On Suspension of Tension

Whimsically subtitled

Not Everything that Rhymes is Stupid (or at Least I Hope Not)

or, better yet

Other Poisonous Things that are Pumped into My System, Other than the Ones Depicted Above

Those poisonous things are, of course the ever-buoyant (a fancy way of saying never-sinking) doubts that I am doing everything I can to progress the story forward in the most naturally consumable way—and that means that I need to give the reader a break and stop escalating the tension for at least a few hours of the story’s timeline.

Even if that means restraining myself from killing or hurting people for a time.

The good thing is that I have finally clubbed my female protagonist into submission for just enough time to have her make the decision I have wanted her to make for quite a while (oh, boy, did she put up a fight, or what? Who gave you that character arch, you, little…), and the chain of events is now aligned with my five-bullet-point joke of an outline.

The breakpoint between Part II and Part III seemingly found its logical place. I originally planned to end Part II with Verra, saying “you have to claim this weapon, and you have to use your real name”—in front of everybody, because she is forced to, somehow—but, since I already played the card of Dae’s true identity at least three times (with Illai, Verra, and Fennel), it would not have the desired effect. Instead, I end the last chapter of Part II with the statement that clearly indicates Dae’s current state of mind, which is “this was all a mistake, and I hate myself for not seeing that from the beginning” (or, at least I think that this is clear enough, the revision stage pending). No spoilers, you have to read it, following the natural flow of events.

I still have absolutely no idea what possessed me to deprive the narrative of Dae’s point of view, but something about it felt right from the very beginning. In fact, I had not even noticed it myself until Chapter Two, or even later, and then just decided to go with the Flow, why not?

And now it is way to late to change.

Not being able to see from an important character’s point of view (he was supposed to be the main one, but the little bitch took over—surprise, surprise) does present certain challenges, especially considering how reserved and contained Dae normally is—while superficially extroverted, he is actually a very private person, and Verra is the only one he had allowed himself to open up to. So I am, when dealing with his state of mind, restricted to (if there is such thing) external third person cinematic point of view, and can only show the reader the emotions which he leaks without noticing it.

Even Ngale, who can visualize people’s feelings—being a Listener—is of no help, since Dae’s Gift allows him to easily block his aura from being seen, if he wishes it.

So. The scene with Dae’s acquisition of The Weapon might be a tad underplayed (still no spoilers), but I have to stop escalating the tension for a while—everyone—including myself—needs a little breather before moving on to the fun stuff: the titular killing of the dragon.

That should be fun.

I expect this Part to be much shorter, than the previous two—in all fairness, I have only two days left before the lunar eclipse, when the epic battle is foretold to take place—and packed with much more action. I still have to figure out how are they going to go about the whole dragon-slaying thing, but I have foreshadowed so many random little things to push off of, that I am rather confident that I will.

Against all ever-buoyant doubts.

A. T. T:

Things, remaining on the mantle: the pain-enhancing potion (still no clue what to do with it), and Onnoquo. I have some ideas about the talking bird and nothing on the potion. Yet.

On an unrelated note: I feel unexpectedly well today, almost to the point that I started to suspect that the stuff they are pumping into me is actually a placebo. Up  until the moment I reached into the freezer to grab something and felt my fingertips tingle frozen, which is a common side effect to one of the drugs they give me. Well, something is working. Third round of chemo is halfway through, three more left after, and then I might finally get a realistic estimate of my deadline. Pun intended.

The tally of words: 480,324.


Also published on Medium.

2 thoughts on “On Suspension of Tension”

  1. I still think that Dae is the main character. No matter how much Verra “takes over” the plot, her fate, much like every other character’s in the story, is determined by Dae’s decisions, actions and (even) history. I think that being the pivotal focal point for everyone’s motivations qualifies him as the main character, no matter who may steal the spotlight at any given point.

    1. I agree, and I fully intend to move the focus away from the Castle, leaving Verra marinate in her situation, to The Oaken Chest, which is going to serve as Dragonslaying Headquarters for most of the Part III, and give Dae much bigger role in the Congregarion he was so reluctant to join so far…

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