Almost Done (Again)

Posted: November 2nd, 2022 under Horngard, Progress, Revisions, snippet, the writing life.
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The most difficult of the “fixes” to the book my agent suggested was the result of a decision I made after the first couple of tries at “braiding” the POVS  of multiple people in multiple places who arrive at a very critical point in time and space together did not work–left things choppy and confusing.

I elected to put all of one POV group first and all the second POV group afterwards.  And *that* didn’t work either, my agent said (correctly said, I insist.)

Fixing it has not been easy and I’m not entirely sure now that it does what I want (especially since it added words to an already long book to get the rearranged stuff eased in, smoothed, and feeling like they “grew in place.” )

It reads better to me, but then I’m the person who wrote it and screwed that up in the first place.

I have multiple charts, notes, and attempts at doing it piece by tiny piece…the mosaic has to make the overall picture that includes high anxiety in three groups of people and impatience and frustration in the fourth group.   Looking back over the previous books, especially the ones in series, I see that I started out writing *somewhat* simpler books (not shorter…my first was very, very large, but not as complex all over as this one.)   And as soon as I learned how to do something more technically difficult…whammo, there it was in the next book (or the same book rewritten on the fly.)

I swore after one of the Familias Regnant books that had 12 major POVs scattered across part of a galaxy, most of them going somewhere rapidly in a ship, and having to be at the right place at the right time to execute their plot effect here…and then there…and then…etc., that I’d never have that many  plot-critical POVs again.  Ha.  I don’t even count anymore.  Keeping track of them was exciting in the sense of juggling explosives while dancing on a high wire…now it’s “Here we go again.”

The difference in Paksworld is that lack of fast, easy communication between the parties in motion.  Who knows what when always matters, but when you have to remember that there are no links, no phones, no computers, no satellite navigation aids…and then allow for “normal” weather patterns and the effect of them on unpaved roads traveled by humans on foot or riding animals or being hauled in wheeled vehicles by same…it’s…tricky.  No clocks either.  No longitude & latitude.  There are stars, but in a forest in the rainstorm, you can’t see them.

One more day of travel out of sight of the nexus point where all must come together.  One more day for those in the tunnel to endure…

Brahms’ German Requiem is the right music for this. I’ve tried other things but this (and the Faure Requiem for part of the earlier sections of the book) particular requiem carries the tension, the anxiety, the stark fear, the determination in the music itself and keeps me from sliding off into something easier to write.  The unearthly beauty of some passages also fits–around the story is a stunningly beautiful setting, dramatic in itself, inspired by and then developed from a photo I saw online years ago.   I moved a mountain range in behind it, added a plausible region of geology in front of it, and added the appropriate vegetation, then had the rockfolk go to work on it.

A snippet:

“Now,” Regar said, when he’d caught enough of the enemy’s cadence to be certain of the timing, and his men cut the ropes on their side.  The tower swung out away from the cliff all in one swoop, landing on the burning pinpigs, crushing them, and landing on some of the enemy who’d been straining to pull it down.  Fire spread quickly.


If I haven’t mentioned the recording, here is is on YouTube:




  • Comment by Annabel — November 3, 2022 @ 8:53 am


    Poor pinpigs! I remember how useful they were in sniffing out the poison that caused so many miscarriages. And they are burning! Sniff…..

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 3, 2022 @ 5:58 pm


    Not LIVE pinpigs!!!! No, these are chevals de frise in European terminology, only renamed for use in Paksworld.

    You can Google that term and find lots of pictures of real ones and drawings and models of non-real ones.

    None of the cute little pinpigs have been harmed in this book.

  • Comment by Annabel — November 4, 2022 @ 6:41 am


    Oh good! There are some enemies you can’t trust not to hurt animals….

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — November 7, 2022 @ 10:52 am


    … and they are not the “pin pigs” from the misunderstood reference in the first Paks series.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 9, 2022 @ 12:44 pm


    It’s like the term “cheval de frise” literally means Frisian horse–a breed of horse, those big black ones with the long, long manes and tails. But in military terms it’s a defensive fortification, probably originally made of logs and poles, and sometimes still is, but also now applies to large-ish heavy, multiply spiked, somewhat linear devices even if made out of metal and including barbed wire or other “stay away” devices. Many words have more than one meaning in different contexts. I couldn’t use “cheval de frise” because that would introduce another set of expectations about the story. They might have named caltrops (cripplers) for the animal pinpig, but the different styles of warfare meant the larger, stiffer-spined pinpig of Aarenis got the prize, if prize it is.

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