In light of Celestial’s upcoming release on May 12 and all the fun I had compiling ‘107 Spoiler Free Facts’ about it in a previous blog, why don’t we do even more fun facts about Celestial? Only this time, I’m gonna share a single fact about each chapter in the book. (It also might be fun for you guys to return to this article after you’ve read the book too.) Don’t worry. No spoilers allowed.
The Prologue - This opening sequence was originally the beginning portion of Celestial’s original Chapter 1 and tied loosely with its following sequence. However, after the initial first chapter got scrapped, I found this beginning actually tied the entire story together well on its own. Hence why its been preserved as the prologue today.
Chapter 1 - The first chapter used to involve this epic battle wherein huge numbers of every angelic type showcased their abilities for the audience. An army angel named Chrioni was at the helm of it all and even coordinated a fire tornado to wipe out the enemy line! Unfortunately, it had very little to do with the main characters or the story, so now the only surviving piece of the original beginning survives in Chrioni’s brief appearance in this chapter.
Chapter 2 - This chapter is one of the most Biblically grounded sections of Celestial from its imagery, to its characters, to its dialogue. It also contains one of my personal favorite scenes I ever had the pleasure (and immense challenge) to describe.
Chapter 3 - The decision to have the cells of the Abyss sealed by black pools of water was inspired by moments recorded in Scripture when demons begged Jesus not to send them into the pit, which is sometimes translated as ‘the depths’. Words like ‘depths’ and ‘abyss’ have often been used in association with large bodies of water.
Chapter 4 - There was a deleted moment in this chapter where the ever-curious Akela touched one of the Abyss’s pools and almost freezes his arm off. This was meant to show readers how the water kept demons in their cells as well as Jediah’s kinder side as he aids Akela. Sadly, as much as I personally loved this moment, the scene sidetracked the story too much.
Chapter 5 - The scene with the boys is set in a very real place you can visit and is heavily based on true phenomena that occurred there. I admit I also added a smidge more to it from a particularly intimidating experience I had in my own life…one I would not want to repeat.
Chapter 6 - This chapter used to be twice the size it is now. That’s because, when the story was written for a videogame, it was fashioned as a tutorial sequence for gamers to learn trickier mechanics. As soon as I began re-writing the story for a book audience though, the focus turned solely toward getting the characters acquainted with each other and their situation.
Chapter 7 - The scene with the cat was originally the conclusion to chapter five. It was written as a means to showcase Nechum’s kind nature as well as his ingenuity. Later on, though, I found this moment accomplished a whole lot more story-wise if Jediah was able to witness and reflect on it himself. The cat is also a loving combination of two family pets I had.
Chapter 8 - Being a custodian myself and knowing the high access janitors generally have in any given building made determining what Nechum’s *ahem* ‘decision’ should be was a no-brainer to me.
Chapter 9 - This chapter originally involved a lot more Biblical debating between Jediah and a particular character. The whole thing felt too antagonistic and not very charming or compelling though, so I opted for a much quieter and meaningful interplay between the two.
Chapter 10 - This chapter got re-written…a lot. Beta-readers and my own family were having a terrible time keeping track of the action with all the scene cuts it involved. Solidifying which three characters were most important to follow resolved the issue for me but caused whole hunks of story to get eliminated…including one of my personal favorite comedic scenes. *Sigh* Such is the life of a writer.
Chapter 11 - An argument between the angels was planned here, but my Dad’s comment on how uncharacteristically hostile it sounded prompted me to dial it way back. Besides, big arguments between friends is too cliché in modern storytelling anyway.
Chapter 12 - The conversation between Jediah and Nechum in this chapter was one of the last scenes to be added in the book’s final version.
Chapter 13 - Jediah’s opponent in this chapter was originally a nameless minion, but the need to connect my main protagonist with my main antagonist more quickly and more closely led me to fleshing out this ‘minion’ a lot more. Thus, he got upgraded to getting a lot more scenes, a developed backstory, and even a name.
Chapter 14 - While the dialogue in this chapter’s pivotal conversation went through many many re-writes, it was one of my all time favorites to script. Mostly because it involved giving my inner theological debates a voice through each character. (I tend to debate myself a lot.) They were re-fashioned to better fit each character’s personalities of course.
Chapter 15 - The conversation between Laszio and Eran here originally took place much later and involved them sharing manna together. When the scene moved to this chapter, however, their new circumstances didn’t lend well to the sharing of any sort of snack, so…manna got cut.
Chapter 16 - There originally was an entire scene here that involved a group of nature angels partaking in a sort of recreational game. This was my attempt to insert some remnant of the mini-game I had planned for Celestial ‘the videogame’. Once again, though, videogames and books have very different needs. Celestial ‘the book’ did not need the flagrant story detour.
Chapter 17 - To my unexpected surprise, this chapter is my Dad’s absolute favorite. The scene with the sword touched him in particular, and every once in a while, he likes to playfully pretend to swish a sword around to reference it when he’s with me.
Chapter 18 - I based the layout of the library building off of my own hometown library.
Chapter 19 - I gave one of my Christian friends a vague little cameo in this chapter.
Chapter 20 - It took hours to find adequate pictures and maps to the layout of an infamous historical site I featured here. Turns out, the government of the country it resides in is very protective about it, so orienting myself enough to properly present the place in Celestial took some doing.
Chapter 21 - Akela was originally going to criticize Alameth’s aloof behavior in this chapter, but this was way left-field to Akela’s character…and rather cliché if I’m gonna be honest. Instead, God led me write a heartwarming moment that actually helped to finally cement in my mind precisely who Akela is and what he should be for the rest of Celestial’s development.
Chapter 22 - The main antagonist and the demon he’s interacting with here were originally going to get along well. However, to drive home precisely how out of place my antagonist is to everyone around him, I reconsidered and found it made a lot more sense for the two to not exactly see eye to eye.
Chapter 23 - I planned a big flashback scene in this chapter, but after a while, I felt I wasn’t really doing the emotions of the scene or the characters justice. No flashback.
Chapter 24 - Mom helped me pinpoint and fix this chapter’s more confusing parts while I was swimming in a pool in Florida. Ironically, this was the same exact pool where I finished the very first chapter of Celestial eight years prior.
Chapter 25 - The interrogation scene used to be a lot longer and was originally planned to be the big backstory reveal moment. It’s not anymore in case you’re wondering.
Chapter 26 - I’m usually a stickler for writing all my chapters in order. Funnily enough, the events of this chapter were so vivid so early in my mind that I allowed myself to go ahead and write it out long before its turn in my chapter timeline. It still underwent many renditions but kept the main beats.
Chapter 27 - Figuring out how to time the resolutions to each angel’s conflictions with each other bugged me a lot because they dragged out too long. The final version of this chapter, though, astronomically helped resolve most of the issues.
Chapter 28 - The main events of this chapter were formerly going to occur in completely separate chapters. They also took place in a sewer system and a cheap motel room—both locations ended up completely cut from the book though.
Chapter 29 - The big conversation in this chapter weighed on my heart for so long, I typed out the first version of it on my tiny iPod long before I transcribed it to the official manuscript. It also was originally going to take place inside the burned remains of an abandoned church. If you hadn’t guessed yet, the burned church is no longer part of the story either.
Chapter 30 - The climax took up two chapters formerly, but after some consideration, it became clear there really should be two battlefronts. Thus, the climax had a lot more ground to cover—literally and figuratively.
Chapter 31 - I can’t quite remember exactly how many times I changed this entire sequence. Probably over twenty.
Chapter 32 - This conversation between our main protagonist and antagonist was a sudden addition that came to me while I was taking a brief break from my usual church cleaning duties. I rapidly typed it out in the very room I’d be vacuuming a few minutes later.
Chapter 33 - I can hardly take personal credit for this book. Only God Himself in His graciousness could put any of it in my imagination. However, this chapter’s bridge scene was probably the most sudden, God-fueled idea of them all and birthed what I think is the key moment that ties the entire story together. Seriously. Every time I try to recall when I first preplanned that moment I find I simply can’t. It’s like it came out of nowhere, yet I can’t imagine Celestial working nearly so well or maybe not at all without it. To me, that scene’s sudden conception felt like God Himself literally dotting the final period in Celestial’s narrative—almost like inserting His signature.
The Epilogue - It’s hard to give a fun fact about the ending without spoiling it, so I’m just gonna keep all secrets for this one under-wraps…for now…at least until after Celestial has been out for a while.
Bonus Fact - Celestial has a whole lost chapter! It focused solely on Akela’s little ‘trip’ and would’ve taken place between chapters 11 and 12. I resisted deleting it for the longest time. It was fun to put together and fun to read. Sadly, I couldn’t justify keeping it. It was an important sequence and all. It did play a part in the story, but since Akela wasn’t completely at the plot’s center like Jediah or Nechum was, I kept getting that pesky feeling the chapter was more a diversion than a necessity. Thus perished Celestial’s lost chapter. Who knows? Maybe it’ll resurface in a special edition of Celestial later on or as exclusive content for my subscribers. Only time will tell.
I hope you enjoyed this blog! Want more fun facts about Celestial? Check out ‘107 Spoiler Free Facts About Celestial’ right here on FlyingFaith! Celestial releases on May 12, 2022, and is available now for pre-order at a discounted price on all your favorite online book retailers! Please, consider subscribing down below for monthly news, 25% discount on editing services, and to be a part of the prize draw coming up on April 16th!
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