I made a little bit of progress on the story, then I went out walking for four hours straight.
But first, a friend of mine mentioned my blog posts are too long and wondered if I could write shorter ones, so she would have time to read them. I guess what I’ll try to do is sum up the entire post in the first sentence/paragraph, to try and give an impression what the ramblings of the day will be about.
I finished the second scratch of the outline. It’s different from the first one in a number of ways that may or may not be significant. Perhaps the most important change is that in the first scratch, Emma spent the last scene of the story with Burje (previously Egon), while in the second scratch, she’s alone.
I figured there were enough characters having names starting with the letter E, and Egon was the one who’s name was easiest to change. It’s just a name though, and as far as the story goes, Burje isn’t a major character. Sure, he’s important, but he’s not really doing anything, he’s just the other guy – the one Emma would like to marry if she had the option.
She doesn’t really have much of an option though. For all practical intents and purposes, Torkel is the one she’ll have to marry. He fits all the required criteria. He’s of the right age, he’s next in line for a burrow of his own in the same village, he’s a skilled woodsman and able to bring home food for the family.
All that’s well and good, but he just doesn’t have the mentality of a family man.
So Emma has her doubts and she keeps putting off giving him an answer. She doesn’t want to commit to a man who can’t give her the family and the life she wants. It would have been much easier of Burje had been the older one.
I think that’s probably the angle I’m going to go at it from. We’ll see, I might change my mind again.
Another concern I have is that Emma isn’t actually doing anything herself. She’s not making any choice and she’s not performing any actions that affect the outcome of the story. Going by advice I’m seeing over and over again, that’s a bad thing. Characters need to take command and do things and have agency. They shouldn’t just be dragged along by the story and let things happen to them.
But, in this case, that’s what the story is about.
The story isn’t about Emma making up her mind about who to marry and then going for it. It’s about things happening outside of her control putting her in a crappy situation. She’s not doing anything – shit just happens.
I want it to be like that. I don’t want her to take on the role of the hero to try and save whatever needs saving. I want her to be a girl in a difficult situation that turns unexpectedly worse, and I want to show that. I guess it’s not really a traditional fantasy story, even though it’ll take place in a fantasy setting.
This, and many other, mostly unrelated things, were what I thought about while out walking.
My shoulder still hurts since the physiotherapy yesterday and I can’t sit still for too long, so I went walking. Cork, Ballincollig, Tower, Blarney. It’s a distance of about 24 kilometers and it took me about four hours, including stops to look at the scenery and stretch my arms.
I like my long walks. They give me time to think, and they pass the time when I need time passed but don’t have anything else I can do.