Well, as things always seem to go, I didn’t realize how much grieving would happen, once I let my characters go there. I thought I had only one chapter left in Part 3: Travels and Battles, but, over the last two weeks, I wrote a whole new chapter, and I still have that final one left to get through. It was good, though.
I discovered some things I didn’t know about a lot of my people—how they process grief and guilt; how compassionate they can be. They will continue to work through their emotions in the next chapters. I have a lot more to go on, now.
Chapter twenty—I called it “Sorrow”—let me dive, especially, into Gillan’s head. She is the one going through the greatest agony and, also, the most guilt. Like a lot of us when we experience the loss of someone close to us, her initial emotion is anger—and she takes it out on Coltan. Maybe she recognized he is the one person in the group who would understand. I have some ideas about how these two will resolve some of this.
I have found that the deepest feelings come out of my characters at night, which seems right to me. They talk when they’re on watch—it’s really the only private time they get with another individual. I think that’s why so much of my dialog happens then—I’ll have to get more feedback on whether there is too much, but it’s such a great way for me to get into the characters’s heads and to show how they come to trust each other, and it also provides a nice vehicle for exposition. The other private places are inside the wagon or next to the campfire when everyone else is sleeping, neither of which ensure that no one else is listening.
This chapter takes place over the course of one night. Coltan is on watch. It’s one of Gillan’s orders to him, to stand every watch—and it makes a lot of sense—they are now short on people, and he can sleep during the day—so he doesn’t argue. Because of this, Coltan ends up talking a little to each of the other adults. It’s the first night after the death, and everyone shares something with him—even Criften, who is the only one to ask him how he’s doing (and who also has Eido to confide in). Coltan shares very little, but Criften reads him pretty well. They’ve known each other a long time.
The adults are so absorbed in their own grief, that the children are pretty much ignored, except when they are comforting the adults. There is a short scene where they the children among themselves. Brant is the only one who expresses, out loud, what he is feeling, although Mar lets a tear fall before setting them all back on task. Coltan will engage with Mar in the next chapter, as the two of them become more firmly bonded. I think Brant will have to wait until he finds time with Gillan, and this will be good for both of them. Toran will get the opportunity to talk to Gillan early in the next chapter, but Brant will need to wait until much later in the chapter.
Kano moves from person to person, touching them and using his power to calm people, but doesn’t share anything about what he’s holding inside, until he goes to Gillan—in the middle of the night, sitting next to the fire with everyone else asleep—and even then, he shows emotion but doesn’t really say what he feels. I think he needs to, and soon. It will likely be Coltan or Criften who draws something out of him, but might be better if it is Malcan. Lots of food for thought with this little guy.
I’m looking forward to the opportunities I’ll have to delve some more into the characters and to expand and enrich their relationships with each other. And, I’ll be happy to finish the next chapter—and Part 3.
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