Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Diagraming Babel (Part 22)

Diagram 22: Things are coming to a head. Will and Alcyone have finally reached a point in their relationship where they can speak frankly to one another. And, quite frankly, they speak more frankly than the reader is probably expecting.

I'll transcribe the notes at the bottom in the annotations. From bottom to top:


The Office

Flight *

& truth


Annotations and Explanations:

There are two footnotes/additions after the diagram. The first and lower one reads: Trickster Tale RAVEN.

The second is in a kind of pidgen shorthand I invented and reads:

Alcyone is fearless. She can speak truthfully.
– Why did you steal the ring?
–To learn the truth
–Did you?
–Did it make you happy?
– What do you think?

As before, the dialog is in my college pal Jay's abbreviated emotional gist for what I want said, rather than the actual words they'll use.

What I'm doing here is basically figuring out where I can find room to fit all the explication that has to come out naturally. Otherwise, the chapter will turn into one of those dreary exercises where two characters explain things to each other. ("So the monster was actually seven men in an elephant skin?" "Yes, all part of my sister's warped plan to get elected to City Council." "But then why ...?")

By this time the reader has to have doubts that the Missing Prince scam will actually work, so Will has to explain its mechanisms. The hastily-scrawled footnote sign shows that I decided on the spot to have him do so by telling a trickster tale, and specifically one starring Raven. Since this is a trick that hasn't been done in the novel before, it should be more entertaining than straight exposition would be.

The office section is heavily shaded because that's the scene I expect to spend the rest of the day working on.
The back-and-forth arrows in the office are people coming and going with orders from higher-ups and work they expect to be done. Anybody who's ever tried to work through the nuances of a romantic entanglement during work hours will understand how annoying this can be.

The H stands for "hippogriff." At this point I meant to establish exactly why the ring had been stolen while the two were in flight to interview the West. By the time I got to the flight, however, there was so much going on that there simply wasn't room for it. So I added a scene in a later chapter, where the reader gets to witness the ring in use, rather than hear about it.

The W is the West. One of the few significant characters in the book who is non-recurring. I forget what the thesis-antithesis-synthesis-truth thing was all about, but I'm sure I took care of it in the text.

Note that I originally thought Will and Alcyone could go off with each other at the end of the novel. The ring scene pretty effectively put the kibosh on that notion.


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