A first look at Sola and the Senator: a RAW version of Chapter 1

The prologue is still coming on Tuesday, but I decided to also show what a first draft looks like (well, my own anyway). Here is the raw version of Chapter 1, unedited. This is the first nine-hundred words or so. Writing is not my profession, so I am curious as to how your process works, but I like to write a lot first without looking back, then return to make serious changes. Essentially I end up writing it all out many times, but I feel that that first run-through is my best alternative for avoiding procrastination and getting started. I would, however, welcome a more efficient way if you know of one.

Andro is one of my POVs and Sola (S is for Sola!) is one of my favourite cities that I created. It is inspired by ancient Rome and resembles its size and some of its culture. Hope you like it as the very first excerpt on this blog!

Chapter 1 (unedited) – Senator

20 years later…

The walk to the Senate building was a long one, much too long for a man so old as Andro. His joints ached with every step in the latter half of the journey. Sola was a massive city, the “greatest in all the world” was the common saying, so it seemed odd that those with decision making power in the Senate must therefore suffer in this way. Between the Senate apartments and the Senate itself was the arena, the central markets, not to mention a larger residential district. After that waited the long spiral of the cobbled pathway to the top of the palace grounds. The Senate stood on the opposite end of the grounds to the Royal Palace, where the other half of Sola’s government lived.

Andro knew well why his commute each and every day to the palace grounds was one of struggle, especially in the heat. Today it was – as usual in the Spring, Summer, Autumn, and half of the Winter it seemed in the southern nation – hot and sunny. Sola was known for the warm climate, and envied by some of the North, but not by Andro. The sixty-two year old senator would have preferred a cool breeze and some cloud cover while wearing the heavy and dark, violet robes.

It is a wonder that some believe the distance between my apartment and the Dome a mere coincidence. A coincidence? Ha! Never, he mused. The Royals ruled long before the Senate existed, but when Sola’s own citizens, and those living in the surrounding cities pressured some form of representation beyond their single ruler, the Senate and its one hundred and thirty-nine representatives was born. The Royal at that time – Niero? Galago? Ah! What was it? Doesn’t matter. My Leader, this heat! Damn this walk and whomever made it. It must have been Niero, that prick – allowed the construction of the Senate on his own household grounds, surprisingly with little resistance. The external pressure was far too strong to attempt a suppression. His displeasure at sharing the power of Sola, however, was expressed in a cunning move to have the living quarters of the senators built on the other side of the huge city. He knew that the old men chosen to represent the people would have to walk through more than a few public areas before reaching the foot of the Senate hill. The combination of the distance for the old men, and the potential for running into angry, disagreeing citizens along the way, created weary, exhausted challengers to the Royal’s opinions. The tactic was cruel, there was no debating that, but it had proved to be effective. Each of the Royals for the following generations found themselves an equal match for their political counterparts, even though they were outnumbered more than a hundred to one. The reality of that tradition continued to this day.

As the Senate building stood on one side of the perfectly maintained palace grounds, the Royals had little choice but to make the building a site to behold – their power and excellence must never be questioned – and even its interior was filled in a comfortable arrangement. Despite the number of faults to the senator lifestyle, Andro was glad for that.

He rounded the final corner of the winding walkway, making his way upward to the day’s important proceedings. The last stretch was the steepest, yet provided a beautiful view of Sola, as it faced the north east. He stood as he did on most days for a moment or two, looking down on the site of the capital, the crown jewel of their great civilization.

The palace grounds of the Solan Royals stood atop a high, flat-topped hill in the south-west corner of the central district. The square in front of the grand palace once extended straight out over the streets, supported by massive, stone columns covered in centuries-old sculpted artwork. When the Senate was first envisioned, the Royals decided to build it upon the bare hill of the same size, located directly across from the edge of the old palace square. The result was the massive palace on one side and the large, though smaller, dome-shaped Senate building on the other. They faced each other, the two symbols of power for all to see. It was decided some three-hundred and seventy years ago that the palace square should be extended to meet the Senate. The Leader’s Peace had brought international trade to Sola, and the city was wealthier than it had ever been, and wealthier than any other city in the world ever was, making the expensive undertaking possible.

The palace grounds, as they were still called, were now one of the great wonders of the world, natural or man made. The colossal feat of architecture and engineering brilliance stood many times higher than the arena, the next tallest structure in Sola. Like a lone shrub surrounded by short grass, it could be seen from many miles away in every direction. Two giant symbols of power standing face to face, connected by a flat, stone bridge resembling an absurdly wide aqueduct, with dozens of column supports reaching down to the ground between the hills. Each column was the width of a watch tower stretching over one hundred feet towards the skies. A pathway began at the foot of each hill and wound their way upwards in nearly complete circles before reaching the flat top, which Andro now stepped onto.

(the end…for now)

Andro then proceeds to enter the Senate to discuss important matters in how to deal with the new westerners and their recent advances past Sola’s western borders. He is not one of my top favourite characters, yet I really like what I have created with the nation as a whole.

What are your thoughts?

© 2013 FOTS Fantasy


  1. Very nice. Taking notes on scene setting right now! *scribbles down notes*
    I tend to jump too quickly into action, I think. I was excited to finally to get read your work, and it was worthy of the anticipation.

    1. I think it’s best just to switch it up from section to section, or chapter to chapter for how early the action comes into play. I’m happy you liked it, it only gets better after editing 🙂

  2. Having been to Rome, I was taken back to the Forum Romanum and its once grand buildings by your scene. Great scene painting!

    1. Great to hear that you could picture it in your head a little. I still have yet to visit Rome but I hope and expect to, sooner than later. 😀

  3. Wonderful start! You have a great sense of world-building, and I look forward to seeing more.

    1. I really appreciate it, thank you. 🙂

  4. This is quite good for a first draft! I can picture it in my head well, and that is always important! One thing that I would suggest, as you edit, is to weave the description into the action. For example, in the first paragraph you list out the places and and streets on the way to the Senate. Something that might work better there is actually having Andro walk past those things and see them, though only briefly (since he walks past them all the time he probably doesn’t pay a lot of attention to them).
    I really like that this character is older! Most fantasy novels do not include anyone over thirty-five as a main character. I hope he plays a big role!
    Good work and keep it up!

    1. Wow, thanks so much Emily!! I’ve already noted your suggestion next to my chapter notes. It’s a great idea. And yes, I thought adding in some older characters was a good balance. I have a few over forty years old.

      1. I’m glad to hear it! I always like reading about older characters. I look forward to reading more!

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