Dispatch from the Desk: The Delicate Dance of Revision

The final part of the current story is, I think, the most challenging interlaced narrative I’ve done. There are a lot of important events happening in the space of eighteen hours or so, in about half a dozen different narrative clusters (a couple with more than one point of view character per cluster) and in two places several hundred miles apart. Events in one geographical location have a vital and instant effect on the other, though. (That’s magic for you. I suspect mystery novelists don’t have to deal with such instantaneous effects. Well, except over the telephone.) Oh, plus one narrative node has been knocked an uncertain number of centuries into the past. It was all perfectly co-ordinated, of course. And then I decided that some of the matter leading up to that fraught night and morning needed to be expanded, and expanding earlier things made people do different things later, which made other things twitch out of place and suddenly . . . wait, it’s night again. Which night? Last night? What’s last night doing there? It’s the middle of the morning. But if I move it back, then event A gets witnessed here and it’s far more dramatic if the reader doesn’t witness it till there, and character X cannot plausibly look the other way or sleep through that, yet must be followed by the reader at this point because of event B . . .

I think it’s all sorted now, but I feel as though one word out of place and the whole thing goes pear-shaped.

Must fix the numbers, as Chapter XXVII now comes after Chapter XIX. If I had to write my books longhand I’d go mad. Or whoever had to type them would.


About K.V. Johansen

The author of Blackdog, The Leopard, The Lady, and Gods of Nabban, epic fantasies from Pyr, I also write for teens and children, including the "Torrie", "Warlocks of Talverdin", and "Cassandra Virus" series, and the "Pippin and Mabel" picture books, as well as a couple of short story collections and two works of adult literary criticism on the history of children's fantasy literature. I have a Master's degree in Mediaeval Studies, and read a lot of fantasy, science fiction, and history. Blog at thewildforest.wordpress.com
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