Thursday, 17 June 2010

"The Horned Moon in Her Hair"

Roman statue of Luna, by antmoose@flickr.com - released under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence The latest chapter of Killer-Kate and Luke Lackland just closed. I still haven't got up to the Wassail: some stuff previously placed after it came forward and changed the central conversation. Wassail this time! There is nothing but Yule-night in the new chapter, so it should have a harder job getting away from me.

Part of the difficulty of spinning this yarn lies in its internal logic. If my protagonists were just old villains turned heroes at last, it would be easier to tell of them. But this tale is in large part about heroism, and even true individual greatness, as a mutual venture between a whole bunch of collaborators. That needs a lot of differentiated characters putting their oar into the mix, without diffusing the focus on the people the tale is about. This is hard for the same reason it is worth doing, which is another reason that this middle section is going to need a lot of pruning before I'm done with it.

That's my dilemma. My principal non-protagonist character - the Founder of Fairfields - has her own, which has grown out of these exploratory chapters. On the one hand, she is much more powerful, reverend, and (in some ways) wise than any of her comrades. On the other, she believes much more strongly than almost any of them in the root equality of human beings. How far can she use her extraordinary ability and reputation to advance this cause, without fatally undercutting her own point? Conversely, if she avoids dominating the discourse, how far can she fend off people's natural tendency to set up heroes and hierarchies, or her community's understandable inclination to set her and her talented household at the top of the tree?

Whenever she escapes one horn, she inevitably gets tossed on the other. This was the chapter where the depth of her frustration, and the shape of its necessary workaround, came clear to me at last. And boy, what a workaround it will be if I can work it! She's seemed somewhat less than herself in many of her scenes so far: this resolution, I think, is heroic in the sense I want, and a defining moment for her character within the present story. Here is one of the big lights by which I'll want to do my rewrite.

The Kateverse is a fantasy setting, of course, on whose enchanted margins abstractions can turn suddenly and shockingly concrete.

I wonder how the same dilemma has been resolved, here in the fields we know?

And I wonder how often a gifted leader can bring themselves to attempt the feat? For real, I mean, and no bull!

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