So this afternoon I was hacking away at stuff, helped by Ms. Rancherfriend who has an excellent eye for the “enough of that, already” passages (she’s the reason the first Paks books did not chronicle every single hour of slogging through the mud. ) And while talking to her, a nagging little worry about a scene you will now never see (because it Did Not Happen that way!) suddenly rose up even though she hadn’t mentioned it, and I asked her what she thought about it.
Her eye for “boring” is stronger than her eye for “too neat” but when I pointed it out, she said well, yes…it had niggled at her but she ignored it, to find out if Mmph lived over it. I had been tinkering with the idea of moving lrrmph from that scene to this other scene and maybe even…and then the plot bomb hit, right in the middle of the phone conversation. I don’t know what Ms. Rancherfriend said for several sentences, because the plot bomb was leaving lovely bright shards of story-resonance all over my brain, and the plot daemon was saying “Yes, yes, YES! NOW you get it, you silly person! I tried to tell you! What did you think that feeling Ermph had was, you idiot? This connects to that, and that connects to that other thing, and there’s the circling back and the outward flow…now write it down, fast.”
I interrupted Ms. Rancherfriend and gabbled out what I’d just realized and she said “Yes, yes, YES! That will work. MUCH better than the other,” and I said “Sorry, got to go, got to write it down.”
Whereupon some 30-odd pages were ripped out, and set aside (because some of that 30-odd pages wasn’t the part that didn’t happen, but a conversation that belongs somewhere else did.) Another 20-something pages was copied and pasted onto a blank file (because, reading through it, I couldn’t decide the best place to put the part that happens instead of the part that doesn’t happen, though I know it happened there, in that place, and only one chapter in the book has that place in it.
Then came reading that chapter carefully, several times, and feeling what it would be like to insert what happens into it…here? No….what about here? It’s a dramatic moment? No….then here? Not…quite. Finally…HERE. And there was Xtfft, showing up as if Xtfft had been there all along, not back in that other chapter at all.
How do I know it’s right? Because Xtfft showed up and I got goosebumps, that’s why. Any time a book does that, I’m on the scent, getting close. If I write it right, you will get goosebumps too…your deep logic facility will realize, before your conscious mind realizes, what’s going on. And you will enjoy the heck out of it, when that happens.
Some days it’s all slog (and much of today was) and sometimes the plot bomb explodes and sheds light in all directions.