“The Shadow of Elantris.” These section headings were added in the last real draft I did, while I was visiting my father in Massachusetts during the summer of ’04. By then, the book’s title had firmly been changed from THE SPIRIT OF ELANTRIS to just ELANTRIS. I knew I needed to divide the book into sections, and decided that I’d use “The Spirit of Elantris” as the final heading, as kind of a nod to the original title of the book.
This presented me with several problems, however. First, I needed two more good sub-headings to go along with ‘The Spirit of Elantris.’ Second, I needed to find good places to divide the chapters. Because of the chapter triad system, I’d probably need to base my dramatic section cuts on Hrathen’s chapters, since he came third in the rotation.
The Shadow of Elantris came easily as a title. It, of course, has reference to the first chapter, where Raoden looks out the window and feels like Elantris is looming over him. However, it’s also a nice summary of the first section. Elantris looms over everything, dark and dirty, during the first section of the book. While we see the beginnings of light from Raoden’s efforts in the city, they don’t really come to much fruition.
If we throw out the nostalgia factor ‘Spirit’ has going for itself, ‘Shadow’ is my favorite of the three section titles.
As for the first section break, I just really like ending with having Hrathen poison himself. This makes our first section incredibly long—it takes up well over half of the book. I thought that was all right, however, since I figured increasingly short sections would enhance the pacing near the end of the book, speeding things up (hopefully.)
Fantasy is a slow-starting genre. Readers expect this, and hopefully they’ll invest enough in the story to keep them reading this long. I love the first half of ELANTRIS—it does what I want a book to do. It presents fun characters in interesting situations, then laces their actions with just enough of a thought-provoking air and an edge of excitement that the reader feels fulfilled. Writing is truth, and it should deal with important topics. However, before that truth must come enjoyment, I believe. If a book isn’t, first and foremost, fun to read, then I think the storyteller has failed. After that, he or she hopefully manages to deal with some real issues and questions—this is, in my opinion, what makes characters real.