Join me weekdays in July for discussions of Enna Burning. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. I'll try to keep each day's discussion spoiler-free for future chapters in case you are reading for the first time.
The Title: We went through many title ideas. The one I used in my initial outline in 2002 was Fire Speaker.
The map: You may notice the map is different in Goose Girl than here. I believe the artist misunderstood my initial drawing as it looks like the rivers just ended in the Goose Girl map, but here they are properly shown as ending in a river delta and the Rosewood Sea.
Prologue: I remember being so excited that I was starting a new book, for Mother's Day I printed up and gave my mom the prologue. And she was alarmed. This didn't seem anything like her beloved Goose Girl. After all, a woman dies at the end of this prologue! The first draft prologue is essentially the same as the final in structure and content, though few sentences are actually the same.
Enna: I chose to write Enna because I wanted to tell a story from the POV of a character who was very different from Ani, and Enna is very different from Ani. From the beginning of my career, I've always wanted to make sure I'm telling new stories. I never want to get in a rut.
"Enna let the fire burn out." This was the first line in my first draft too.
"You're not always happy here." Initially she was. Enna was content in the Forest and had no intention of ever leaving. But there was just no dramatic tension that way. An understandably common theme in young adult literature is the main character finding their place in the world, and if the character has already found it from the beginning, there's no journey needed. Otherwise, the plot is just stuff happening to the character, rather than the character moving forward, propelled by the action. Once I let go of that idea for Enna, not only the story but her character began making more sense.
Here's a paragraph from the first draft: Enna had lived for five years in the city and had cherished her time there, but mostly because others like herself surrounded her, their eyes also haunted by loneliness for the Forest. The city was a forest of towers and tottering houses and things that did not grow. Only this, she thought, feeling as though she could inhale the entire forest into her lungs, only this was home.
page break on 8: If I wrote this now, I'd start a new chapter there. But ten years ago, I preferred long chapters that felt like their own short stories. Not saying that one is better than the other, but each book reflects where I was then as a writer.
"If I'm patient then you don't need to be, because one of us already is.": I think here Finn is already imagining they are a couple, leaning on each other's strengths and weaknesses.
pages 13-17: originally this section was very different. First, Finn didn't arrive in the story yet. Also, I was fond of the peace-keepers from Goose Girl and initially intended for them to be a large part of the story. In this chapter, Leifer called a meeting of peace-keepers and tried to incite them to action against the city, showing his power to them. But so many other things in the book pulled me away from the peace-keeper idea so later I cut them out entirely.
"Hearing and telling unbelievable stories makes it easier to believe when strange things happen": I think we're all well-prepared for the zombie apocalypse.
Burns: You know you're a writer when you burn your finger and immediately focus on the sensation and try to find the right words to describe it. I had no trouble describing Enna's pain. I'd practiced telling that story to myself every time I'd ever burned a finger.