Linkity Links

My lovely friend Becky has created an awesome worldbuilding resource for fantasy writers. Check it out!

Also, you may have seen this already, but I just found the scanned image of one of J. K. Rowling’s outlines for keeping track of subplots, and I kind of love it. It seems to me like doing this could be a great thing for editing – could really help you make sure each chapter is advancing plot and that the subplots are being advanced at an even rate.

I just found and love love love this post by Maureen Johnson, in which she expresses a view basically identical to mine (if more eloquent) about the “crisis” in “boy books” and boys reading. I had a teacher come into the library yesterday looking for a book to read aloud to her class who said she was especially concerned about getting one that would appeal to the boys. Look, I know that on some level you want to do whatever seems most likely to increase literacy and get kids interested in books. But – well, I can’t say it any better than Johnson does in her post.

And finally, YA Highway is a cool blog about teen books, writing, and various related things by a group of YA authors. Fun stuff.

And That’s Not Even Getting Into “Inception” Territory

. . . mostly because I still haven’t seen Inception. Yeah, yeah, I will. Sometime. But! I’ve been thinking about the role of dreams in fiction.

This is mostly because I’m now reading The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. I enjoyed his Percy Jackson books, and The Red Pyramid, and I like this one so far. While I’ve found the three series pleasantly distinct in many ways, they all feature vivid dreams in which characters see events that are really happening as they take place. Gods and other beings use dreams to contact people. In The Red Pyramid, people’s souls/spirits/essences/floaty dream selves actually travel to where the events are unfolding, sometimes even being glimpsed by others on the scene. Since all the major characters of these books have supernatural backgrounds, this is taken in stride, and all dreams are taken seriously. As of yet, no one has suggested that hey, maybe this time, it was just a random sequence of subconscious brain blips. And Mr. Riordan has a field day being able to describe stuff that’s happening to other characters halfway around the world without having to switch POV characters.

This made me think of dreams in other books I’ve read. The fact that dreams are actually a pretty bizarre phenomenon when you think about it, are familiar to most people, have a rich tradition of symbolism and mythos, and are still not terribly well-understood, allows authors to use them all kinds of ways.

(Which phrase should alert you that you are about to encounter A LIST! Huzzah for lists!)

What’s that? You want a list of some ways authors use dreams, as remembered offhand by me? Well, if you insist. You guys and your wacky list obsessions!

  • Not at all. This does not necessarily mean that characters do not dream, although it could. (That guy in ALIEN who never dreams? Spoilers – HE’S A ROBOT!)
  • “That night, she dreamed of chasing her brother through a hedge maze full of wolves.” May be described in more detail, but generally just intended to show you the current state of the character’s psyche. May, alternately, skip telling you that it is a dream and launch directly into, “She stood in a dark, oddly rustling corridor. Hedges? Where was she? And what was that howling noise?” Depending on how it’s done and how critical a reader you are, you may catch onto the “dream” aspect of this little interval immediately, or may be confused until our heroine wakes up – probably in a cold sweat – at which point you will be annoyed. Probably. If you’re me.
  • Message delivery in service of specific entities with that capability (e.g. the spirit of Martin the Warrior in the Redwall books), or one with whom the dreamer is connected (e.g. Harry and Voldemort; also common with love interests and with twin siblings).
  • Message delivery in service of the character’s subconscious. These messages will be, understandably, more internal than those of the previous category.
  • Prophesy. This is an interesting one, because characters often wonder whether their dreams could be prophetic or otherwise meaningful, whether they actually are or not.
  • Spirit travel. I haven’t seen this often, but hey, it’s one to add to the list. And Harry Potter sorta kinda does this, sorta.
  • “It was all a dream!” This is like the second wolf-hedge maze example above, only it encompasses the whole story. Thankfully, this is becoming less and less common as I systematically hunt down every person who does it.

Am I missing any, guys? Do you include dreams in your stories? In what way?

It Just So Happens . . .

I recently came across an explanation of an interesting writing technique. One ubiquitous but practically invisible until you’re thinking about it, at which point you see it everywhere. Especially in mystery-type stories/movies/TV shows.

The fact is that there are many things people simply aren’t likely to remember. If I asked you right now what you were doing the evening of Wednesday, January 5, would you remember that offhand?

Ah, but what if January 5 was your kid’s birthday? Would you remember then?

Coincidences like this come up frequently when someone is being investigated. Shortly after learning about the technique, I came across an example in Alan Bradley’s excellent book The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Not a significant spoiler: an innkeeper being questioned on a guest says he’s sure the fellow never stayed there before because the guest’s surname is the same as the innkeeper’s wife’s maiden name, and he’d have remembered seeing it.

Naturally, coincidences are to be handled with care. What makes them work well for this purpose is that they’re quick, passing references that basically mean the person being questioned doesn’t have to go through her day planner for the last month or whatever. You might think of them as harmless coincidences. The plot does not hinge on them. They just keep things moving.

You could, of course, create a seeming coincidence that’s actually meaningful. Say a baker remembers a particular customer because she ordered a birthday cake on the baker’s own birthday. The cake may not actually be connected to the baker’s birthday, but it could have meaning in the story beyond being a plot-provided memory aid for the baker. Maybe it’s a clue. Maybe it’s the murder weapon. (Okay, maybe not. Can you drown in cake? Hmm . . .)

A Curious Case

I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say that people are annoyed when protagonists, despite having the same information, fail to understand things that are obvious to readers. However, there’s a seeming exception to this that I’ve encountered frequently.

Protagonist: Gosh, Doc, I feel like I’m going crazy here. There’s this nice, attractive person with whom I’ve spent a lot of time lately, and now everybody is giving us knowing looks and making veiled comments and stuff. What could possibly cause them to do this?

Fictional Psychologist: Do you think they assume you and that nice, attractive person are romantically –


Fictional Psychologist: Do you see the two of you as –

Protagonist: Absolutely not. There is no way that could possibly be the case. Maybe you should see a Fictional Psychologist, you crazy person.

Fictional Psychologist: Is there a reason you feel so –


Fictional Psychologist: You don’t think that’s a little –

Protagonist: I’M LEAVING NOW.

I feel like I see this all the time, sometimes in awesome books, sometimes . . . less awesome.

Done carelessly, it can be ridiculous, but there are actual reasons to make your protagonist a little dense about these things. Many people can identify (up to a point) with someone who feels lost and confused when it comes to love, especially if the character is inexperienced with romance. You can also risk making your protagonist seem big-headed if s/he guesses too easily that s/he might be the object of someone’s affections. Then, there’s the fact that many stories require the protagonist and her/his romantic interest to hold off on their *gasp* WE ARE IN LOVE moment until the end.

When this doesn’t work, it’s often because the author seems not to have considered the protagonist’s personality when inserting this little blind spot. If a person has no serious self-esteem issues, and particularly if s/he has been in a romantic relationship before, the idea that another person finds her/him attractive should not be a huge shocker. Indeed, it may be that s/he should really catch on earlier rather than later, and that if you want to avert this, you’ll have to find another way to do it.

Be especially careful with excess modesty in more general areas. If a character believes s/he is not good-looking/smart/talented/capable, but actually distinctly is good-looking/smart/talented/capable/ESPECIALLY GOOD-LOOKING, proceed with caution. Yes, lots of people are modest. On some level, though, if they don’t have self-esteem problems, smart people know they are smart, and pretty people know they are pretty. There are exceptions, but think about it: if you’re truly beautiful, life tells you that. Same with intelligence. Refusing to believe it without good reason makes a character sound less modest and more like that skinny friend who whines about being so fat, or that straight-As top-of-the-class friend who is always sure that this test will come back with an F. You probably don’t want your protagonist to seem to be fishing for compliments.

It all comes down to that oh-so-common dilemna of how to do the things that you need for the plot in a way that works for the story.

And now, for something completely different: stop words!

Break It Down

So, I just read The Hunger Games and its sequel, Catching Fire. Besides the fact that I am wildly in love with this trilogy, literally missed a meal one day while reading them because I forgot to eat, and would pretty much trade Suzanne Collins a kidney to get the last book, Mockingjay, before August because I MUST KNOW* . . . yes, besides all that, I discovered an odd little commonality. Thus, a riddle:

On Free-for-Alls

I just read a book that included a big free-for-all fight scene with which I had some issues. Thinking about it, I realized I have some very specific thoughts on what makes this kind of scene fly or flop. So, you get to read about them!

When you’ve spent a lot of page time developing a large cast, and you then have a big wacky scene in which they’re all involved, it’s natural to want to show the reader what all of them are doing. One hopes that they’re now interested in the characters and will like to see what part each of them has in this wild scene – which could be a party or other gathering, but is probably most often a fight.

The good news is that you can do this, and do it well. You can describe what everyone – or most everyone, at least – is doing. You just have to avoid the pitfall of making it seem like that’s what you’re doing.

To go broader for a moment: a common cause of problematic writing is what you might call Author Peekaboo. You’re reading along, and the story is moving based on what the characters want or need to do. You’re looking at the characters. Then – peekaboo! – a scene that belongs to the author rather than the characters. Basically, a scene is a problem if it seems to the reader like you put it in because you wanted to, whether to push the plot somewhere or, as is usually the case with free-for-all scenes, for awesomeness’ sake. Yes, some people will cynically pick out the “plot reason” for even very reasonable story developments, but if they are reasonable story developments, even these people won’t likely be bothered. And while I hope you enjoy your writing, you don’t want readers thinking, “Boy, the author sure liked this scene.” Readers should be seeing your characters, not you.

Now, to go narrower: the way to avoid this in free-for-all scenes is to make sure you describe only what your POV character would actually be paying attention to. Assuming s/he is not a complete spectator to this event – which, by the way, would be really annoying to read – then s/he simply will not be able to take in everything that is happening at once.

When an author writes a long passage of –

Celia and Derek crashed through the hall on the back of Celia’s horse, swords swinging, scattering the invaders. Emma seemed to have finally got the hang of the fireball spell, and was tossing flames in all directions from the shelter of an overturned table. Francis leapt onto another table, kicked a wineglass into an invader’s face, and ran down the tabletop, lashing out with both ends of his spear.

– usually much, much longer and more detailed, and often detailing the actions of over a dozen characters –

– this is what is in the author’s head:
“Hooray! Plot-relevant action combined with character development! Celia and Derek are sharing a horse after I’ve pushed them together for two hundred pages/three volumes of the series! Bumbling Emma makes good! Francis looks super-hot, leading nicely into his first kiss with Padma Protagonist after the battle!”

This is what is in the reader’s head, at least if the reader is me:
“What is Padma doing? Is she just standing there watching all this? How come no one is attacking her? How come she’s not helping? Why am I reading from the viewpoint of someone so useless, anyway?”

(The above passage should set off alarms regardless, because you can’t tell whose point of view it’s in at all.)

So you want to focus on what your protagonist is immediately paying attention to, and this should be related to what she is immediately doing, which should really be SOMETHING. A great way to do this and still show what all your lovely characters are up to is to make your protagonist physically move through the fight. Now being a great time to throw in this entry’s obligatory Harry Potter reference, I’ll mention the big battle at the end of Deathly Hallows. Even here, I found events a tiny bit list-y at times, but mostly, the scene works very well, and it’s because Harry has his own super-important goal. He’s moving through the battle, and we mostly glimpse only the pieces of it that get in his way or distract them by specifically endangering one of his bestest best friends. This is a good way to operate. Keep your protagonist’s focus narrow, the way it would actually be in a big crazy life-and-death struggle.

So, maybe this:

Padma drew her sword, only to leap aside at Derek’s warning shout. He and Celia thundered past on Celia’s horse, swords swinging. As the invaders scattered, Padma seized her chance, charging across the hall in her friends’ wake. Fifty feet to the barred door that led to the dungeons . . . forty feet . . . The invaders regrouped in front of her, snarling, their archers taking aim. Padma threw herself behind an overturned table.
“Oh Padma, it’s only you!” Emma crouched beside her, a sputtering ball of fire in one hand.
“I thought you couldn’t do those!” said Padma as Emma lobbed the fireball over the table.
“So did I. Oh! What is Francis doing?”
Francis! Padma risked a look around just as Francis leapt onto a table, kicking a wineglass into an invader’s face.
Padma shot a glance at the dungeon door. This diversion could be just what she needed. But what about Francis? He was now running down the tabletop, lashing out with both ends of his spear. What if something happened to him?

(You know, before Padma can get to the dungeon and release the giant monster fox that will snarf the invaders, because they’re all extremely violent fieldmice.)

The second passage has all the same info as the first one – indeed, more details. Unfortunately, the style of the first passage appears all too often. Just like any other scene, free-for-alls work best when you take the important stuff that’s happening and take your POV character and SMUSH THEM TOGETHER.

Who Said That?

I’m now editing (in a rewritey sort of way) Lord of the Dark Downs. This is interesting because, along with similar tension problems to the ones that I think my last edit fixed in Rabbit and Cougar, Lord of the Dark Downs has a lot of viewpoint switching. No, really, a lot. There are seven major characters, all of whom have POV sections of their own.

David Robbins told our writing class that when you switch POV, you jar the reader, so you’d better provide them a good payoff – a reward for sticking with you through the jolt and readjustment of getting into a different character’s head. So, since I’ve been thinking about this a lot, Reasons to Switch Viewpoints!

  1. The current POV character (often the protagonist) cannot be in the right place at the right time for some important event or information. Assuming this isn’t simply an instance of having chosen the wrong character for the protagonist, it may be a good time to throw in a section from someone else’s viewpoint. You can do this just once at the beginning of the book for setup (think of the Half-Blood Prince chapter that follows the Prime Minister), or pop over to alternate POV a couple of times (think the Voldemort sections in Deathly Hallows – although this is a little different, because it’s still sorta-kinda Harry’s POV). Some people are critical of the cut-to-what-the-villain’s-doing route, but it can be done well, and is certainly better than finding a really contrived way for the protagonist to find out.
  2. Expanding on this, sometimes you have multiple subplots happening in different places. Brian Jacques’ Redwall books do this all the time – the third-person POV is a little distant, so it’s not too jarring to have the camera swing over from the Defenders of Redwall to the Traveling Quest Party to the Villain’s Camp. David L. Robbins’ War of the Rats (which, um, I just realized really sounds like a Redwall book, but I promise it’s not) has four firmly-established viewpoints on two sides of the battle of Stalingrad.
  3. Subplots are collocated, but have seriously different goals or viewpoints. War of the Rats does this, too. The POV characters are two Russians and two Germans. They spend most of the book in the same city, and toward the end the snipers’ duel brings them into direct opposition so that switching viewpoints offers intense, and intensely different, takes on the situation.

    Furthermore – though this goes without saying when you have well-developed characters – the two Russians’ views differ even when they’re in the same room, as do those of the two Germans. Seeing the same events unfold through two wildly different filters of values and feelings can be at least as interesting as following characters in different places. (I don’t mean you have to go nonlinear in order to literally show the same events – having characters in the same place while the events are happening is enough.) On some level, every character has her own subplot. If Alex and Ben are in one place, even with one presumably shared goal, maybe Alex disagrees with Ben about how to accomplish it. Maybe Alex honestly doesn’t care about the goal as much as Ben does. Maybe Alex is secretly in love with Ben. Maybe Alex is planning to poison Ben.

  4. One character would have the greatest emotional reaction to the events of this scene. This is sort of the psychological version of, “Who’s in the right place at the right time?”

Wow, I accidentally covered oodles of stuff in Reason Three. This is the iffiest reason to switch POV, because every single character should be the center of her own subplot, however small or tame, and you simply can’t show all of their viewpoints. (Nor would you want to.)

So when do you switch? Well, it’s natural to do it when one of the other reasons also applies. What’s sometimes tougher, though, is how to do it.

You want to minimize confusion for the reader. Sometimes, this is easy. In Rabbit and Cougar, the chapters alternated POV. (This was basically for Reason Three. The two main characters are two different species from different cultures, and they have different reasons for traveling together and different abilities and opinions – Rabbit doesn’t know how to fight, for example, while Cougar can’t speak Elven. Toward the end, though, the characters do get separated, so Reason Two comes into it as well.) In Lord of the Dark Downs, though – for the purposes of this edit at least – I don’t want to throw in a chapter break for every POV switch. I do use line breaks, which is probably the very minimum heads-up you should give your reader when the POV is changing.

One hopes that every character’s voice is distinct enough for readers to know whose head they’re in, but realistically, it’s not always immediately obvious. I admit, a part of me thought, wouldn’t it be cool if they could print these in different colors? Which an e-version could totally do? But of course, the writing should stand alone better than that.

My solution is generally to include a grounding piece in the first paragraph after the line break that makes it obvious whose POV we’re in – a sentence that absolutely has to come from that character. Usually, this includes the character’s name. It might be, “Cedric found himself, again, the tallest person in the room,” or, “Katrina wondered when they would stop for lunch.” Later, once the viewpoint is established, I might be more likely to express this sort of sentiment with, “It had to be time for lunch. Wasn’t anyone else hungry?”

I’m up for the challenge of rewritey-editing (rewritediting?) Lord of the Dark Downs, but I don’t see me writing another seven-viewpoint story. Besides Rabbit and Cougar, all my other long works have one POV each – two in third-person and one in first-person.

Thoughts on point of view? What kind and how many have you used?

Repeat After Self: First. Draft.

. . . is what I keep having to tell myself as I press on through the last fifth or sixth or so of The Dogwatchers. It’s wildly exciting to be so close to the end, but there are definitely things over which I pause, torn, before saying, “FIRST DRAFT!” and continuing to write.

One thing I’ve run into was well-put by literary agent Rachelle Gardner in her blog entry on foreshadowing versus “telegraphing.” When you, the author, already know that something unexpected is going to happen, it’s hard sometimes not to let that knowledge slip in. Indeed, while Ms. Gardner says that authors often do this in the name of foreshadowing, “telegraphing” – basically, giving overly-obvious hints as to something that’s going to happen, particularly if that thing is supposed to be a twist – can be far more insidious.

At one point in The Dogwatchers, I caught myself giving characters an explicit contingency plan for a situation that really had no reason to occur to them: “If A doesn’t work, we’ll do B.” They should have just planned on A, a solid-seeming course, been totally surprised when it failed, and come up with B afterward. This way, readers will be as surprised as the characters are when Plan A doesn’t work, rather than having the idea that it might fail already planted in their heads. Indeed, as I first wrote it, readers might assume that Plan A will fail, or else why would the story detail Plan B?

This is basically the same problem as that in Ms. Gardner’s example. Avoid having your characters consider the possibility that something will happen when that something is supposed to be even remotely surprising. This can be difficult, since you certainly don’t want your characters to fail to think of an obvious possibility, but then, of course, the problem is that your twist is obvious, and you’ll want to address that. I think some writers are tempted to include arguments against the likelihood of the twist, as in Ms. Gardner’s example: a character says, “What if X is the case?” and another character responds, “No way, for these reasons!” All this does is make readers aware of the possibility of X. They may even spot the loophole in the characters’ reasoning against X, which will make them suspect that X will, in fact, happen.


On a totally different note, I have to once again rave a little (the good kind of raving) about a book that I picked up for research, Daniel Pool’s What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew. Highly readable and sometimes humorous, it contains well-organized and information-packed chapters on various aspects of Victorian England, including money, the peerage, fashion, marriage, orphans, fox hunting . . . the list goes on. It explains the historical basics of each subject, then gives interesting tidbits, like which card games were trendy and which ones played mostly by stuffy old people *coughwhistcough*, and includes examples from Victorian fiction. There’s also a fantastic glossary of Victorian terms.

The book’s stated intent is to serve as a reference for people who are reading Victorian novels and can’t understand the money talk or want to know the difference between a barrister and a solicitor (like Eugene and Mortimer in Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend), but it’s also an amazing tool for worldbuilders insomuch as it presents a society with rules strange and different from our own, then explains the details and processes by which all of these things functioned. Especially valuable if you or someone you know writes steampunk. And after all, the holidays are coming up . . .

On Outlining

I’m back!

My recent tangles with a particular writing problem have made me rethink, to some extent, my ideas about outlining. Many authors say that they don’t like outlining because it restricts their creativity, and can make the story seem flat and boring. Professor Robbins advocates what he calls “baseball writing,” wherein the writer knows how the story begins, one or two points it will reach in the middle (“bases”), and how it ends, but then just drops the character into this frame and runs with him/her. I’ve always done some outlining, but it never covered everything – it mostly follows the baseball writing principle, though sometimes I write down some bit of dialogue I know someone will have to use at that this or that juncture, or some specific description I want to use for a person or place.

Backing up to the beginning, my recent problem did not actually come from overzealous outlining as such. While editing Rabbit and Cougar, I reached a chapter that needed serious rewriting now that Cougar has a new source of motivation. The basic outcome of the chapter, in terms of where the characters travel next, needed to be the same. It made sense, as far as the characters were concerned, but I was having a heck of a time getting them to that conclusion. If some other plan had arisen organically, I might have gone with it, but the characters just sort of floundered slowly in the right direction.

I sometimes wonder how people who don’t write fiction feel about those vaguely mystical statements: “The character ran away with me,” “She said something I didn’t expect,” and so on. I used to think it sounded a little silly, but it does happen. And this is exactly where outlining comes in: With novels, at least (in short stories there’s less room), I tend to get a basic plot idea, then try to craft a character who will react in about the right way to situations. Once I drop the character into the story, though, it’s like letting go of an arrow and hoping it was well aimed. The story may have to change if your protagonist runs up against something that would have been good for the plot but simply wouldn’t work for the character.

This, I suppose, is where writers differ. Some people do long and detailed outlines. Some people, too, will change the character rather than the plot – I just finished a book on writing fantasy that included one author’s statement that she doesn’t change her plots for anything, and will adjust characters’ backstories instead to change their motivations until their actions make sense. The important thing is that something gets changed so that the pieces fit together. Again, it may sound mystical when someone says “the story was dead on the page” or “it just wasn’t working,” but I think the basic fact is that a writer senses when his or her own work has become inconsistent. Inconsistency bothers us on a deep level – thus the human problem of cognitive dissonance – and can make a writer want to stop working.

Outlines, if too detailed, can also present the problem of making the story seem finished. It’s often difficult to work on something you feel like you’ve already done. Rewriting isn’t the same, because it’s an improvement; writing from a detailed outline is an expansion, and may even seem artificial, like you’re just padding the story you’ve already written in the outline.

Happily, I got through the problem bit in Rabbit and Cougar. Some editing should get it sorted out. The story will need some more editing anyway, after the rewritten parts and the integration of new conflicts.

Four of my graduate school applications are finished and submitted! That leaves, um, only seven more . . .

Once More, With Motivation!

A lot can be said of rewriting. By definition, it’s much more like actual writing than editing is, but it still follows the guideline of the original work to some degree. This is great, because it helps you decide which parts of the original work are worth using as guidelines. You can determine for each part of the work – each chapter, scene, conversation, or whatever – what exactly is accomplished, then decide whether that even needs to be accomplished and, if so, how best to make it happen.

In case it wasn’t abundantly obvious, I’m rewriting at the moment. It’s somewhat frustrating just because I’d been halfway through Rabbit and Cougar – and ready, in terms of line-editing, to use the first three chapters as my grad school writing sample – when I realized that oops, one of the two protagonists lacks real motivation. I’d been coming to this realization for some time, and when my friend (read: writer roommate Becky from college) read the first three chapters for me and pointed out the same problem. Not only does the lack of motivation leave poor Cougar a weaker character – less understandable and believable – but it means very low tension for the work overall. Cougar can’t be thwarted from his goal if he doesn’t have a goal. The large-scale aimlessness also doesn’t fit given that Cougar is usually a very practical character.

Rabbit and Cougar is a journey story, and Rabbit’s motivation for traveling was explained, but Cougar’s not so much. Given that Cougar starts the trip first and Rabbit joins him, it was pretty important that there be a reason to depart in the first place. I was musing aloud about possibilities when Becky half-jokingly said “He’s being chased.” We both laughed, but it gave me an idea. Over the next couple of days, I worked it into a coherent shape. Step One completed.

Step Two is the rewriting, which is more complicated than any I’ve done before, because I’m having to insert a whole new plotline. It is, I must say, great for tension. I’ve often heard it said that you should always be thinking about how to raise the odds against your protagonist(s), but that’s not the kind of thought I consciously have during first drafts. However, since this rewrite is basically the “Now With Tension!” edition, it’s a great time to think about that. Yesterday, I entirely rewrote a chapter in which astoundingly little happened before, but which now has its fair share of action and danger – probably more than any of the preceding chapters. This is what spurred the thoughts in the first paragraph of this entry: The original draft of this chapter had a lot of exposition. In my editing, I made a list of all the important things accomplished in each chapters. The new draft of the chapter accomplishes all but two of the things the old one did, and I should be able to accomplish those in the next two chapters. In fact, I expect them to come across better; both are facts that I originally established through dialogue, but will now have the opportunity to simply show.

The addition of a new plotline is not without difficulties. A few conflicts arise with the original plot, and I’ll have to address those. And then, of course, there will be Step Three: another line edit, for which I can hardly hope to have a fresh eye anytime soon. Somewhat frustrating, because I’d thought I was on my last edit now, but the work should be stronger for it.