I need to step up the pace on the after-the-fact progress blogging if I want to finish this when we finish the book!
Chapter 20 escaped the non-linearity of this particular book’s drafting process mostly by dint of us changing our minds about five minutes before we started writing. We had a plan for the chapter, but it felt a clunky enough that we ended up chucking it. This is a stage of the story where it matters quite a lot where anybody is at any given time, and we had Ren being in Place A, then going to Place B, before going back to Place A for the big thing next chapter, which . . . really just chopped things up in an undesirable way. Combine that with us deciding to scrap a social confrontation we’d originally intended to deal with a certain problem, and it meant I sent Alyc an email literally the morning that we were going to start writing this that was like a thousand words of me thinking with my fingers until I arrived at a new proposal. We had a quick phone call to polish that up into something workable, and then we dove in.
We’re also doing something here which is a little bit tricky to navigate. One of the ongoing plots is, by deliberate design, a thing that isn’t all about our viewpoint characters. It’s absolutely related to what they’re doing, but it’s big enough that having it all be driven by their actions would feel really simplistic and reductionist. So instead we’re trying to go a route where their previous efforts have set stuff up, and their interventions at various points do have an effect, but they aren’t around to see everything, much less to control it. I suspect not all readers will find that satisfying, but . . . sometimes I have an issue with the mentality so common in modern Western fantasy, which Ada Palmer and Jo Walton dissect in this essay, where everything comes down to the actions of a few special people. We’re actively trying to avoid that here, but because reader expectation is often that it’s All About the Heroes, striking the right balance will be an interesting challenge.
Word count: ~146,000
Authorial sadism: Making Ren fail.
Authorial amusement: Off-label uses for numinatria.
BLR quotient: Rhetoric is literally having a shouting match with itself here.