Lune Diary: Chapter Two
by M.J. Hearle
I’d like LUNE to have evocative chapter names.
The Hobbit does this extremely well with names like ‘Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire’, ‘The Gathering of the Clouds’ and ‘A Thief in the Night’. Chapter One of Lune is called ‘The Boy in the Tree’ but I have yet to name Chapter Two. It would help, I suppose, if the book was structured like a collection of short stories with each chapter serving as an almost self-contained narrative episode. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it sounds. Chapter Two is full of largely connective tissue which I feel is essential for character development but doesn’t necessarily rocket the narrative forward. Which is probably why I’m having trouble naming it.
After getting into a fight with some bullies, Lune is called to Principal Wadkins office to explain himself. His mother attends as well and we get a glimpse into Lune’s not very pleasant family life. Both the principal and his mother don’t listen to him and seem annoyed by his very existence. The ‘cruel guardian’ figure is a pretty familiar fairytale –not to mention Dickensian – trope and I questioned myself before including it. Originality should always be the goal in writing but I find genre conventions are a useful shorthand in quickly communicating ideas to the reader. In this case, I need the reader to understand why Lune might be so eager to leave this world behind.
Lune’s mother is not a monster. She doesn’t beat him or force him to live in a cupboard under the stairs ala Potter. We learn that she had Lune when she was very young. Sixteen. This would make her approximately twenty-nine when the story begins. If she resents Lune for holding her back from enjoying her late teens and early twenties then I think that’s an understandable, if not condonable, human reaction.
It’s important that the world of LUNE is described in shades of grey. Frankly, I find the notions of absolute good and evil to be boring and dramatically inert. Like Lune’s mother, I want the perspective of the villains to be clear and relatable. That doesn’t mean they need to be sympathetic. In fact, villains are much more frightening if we at least partially know where they’re coming from.
Chapter Two ends with the arrival of the piano. Ah, yes the piano. One of the first truly fresh concepts I’m bringing to the story. So far everything might feel a little familiar. The piano will change that. Perhaps a good title for this chapter would be ‘An Unexpected Piano’. A nod towards The Hobbit‘s opening chapter ‘An Unexpected Party.’ I like it.
On to Chapter Three.