Monday, April 18, 2016

Plotting by squirrel.

Alert (not to mention long-time) readers of hearth/myth may recall this post from four years ago, in which I went into some painstaking detail about how I created the overarching plot of the original Pipe Woman Chronicles series. To review: I originally planned four or five books, each corresponding to a cardinal point on the Sioux medicine wheel. Seized corresponded to the East, where things begin; Fissured, to the South, the home of youth and passion; and so on. And I stuck to that structure when plotting the series, which eventually did end up being five books.

When I got to Land, Sea, Sky, I was a little less structured. I did come up with three main characters: Sue was allied with Earth goddess Gaia; Darrell was the Sea guy, by virtue of being in the Navy; and investigative reporter Tess was Sky, which can also be air and which is generally considered to be about communication. Each one got a book, nominally, although their stories were sufficiently intertwined that it might have been hard to tell whose book was whose from the outside, unless you knew what the author was trying to do. (Hint: Crosswind is Tess's book, Undertow is Darrell's, and Scorched Earth is Sue's.)
Peter Trimming | CC 2.0 | flickr.com

And then I began plotting the Pipe Woman's Legacy series, and all my careful plans went out the window.

Originally, I intended to write just two books, with Sage as the main character in both. She was, after all, conceived by a couple of god-possessed humans. And White Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman had meddled sufficiently in Naomi's life that it seemed logical to me that she would also lay claim to Sage in some way. So Earth's savior Sage, together with her pals, got their duology. That rounded out the whole Pipe Woman Chronicles story arc to ten books.

But then people asked me, "What about Webb? Doesn't he get a book?" The more I thought about it, the more I realized he should. He had enough magical power to presume that the circumstances of his conception were probably similar to his sister's (without, one hopes, Joseph going walkabout for a couple of weeks afterward this time).

At that point in my planning process, things got a little squirrelly. The plot of Webb's duology is different from the rest of the series. For one thing, the gods are largely absent from Spider's Lifeline (and getting to Them is going to take up a chunk of the next book). For another, this is the first time I've handed the reins of the narrative over to a Trickster, and in some respects he's leaving me guessing. I was surprised, when I went to draft the outline for book 4, to discover just how far afield the story had gone in book 3.

But fear not. Webb and I have had a chat, and he's promised to stick to the plan in the next book. We'll see how long it lasts.

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Hugs and big thanks to those of you who have purchased a copy of Spider's Lifeline so far. You're all my new best friends. For those of you who have not yet grabbed a copy, the eBook will be available at Amazon for just 99 cents through the end of this month. That's not exactly forever -- so go get it now, before you forget. Thanks!

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These moments of squirrelly blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.
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