As you’re probably aware, this is the first draft of Emma’s Story. At the start of every chapter I’ve written about how the story can and will be changed before it’s finally done. I’ve got a little bit of feedback from readers already and these are some of the changes I’ve planned.
The most major complaint I’ve received so far is that it’s a bit weird how everyone expects Emma to be responsible for Torkel even though they’re not even married. She’s expected to keep him in line and make him behave, and she hasn’t even decided if she’ll marry him or not.
This is something that’s definitely getting changed.
At the moment, Emma’s getting a lot of external pressure from “the village” to look after Torkel. That’s really the only force that’s pushing her towards going to look for him after it turns out he’s not come back to the village.
I want to try and split this up into a number of different sources of pressure of different kinds. There will still be a lot of peer pressure on her, but it will be more defined and varied instead of the way it is now.
The current plan is to go with something like this:
- The village in general mainly curious about whether Emma will say yes or not. They’re wondering if there will be a big juicy scandal for them to talk about, or if they’ll have an amazing wedding party to look forward to.
- Burje is worried about his brother and he wants Emma to just make up her mind and say yes already. He feels that the longer she delays, the crazier Torkel’s attempts to win her heart becomes. He worries that if Emma doesn’t say yes soon, Torkel will do something stupid…
- Emma’s parents are worried about two things. They worry that if Emma doesn’t marry Torkel it will reflect badly on their ability of running a respectable burrow and raising respectable children. They also worry that if Emma fails to get married it will make it a lot more difficult for their other children to get married. They have a lot of kids and if they can’t even marry off their firstborn, then what good will the rest of their kids be?
- Emma’s parents are also overestimating how worried the other parent is. Emma’s mother thinks the father is really worried, and the other way around. In this way, they’re putting extra pressure on Emma by proxy. They’re emphasizing how worried the other parent is, even though it’s perhaps not that bad.
- Emma’s younger siblings (Edgren and Viola and a bunch of others that I can’t remember the names of) are worried about their sister and what will happen to her if she doesn’t get married (and the potential impact it might have on their future prospects).
The village as a whole is worried that Torkel will bring the Winters to the hunt and embarrass them in front of all the people that’s come in from everywhere else. The question then is why no one else goes after him and why it has to be Emma who does it?
- Going all the way up to the Winter Fylk homestead is a long journey. It takes time and effort and it’s way too much like an adventure.
- Even if it’ll be embarrassing for the village as a whole to have the winter’s arrive, it’ll be “someone else’s fault” – in this case Torkel. No other individual will be personally responsible for it. So it’s not all that urgent for anyone to go to all that effort. They’d rather just stay indoors where it’s nice and warm and you can have a drink and a chat.
- The only one who really has a strong motivation is Emma. She did decide that she wants to marry him, and she’s not too keen of letting him make himself the village fool right away. It’s enough that he’s known to be a bit of a wild-mind already.
These are the current thoughts I’m having with respect to motivation and peer pressure. Each on their own these sources of pressure won’t be too strong, but when they’re all put together at once it will become too much.
This will not change the events of the story in a significant way (I think), but it will change the reasons behind them and hopefully it will become more believable.
I’ll probably be adding a conversation between Emma and Burje after they have dropped Torkel off on the way to Hemsbo. It’ll be a good spot for Burje to articulate his concerns. There will also be a fair amount of changes to the conversations early on, to try and establish the motivations more clearly.
Go-Hanna is a silly name. It needs to go (pun intended).
I feel like the authorial voice of the story and of my characters have changed since the first chapter. I don’t know that I’ll be rewriting an entire chapter from scratch, but there should be some significant revisions of the early chapters – up until Emma arrives in Kuulis Wood.
Is there anything else that you feel needs to be changed? Let me know. I won’t promise anything, but I’m really interested in hearing any suggestions or feedback you might have.