The chapter is — viewed from a distance — a lot of little things. Some of them are potentially important. But. Do they all belong in a chapter as part of the primary narrative structure, or are they incidental things that might be told as recollections?

Or do they matter at all?

Campbell’s Hero’s Journey story has three elements: a departure, an initiation, and a return. The initiation begins with “the road of trials". And the trials need to begin with a proper opening. The opening of the book is the opening of the Departure portion of the story. The opening of the Initiation section needs to have a suitable introduction to what’s happening and what’s at stake.

Campbell identifies a “belly of the whale” section that could be a bridge between Departure and Initiation. Campbell’s pattern of reveals in that section is the willingness to embark on the Road of Trials. It’s not a trial, per se. It’s often a kind of meta-trial, a warm-up match.

And the more I look at this chapter, the less I like it. The drama is too small-scale. At this point, in the story, the costs and risks should be larger.

I’m not 100% sure the pitch should rise steadily from beginning to end. I think there are crests and troughs. But I’m not sure this is the place for a trough, though, and some (or all) of this chapter needs a replacement.

The previous draft didn’t personalize the protagonist's problems well. The antagonist was an amorphous social system in the process of collapse. While “realistic” (a difficult word to use when writing #SFF,) it’s not compelling. It wasn't a bad guy exploiting the collapse.

I think the chapter really should be the bad guy’s deep introduction. The “Road of Trials” means obstacles erected by the bad guy.

To get a better sense of what’s going on, I’m rewriting the following chapters to make sure that I really understand the missing context and setups.