Thursday, 4 November 2010

"Marrow of My Marrow"

Et in Arcadia Ego, saith the Great Leveller - Nicolas Poussin, 1637-8 - public domain, via Yorck Project and Wikimedia CommonsFinished another chapter and got Kate's party to Garcastle. All three main antagonists here sprung major surprises on me, putting both me and my characters very much on our mettle. The Young Duke especially is coming alive much earlier than I'd expected him to, which will make the end of the Rising arc work a deal better - unless he manages to prang my whole plan. We'll see.

Less happy with the excess of archaic fustian at this juncture, and I'll need structural change to get rid of it - there are just too many diplomatic introductions and official positionings for the dialogue to get much more natural. The obvious least-cost way to prune it is to tell some of the less important preliminaries in summary, rather than showing them outright. I'm not sure how desirable this will be otherwise, or how likely it is to be sufficient. One for the redraft, that!

The good part is that all the formal posing is out of the way now, and that I can rack down the tone to natural human speech again.

Two more chapters before the arc climax, I think.

The most unexpected aspect of this whole telling was discovering how - just as the endemic wrongs visited upon the helpless small-folk of the Dales are sending Fiery Younger Sister off into heroic and terrible orbit - they are bringing my harsh old battlecrow Kate down to earth. I've known since the latter chapters of Katy Elflocks how much pinched and denied compassion she's always had in her; known since the middle of this yarn how extravagantly it can burst forth, in these last days when she has found her compass at last.

But always on a slant - higher to lower, hero to victim, and with action at the end of it. To feel it on a level, fellow to fellow, though there is nothing to do about it but laying a stone on her nameless dead countryman's cairn? I didn't even know she could feel that way, until she brushed my opinions aside and did it anyway.

Never half-measures, never foreseeable, always more herself than ever...

About the three-quarter mark of the tale, now. My Golden Kate is still not, even by mediaevaloid standards, a nice person. But by the Sun, Moon, and Stars, I think I'm going to miss her when we're through!

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