Monday, September 20, 2010

¿Quién Sabe?

Who knows what and how much do they tell? I’ve been picking through a scene where the characters are summarizing what they’ve observed and the conclusions they’ve drawn from it, and it’s been difficult. The conversation has to be natural—no one says (at least, no one normal), “I observed the geese flying southward in a “V” formation and therefore concluded that the fall equinox has passed and autumn has arrived.” Instead, they say, “Time to buy Halloween candy.”

So here I have a bunch of observant guys who’ve known each other for a while. What do they say to each other? How much do they say and how do they say it? Do they hold anything back? If so, why? Do they veer off on tangents? If so, how do I bring them back? Do I want to bring them back? Or do I let them go chasing down rabbit (hah!) trails?

It’s also been kind of frustrating because while they do know each other, their relationships are changing. So the rhythm, the dynamics of their conversation has changed, which means that tones, attitudes, and word choices that might’ve been appropriate for Covenants are out of whack here and I have to dig to discover what is appropriate. I love it when my characters make me work. Ah well, characters changing and maturing is good for a series, I suppose. No one stays the same forever. Unless you’re Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe.

By the way, only 96 shopping days until Christmas.


  1. If these guys have all known each other for quite a while then the obvious answer is that they will start to know what the others are thinking to a certain point.

    However in my mind what might change that is if something has happened which might bring about a new reason to cause trouble or distrust in the group dynamic.

    Whenever I work in a group with people and I have worked with the same people for quite a while I find that I know what they are going to do and how they will approach it, the characters who have gone from novel to novel may have that extra bond that people says comes from conflict and how men bond closer from that.

    Thats what I think I hope it doesnt too mentalist

  2. Christmas, please don't remind me! Though I would love to see all of your charchters in a shopping mall on black friday...

  3. It doesn't sound mentalist, Phil. I think it's a good analysis of the situation. Part of the challenge I have is that Rabbit is maturing and so what he might've internalized once upon a time he's now voicing. He also got to see in Shadows Past that those in authority over him have their own foibles and issues that affect their decisions--something that he knew theoretically but it has an greater impact, I think, when it's experienced first hand. He's still deferring because Suiden and the rest *are* authority to him, but he's more assertive now, not hesitating to state his opinion, even if it's contrary to what the others think. So while he might've kept quiet in Covenants, he's now speaking his mind--respectfully, of course.

    And Moofie, Rabbit, Wyln and Laurel in Macey's on Black Friday would be awesome.