Friday, March 5, 2010

Don't be an akinos!

About half way through my novel you start hearing of a character named Akinos--a figure of legendary evil. Unfortunately, as my critique partners pointed out, it was a little late in the novel to first hear of him. Couldn't I introduce him earlier?

But how? An info dump of ancient world history didn't exactly fit into the storyline. And when I say it didn't fit didn't fit in at all.

Akinos' legendary evil came as a result of his murder of his own brother. It was an act of betrayal that brought ruin to the world. Akinos disappeared immediately after the murder and his name became synonymous with treachery and evil.

Several hundred years have passed since Akinos' disappearance, and what's the first thing that comes to someone's lips when they are mistreated?

"Don't be an akinos."

By the time the reader reaches the half way point of Eternal Knight they have heard those words (in one form or another) on three different occasons. And now, when they read of Akinos the Betrayer, they should have an ahh-haa moment. They've read that word before, and always in a negative context. No info dump needed. The reader already knows that Akinos is infamous, important, and bad.

And a few chapters later, the reader learns that legends are legends and the truth isn't necessarily the truth.


  1. I like that. It is always hard to seed in information in a rewrite without making it sound forced.

  2. Tony, I'd love to claim I was the first one to think of this tactic, but I'm not. I know my friend Mike Shultz used this method in his novel, and I'm certain others have done it as well.

    Suzette, welcome to the blog.

  3. You could try - and this is just a suggestion - a little prelude at the beginning of the novel. Obviously I don't know how you've planned your novel, I don't know the in's and out's apart from you've put down here (which I love, by the way) but it could be something worth considering.

    I find, and lot of my critque partners agree, that an action chapter - or even just a page - at the beginning gets the readers engrossed and hooked as soon as they open the book. You don't have to give away too much, if anything, but use Akino's last moments before he disappears as an introduction to his character. It's just an idea . . .

  4. DRC,

    Thanks for the suggestion--it would definitely solve this issue. However, I'm trying to open this novel with no prologue.

    Chapter one starts you off right in the middle of the action, so no worries there. I'll post the latest chapter one in a day or so.

    Someday Akinos' story will make a great prequel novel. Someday...