marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

in which the author annoys herself

Working merrily along on the outline, trying to determine whether a certain marriage really should happen before the hero and heroine's, and if so, whether it really ought to be after this mission, and at what point they ought to find maggots in the flour. . . and in the process, jotting down yet another note about something that can be slipped in somewhere, with the heroine discussing patience, and waiting for an attack on the fortress as she waits for the herbs in her garden to sprout and grow -- and she has more evidence of her patience being necessary than they do, since she gets sprouts, and the attack can come from nowhere --

And I finish the note, and wince.

Because when devising some way for her to be useful, I hit on her herb lore, and it worked well, it sprouted notions and subplots and interwove itself into the tale in such a way that it would trigger the climax -- what a useful little notion!

But it does mean I have to keep a close eye on time.  Nothing, perhaps, like a thriller writer who has to compute flight times and criss-cross the country to ensure it all knits together.  Not even like J.R.R. Tolkien, perhaps -- when Gollum throws himself to the ground wailing because the Nazgul crossed the land three times, you can actually figure out what are the three triggers for their journeys, having nothing to do with Gollum.  But it will not suffice to figure that I have given loosely time enough for events to occur.  I have to reckon in months and growing seasons and years. . .

It's a problem with weather as well, if you need certain types, to make them more or less seasonable.  Or unseasonable, if you want to indulge in that form of foreshadowing or complication, but if your characters are in the middle of January in the right climate, there's no way you'll get a snowstorm to be unseasonable.

Pregnancy is just as bad, if events of the story must happen alongside the course of it.  I am glad that while the heroine of this way may indeed have two children in the course of the story, it will not parallel other events, but happen during some quiet times.  (Thus far.  Muses can be capricious about such things.  And since I think that several events have to occur before the heroine marries, my muse is not yet playing with the notions of that time as intensely as she can.)

And, of course, I have no excuse to yank it out.  Not only is it a useful and pertinent plot element, the problem is only that it needs more work.  Nothing but that -- no real excuse when the objection would be sloth.
Tags: story structure, story time, subplots, world-building: plants, world-building: weather

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