And so Part 3 of Book 3 begins! We’re truly in the home stretch now.
This one is structurally akin to Chapter 13 of The Mask of Mirrors, in that it steps back briefly to show you what’s been happening elsewhere while the set-piece of the previous chapter goes on. Mostly we don’t screw around with the flow of time in the story — that can work just fine in a novel whose plot strands are geographically separated, but when they’re all interacting in one city it would mostly be more confusing than beneficial — but it makes sense when we want to keep an intense focus on one corner of the narrative, and not dilute it with any “meanwhile, back at the ranch” cuts away.
Though there was going to be a cut away at the end of the previous chapter/previous part, whose content has now been relocated to the beginning of this one. We originally thought it would work as a stinger because we were originally going to try and fake the reader out about a certain event. (Actually, since we’re not doing it, I can go ahead and say: we were going to try and make it look like we’d just killed a particular character.) But when we actually got there, we decided the odds that anybody would be successfully faked were low, meaning that maneuver would be nothing more than cheap drama. So we ditched that bit and made a bigger scene that put more focus on the surrounding events, and I think it’s working better overall.
We also had to throw out half a scene because it hinged on the “omg is that character dead???” tension, and since the reader now knows otherwise, it was better to just reorient things in a more direct fashion. Fortunately, the one really cool detail in what we threw out has found a new home in Chapter 20!
Word count: ~139,000
Authorial sadism: Chekhov’s old injury. We didn’t have to lean on that, but we did. Though now that I type that, maybe the prize should go to someone not being consulted on a major decision . . . or the decision itself.
Authorial amusement: Somebody’s taking the plot into their own hands.
BLR quotient: This is the chapter where rhetoric is working overtime to keep blood in check.