Plot Bubbles

Posted: November 4th, 2010 under Background, Contents, Craft, the writing life.
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Something has been brooding in the depths of the plot for this entire world (not just this book, or the previous, but I’m finding its shadows on sonar of the oldest–in story time–books, Gird & Luap as I re-read them for continuity)  for years.   Now it’s rising slowly  into view.   These are foundation-level conflicts that I’ve never really examined, having just discovered outcrops of apparent bedrock on which to put the foundations of the world 27-28  years ago.

The slow upwelling of these things reminds me of bubbles rising from a deep underwater vent (or, less suitable for fantasy, from a submarine blown by a depth charge.)   Or maybe I should think of it as magma?   But in the viscous fluid of the writer’s mind, this large bubble is rising too slowly for my convenience.    It’s been pushing its way up, influencing the layers above it, creating interesting contours and shoving other things around…but now I need it to come into clear view, because there’s a limit to how long you (and I) are willing to wait to find out WHY.

What the bubble will do, if it comes into the open, is connect the mythical past of this world to the story-time present,  in a way that’s almost archaeological…here are the stories told…and here’s what really happened.   Amazingly alike, and also amazingly, in detail, different.

And it has its own internal logic and velocity.    My plot daemon is cackling evilly, “You’ll find out when it’s time!  Just keep writing.”   This week’s writing, possibly because of the Requiem, and possibly because of the contest, but mostly I think because the bubble is still more visible by its effects than directly, has been scattershot.   And looking at it now, some of it doesn’t even belong in this book.  I don’t have time to write stuff that isn’t in this book, but the only way I know to discover what really happened is to write it.   Dilemma.

But this one comes nearer and nearer the surface.   Why did Ardhiel go with the expedition to Kolobia, and why did he have the great elfhorn with him?   Is there a King of the West?   Is the Ladysforest the only elven realm still remaining?   (I know it’s not, but why no contact/communication between them–or is there?)   Why did someone (and who was that someone)  set up an ambush for Kieri’s mother?   Who retrieved the sword and placed it where Aliam Halveric found it, and why?   Why did the Lady decide to build an underground elvenhome?   Were elves ever in Old Aare?   If so, why did they leave?   I know they were in Aarenis…what sent them over the mountains?   Where did the magelords get their distinctive innate magery?  (From their creation, which is possible, or from the intervention of other created beings, which is also possible?)

I know a lot of things I didn’t know when starting this group of books, but I don’t yet know all I need to know.  (I know the origin of the jewels in the regalia Dorrin found, for instance.   I know how some characters will die, though they haven’t yet.   But I don’t know who the traitors are.  Not all of them, at least. )

Oh, well, better get back to it.  If the plot daemon says I have to write it to find out…then the only way through is by writing.


  • Comment by Mary Elmore — November 4, 2010 @ 10:59 am



    By the way how did the Requeim go? I heard Durufle in a organ recital at First Methodist Church in Houston in the mid-sixties.

    God bless.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 4, 2010 @ 11:23 am


    Ah…I posted about that on LJ:

    The thing that struck me most was how different it was singing that music as part of the service. Requiems are so often performed separately–maybe in a church, but not in a liturgical context–and even people who are familiar with the liturgy don’t have the rest of it (the readings, the parts that aren’t set to music) at the same time. And many people are there just for the music, with no awareness of the service itself.

    Though probably more people came to this service because we were singing than would have otherwise, the fact that it was a service, not a performance, meant that most, if not all, were also participating in the worship service….they weren’t just passive listeners to our music. David had coached the choir on not only the liturgy (for those not from a liturgical tradition) but on the theological interpretations that melded music to words to placement in the service, so that we could interpret the music appropriately for that setting. Sounds hi-falutin’ maybe, but we were there to enhance, not just decorate, the service.

    It’s still playing back in my head. We’re singing two sections of it this Sunday in the regular service, so I need to keep it there, as well as read over it every day.

  • Comment by Dave Ring — November 4, 2010 @ 3:59 pm


    I have wondered about the Kingsforest.

    Your upwelling plot bubble reminds me of the diatreme that threatens to devastate the planet Caledonia in Julian May’s book Diamond Mask, until some of the protagonists convert it to a plume of kimberlite and diamonds.

    May your transmutation go well and yield many plot diamonds.

  • Comment by Sean Whittaker — November 4, 2010 @ 5:54 pm


    How eerie. I was just thinking the very same thing (I am a huge fan of May’s Pliocene books).

  • Comment by Adam Baker — November 4, 2010 @ 6:43 pm


    Very cool, I cant wait to see how LoG will play into the story. Im reading LoG right now, after finishing DoP & OoF last week.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — November 5, 2010 @ 8:28 am


    Elizabeth, The one thing that struck me most, that I’d read other times in LoG but it never stuck, was the comment that ALL from over the sea had magical abilities, just some more than others. That had got me thinking about all that you mentioned above as well. Since it sounds like all magelords are gone from Aare maybe it was some “other” created that gave them the power that the “High Lord” is now working on correcting. Maybe not. I look forward to seeing how it does work out.

  • Comment by elizabeth — November 5, 2010 @ 8:48 am


    Dave: the Kingsforest has puzzled me for years. Not its existence so much as the lack of contact (apparent anyway) between the elves there and those of the Ladysforest. I’m groping toward an understanding of that and many other things elven.

    Adam: I think you’ll find LOG (Legacy of Honour in the new UK edition–thanks, Orbit UK, for both the edition & the title!) very helpful in the new group.

    Daniel: Initially, I thought the new group’s story arc would not reach much farther back than Siniava’s War–with possibly waking the magelords enchanted under stone–but I was so wrong.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — November 6, 2010 @ 2:58 pm



    You also had only anticipated a three book arc now it’s five. For which, I think I can speak for most here, we are grateful it occurred.

  • Comment by Jenn — November 7, 2010 @ 2:04 pm


    Sounds to me like you may have to consider writing a Silmarillion style book. I personally would be much in favour of that.

  • Comment by Arthur — November 7, 2010 @ 8:33 pm


    Me too, even though I have never read the Silmarillion, though I have read LoTR, the Hobbit, and most of the History of Middle Earth books. A book about Aare, the origin of the elves and why they made the fortress, the elven split over the First Tree and who exactly the Kuaknom are… That would be GLORIOUS!

  • Comment by Adam M. — November 9, 2010 @ 10:26 pm


    I have been wondering about the passage of time in Paksworld. How many years are there between Girds life and that of Paks? How many between Falk and Gird? Do you have a time line already made for the curious reader?

    Love the books. Keep them coming…

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — November 12, 2010 @ 2:13 pm


    Just got to thinking this morning about why the color blue was important to Gird and the people of his time. Sky? River? Another one of those questions that you may or may not already have an answer to in all that boiling that is happening with your plot.

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