Recently, I had the privilege of visiting a real-life castle. For a fantasy author like me, the adventure was a treat. Behold, Boldt Castle!
Wait, my bad. That's just the power house.
So let me tell you a bit about this historic New York castle and the adventures I had there...
Thomas Covenant is a leper. Outcast. Unclean. Embittered by his social isolation and the abandonment of his wife, he has only one goal: to survive. So when an accident in his world hurls him into a new and confusing world with different rules, he faces a dilemma. If he believes that the world is real, that his leprosy is gone, he will lose the survival skills that have enabled him to live with leprosy. He might be yanked back into his own world and his own carelessness will kill him. Yet if he disbelieves that the world is real, he is careless with the lives of others, and his carelessness may kill them. The Lords of the Land believe that Covenant is the reincarnation of an ancient hero, who will free the Land from the diseasing influence of Lord Foul. But Covenant resists. It is all a dream. It must be a dream... Isn't it?
My favorite part of the testing scene in Men in Black (1997) is the moment when 2nd Lt. Jake Jenson looks at Jay like, "Take that, you moron." But you know that Jenson is the moron.
One memorable scene can make an entire story unforgettable. As a reader, you likely have a "memory bank" of such scenes, that moment when you realized that, just for that one scene and the emotional response it evoked, you will forever be a fan of the story.
So let's take a look at the test scene (the scene I call "the best of the best" for multiple reasons) and see what it does for the story.
This week in The Dying Prince, I wrote an important scene in which one of the characters is able to get closer to their mysterious enemy--the Forbidden--than any one else has gotten so far. I needed to reveal enough to give the story a little more momentum--more questions, more chills--but not enough to blow all the secrets in Book Two that should be discovered throughout Books Three, Four, and Five.
I began to write the scene with the appearance of a nebulous figure: