The Wave

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I’m sitting here with a bag of frozen chocolate chips under my foot. It would be frozen veggies, but I, in my fervor to clean out the freezer didn’t remember that frozen veggies make excellent ice packs.

So, why do I need an ice pack at all, be it veggies or chocolate chips or ever real ice packs? Well, in addition to the other maladies related to the accident and a steadily deteriorating body, I may have a problem with the plantar fascia that causes heel pain which, in turn, causes more walking pain. Treatment for said problem is stretching and ice. Hopefully, it hasn’t already caused a bone spur. Who would have thought one could get a bone spur from that?

Anyway, my fearless writing partners tackled another scene. This is one where Gen is chosen to go with a patrol to destroy a “zombie” who was a fallen paladin. Paladins are rare in my world. There is only one remaining, and yet everyone desires to one day become one.

I introduced some elements to the story I really like. They develop the characters more and give the story increased depth. I’m still having a problem bringing Gen more to the front in these scenes.

I had to think back a bit to the Harry Potter books. I don’t like everything Rowling did, but I think she did a good job, for the most part, on character development. I came to realize this more when I looked up her character list to see how she handled it. That was prompted by the agent assistant suggestion I make a character list as well as add maps to the manuscript.

Rowlings’ character list is immense and almost all of them have developed backgrounds. I am near the end of the last round of revisions, but I realized that I need to add a bit more about some of these characters. Even though many of them will die in the end, it doesn’t matter if no one cares about them.

I compare this to McMurtry’s dreaded farewell wave. When a character of his, one he made sure you love, turns to wave goodbye, you can bet he is going to die.

In LEGENDS, David Gimmel was brutal in killing off characters the reader loved. Even walk on characters became someone the reader cared about. Then he systematically wiped just about everyone out including the main character. It was a thoroughly depressing book and the last one I read by Gimmel. It was a good story, but just too danged depressing.

Getting back to the scene in question, (you thought I forgot, didn’t you?) I wanted to bring some minor threads to the forefront. Many of these characters appear in the final battle, so I want readers to know them and care about what happens to them.

In the back of my mind was a demon named WordCount, growling at me every time I added more words instead of trimming. This paralyzed me in a way because I saw where I could add things that made people care, but I ignored them because that little counter kept ticking away.

What’s even more worrying is I am concerned people won’t truly care about the mc. What if I haven’t developed her enough? What if no one cares if she waves?

So, life and writing go on.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Julie! So glad you’re back. I enjoy the details in your blog.
    I have a similar problem with word count. Gremlins took control when I transferred my story to a new word version. The word count at the bottom of the page didn’t match the count in the document properties. It was off by 20K and not in my favor.
    I’ve sliced thousands of words. I’m afraid people might not be able to relate to my MC because I deleted too many details. I know why she does what she does. Have I left enough details for the reader to feel her strength?

  2. Julie Weathers

    Catharine, exactly. I think people need to know not only what a character does but why they do it. That’s been one of my problems. People don’t understand why characters do something. In each case, adding those details corrected the problem.

  3. Beth

    Julie,

    Yay, you posted again! Sorry I didn’t see this until now.

    Re the word count demon…

    Boot him down to the seventh circle of hell and write what you need to write to make the story sing and the characters breathe, and THEN do some trimming if you have to.

    As to the foot issues…

    I had the same problem flare up a few years ago. Had to cancel a trip to World Fantasy Convention because I couldn’t walk. Ice will help a little, short term; stretches will help keep it from coming back; but the best cure is to wear orthotic arch supports. This will make your feet very, very happy, and all that pain will go away. Get fitted for some at your orthopedist. Or order some insoles from http://www.superfeet.com. Those are the ones my orhtopedist recommended. They saved me.

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