Slow start this week on account of Worldcon fatigue, but we still managed to get a chapter done.
Whole lotta character stuff in this one, largely because in the next chapter we’re going to be dropping the Plot Hammer on them, which means it’s good to have a quieter moment first. And having laid a bunch of crossing threads between various people, now it’s time to show the full extent of the web. We’ve got running motifs on everything from a prose to a worldbuilding level about faces and masks; here you get to see some of those layers, and notice how that makes certain characters oddly similar, often in ways they wouldn’t want to acknowledge.
I’m honestly really pleased with how this chapter turned out. Going in, it felt to me more like setup for the exciting stuff in the next one, and it’s easy for something like that to come across like we’re just marking time. But since the reader knows something is coming, even if the pov character doesn’t, there’s a little bit of a “ticking time bomb” feeling here. Add in the character stuff, and some good old-fashioned spectacle, and a very pertinent question being asked with no warning at all, and there’s real meat here, instead of just a platter for what follows.
Word count: ~89000
Authorial sadism: A grieving character being happy for a moment, and then feeling guilty for feeling happy. Also, rubbing some nice salted lemon juice in a wound later on. Also also, the end of the chapter, but that’s really setup for next week . . .
Authorial amusement: Dressing one of our male characters like a legendary courtesan — and then finding legit reasons to use that for exposition, character development, and plot. And then playing out the reaction to him being dressed that way.
BLR quotient: I’m . . . going to go with love, even if the insights R— had into people during this chapter are actually a really bad thing for reasons that are not apparent right now? But we also had our first onstage kiss, so I’ll say that counts. I dunno; this is one of those chapters where the blood, love, and rhetoric are kind of neck-and-neck.