I've been getting some valuable feedback from readers, and it's prompted me to fix something that's been bothering me about the first two chapters. The change is that I've added a brief prologue that sets the scene and the timeframe for the novel. And with that done (and done better), I can move the Vallan-Copper interactions out of those chapters and insert them, re-worked, in a later chapter.
The plot is the same, the story continues, and nothing that you've already read is invalidated -- but my hope is that new readers who are still coming to the book will have a smoother introduction.
The updated chapters are now on the Novel page. And thanks so much to everyone who has shared their thoughts on this project with me. It's been great to learn how you think and feel about what I've written.
If you're interested in my reasoning, you can read on below.
What wasn't working? I have a significant time jump in chapter one, from Copper's past to Copper's present. Readers got that, but it was disorienting because of how abruptly I did it and how few clues I provided as to what was going on.
Why did I do it? It was the episodic thing, essentially. Since I was putting the book out in weekly installments, I wanted to give some sense of both a "present" timeline and an "events in the past" timeline right away. But splicing it like that never felt right.
The solution is the prologue. It sets expectations with the reader: "here we are in the present, and now we're going to talk a bit about the past". And how long ago it was.
It's a minor course-correction, just a re-shuffling of a few details in the first two chapters. I want it to flow in the best way that it can.