd than when left to himself, (7).
Hill House's empty windows, like mourning eyes, gazed down on him (8).

I love how Hill house itself is a character in the book, an in-between place that was not touched by the Dragon, but which vicareously experienced the pain of the land. So, the mountains are lofty and cannot be harmed by the Dragon, but the low country is definitely vulnerable. Can someone say beautiful imagery?

God bless you.

Sarah Pennington said...

Posted about the read-along:

Sarah Pennington said...

First off, thank goodness for free Amazon samples, since my real copy hasn't come in yet.

Second, you rewrote Veiled Rose? In two months? While planning for your wedding? You just got even more incredible.

My answers to the questions:
1. For my creative writing class, every week, I had to write and edit a story between my Tuesday and Thursday classes- so in about 36 hours. And about 50% of the time, my first idea didn't work out. It was kind of crazy trying to get it done. >.<
2. My favorite line is: "Some traditions must be maintained if one hoped to hunt a monster successfully."

Anonymous said...

1. I tend to procrastinate, so I put off writing a 10-page research report until two days before it was due. I finished it, but that is one mistake I swore never to make again. :P

2. "This was the beanpole of all beanpoles, mighty in purpose and fell with use."
I love the idea that a beanpole can be powerful/awesome. As a gardener, I find it rather funny and cool. ;)

Did your publishers give any specific reasons for not liking the first version of "Veiled Rose"? I couldn't imagine the series without it!

Anonymous said...

2. He sought only on thing: the weapon of a warrior. Which he found in the form of a beanpole. -pg. 8


JoJo said...

The young man did not enter the house, though a part of him longed to walk those corridors again, to feel a comfort that he had not yet since returning to his native land. VR)

I love this go home again, to relive fond memories, to feel safe- there is nothing better!

Love the background info on VR <3 this is going to be fun!

Unknown said...

I've been reading making my way through Veiled Rose, and I saw this read-along. Interesting concept and neat to see a sort of "behind the scenes" look at the book as I'm going through it. Two months to rewrite the whole book? Yikes!

1. A 20 page paper that had to have at least 10 references to different scientific journals/articles. I waited until the night before it was due because I was studying for other classes - that was a very unpleasant allnighter.

2. I think my favorite line was: "Hill House’s empty windows, like mourning eyes, gazed down on him." Really nice description,

Joy said...

I so badly want to read Veiled Rose - not only does it help explain Leonard's story after Heartless, but also gives me a better understanding of Goddess Tithe. I am going to put Veiled Rose on my birthday/Christmas wish-list to be sure :)).

My goodness! You had to write it in 2 months? And during a courtship and wedding season too? Wow! That's sooooo tough! Bravo, Ann-Elisabeth :).

1. One of the most vivid 'deadline' memories I have that I was actually able to accomplish was back in 2012; it was in May, and Mum found a flyer for a short-story competition for teens at our local library. Out of all the contests, the best ten stories would be shortlisted for publication in an anthology. It was quite appealing to me and I decided to join, though I had never written short-stories before, not to mention that the deadline for submitting a story was only four/five days away and we were going on a vacation to a holiday island by ferry that week!! Somehow, with God's help, I just wrote and wrote - I finished the story before we went on the holiday, and spent the first day of the trip once we arrived on the island sitting in the bedroom facing the ocean and with my sister's help kept editing and editing till it was close to midnight and sent it just in time... it actually got shortlisted and published, which was exciting :).

I hope I never have to be forced into such a tight deadline for writing a novel though! I can't imagine how you ever did it.

2. Having not read Veiled Rose yet, I can't choose a favourite line. But I do very much love that first introducing line. Hill House sounds lovely - it has such a pleasant cadence to it.

Kira Thomas said...

Oh, wow. Two months? You never cease to amaze me.

1. I've done NaNoWriMo three years in a row now, which I have managed every time. I love the complete closeness that a crazy deadline gives, and the story is completely in your head constantly.

2. I loved the line "The first time, he had been no more than eleven years old." It certainly kept me reading.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Hoorah for all of the creative writing deadlines! It's amazing what the pressure of a deadline can force us to produce. Perhaps not the most ENJOYABLE of creative time . . . but we do get the stories written!

I'll be getting to all of the questions soon, I promise . . . :)

Rebekah said...

I like how you start it out making us think its going to be a traditional boy-hunts-monster-saves-girl type thing ... and then you turn our assumption on its head!

You wrote this in two months?... If I didn't admire you before, I do now. I'm having enough trouble with the 'Five Glass Slippers' deadline.
@Hannah: Congrats on finishing!

Therru Ghibli said...

1. The dealine for this years fan fiction scared me. By the time I had found a story and the time to write it, it was a long story, I had only a week left to complete it. I was really happy I did make it though. Not nearly as impressive as a novel in two months!

2. "It wouldn't be much of a hunt. He had a fair notion where his monster was to be found. This was by no means the first time he had pursued this quarry."
These lines gave me excited chills when I read this book the first time!