Not only do these last few chapters feel like trying to run up an icy hill, the darn hill keeps getting higher. I’d cut out several secondary characters as more than minor names, in an effort to shorten it all, but they’d had whole chapters (in a couple of the different plot-variants, not the one that ultimately took form) and remained in my head. Now, as things wrap up in the city plot, they come onto the stage again, as supporting cast for the lead actors in this strand. They do need supporting cast. You can’t have a rebellion all on your own. (Remind me to stick to lone heroes and dictatorial warlords and so forth in future, people who can realistically function without a whole mess of ragtag and bobtail trailing after them to fetch and carry and keep an eye on point b. while a. is going up in flames because the heroes would be really stupid if they didn’t have someone to do that, and I object to stupid heroes. Never, never, never again have the heroic leadership of half the action assumed by a committee. No matter how more probable that is. So there.).
Anyhow, two of these scrapped-except-for-walking-silently-across-the-scene-in-the-background types, let us call them Ju. and T., have always been referred to as playing a leading role, offstage, in some of the things going on. Suddenly in the last few chapters it becomes clear that they do have to emerge from the chorus and act. And to do that only in the last few chapters feels a bit contrived. If they’re going to leap onstage and say “Tennis, anyone?” in the final few minutes of the last act (sorry, reading Wodehouse), they need to do more than stand in the wings clutching their rackets beforehand.
So . . . backtracking. I’m going to be sticking them back in, not in the chapters in which they originally starred, as that reality focussed on the original hero, the one I cut ruthlessly from the plot altogether long, long ago. But they do need to be there in small, interwoven scenes, a few paragraphs here, a few there, maybe twice, maybe three times, providing more than chorus commentary. I can see how they can add some illustration of the rising tension in the city.
The Spouse says the writing of the ending of this book is following an asymptotic curve. I’m nearly there. Almost, very, nearly there. About twelve hours of plot left. Half a night and a morning. It’ll all be over by noon. Unfortunately, that’s the city’s noon, not mine. Another week? I now have a history of being overly optimistic with this one.