Saturday, November 08, 2008

Action, Reaction, Life...Stuff Like That

Doing mini-edit on PEACEWEAVER. There's a natural lull in the action. My main character is trying, with more or less success, to settle into her new life as lady of the manor. I don't want this next section to lose impetus, so, hmm: what next shall I do?

I'm tempted, strongly, to let her have it: WHAM! How about a nice Viking raid (this is 973 England, after all)? Some pillage? Burn down the family holding? Or maybe the action should be part of the internecine warfare between her family and her family-in-law?

In fiction, I'm told that the surest way to prevent a Sagging Middle (a thing to be avoided at all costs) is to throw catastrophe after catastrophe at your main characters. I've resisted doing this 'cause I don't write action/adventure, I write romance. But in this young lady's case, I think a Major Challenge, and her reaction to it, would be compellingly consistent with the way people lived in 973.

As support for my fictional endeavor, I'm reading a nonfic book set around the year 1000, called BLOODFEUD. It deals with a certain late Saxon family-with-political crisis and the charges, countercharges, treachery, and murder that resulted. It's been a really good insight into the instability of life in the early middle ages.

Life was tenuous. They dreaded winter because late winter and early spring were the hungry times. Had they spared enough animals from fall slaughter to provide for the spring increase? Had they slaughtered enough animals, put up enough non-meat foodstuffs to last through the cold, till the next harvest?

They dreaded summer because that was the time for war. From my readings I've decided there were maybe 6 weeks all year that early medieval countryside folk might, maybe, feel safe.

Such is my characters' world.


Michelle Sutton said...

I wanna endorse your book! Oh, that action reaction stuff is tricky, until you figure it out. I sorta did a few years ago and it made a huge difference in my writing.

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