I am a big supporter of the “Just get it out, edit later” camp when it comes to first drafts. However, sometimes that just won’t work.
Every now and again, I run up against a scene where I know something is off. I don’t always know what, and I don’t always listen, and sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. We hit a point in Asylum where it stalled out for a while because Naj was trying to tell me he wasn’t reacting right to Kain. We kept writing, and eventually found the snag, and it was fairly easy to fix. It might get more smoothing over in the edits, but it wasn’t anything so bad we couldn’t keep writing.
Sometimes Seth will do that to me, where he just sits down like a stubborn llama and goes “Uh-uh, not right, not writing. We fix it now, or we don’t go forward.” Other times, we’ll but plugging along and we’ll hit a speed bump of continuity issues, and he’ll go “No worries – you have to re-write all that theology stuff anyways. When you’ve got it right, let me know and I’ll adjust. Until then, I’m going to keep calling the falcons “the falcons” and we’ll just fix it later. Don’t bother me with details.”
He’s kind of a brat like that.
Jean, on the other hand, is a sweetheart. He gets a little overwhelmed from time to time, and I’ve had to step away from his writing more than I have any other character, but bless his heart, he tries. Unfortunately, he’s a little too eager and not so skilled a story teller as Seth is, so in an effort to oblige me, we’ve been soldiering on for days now with a glaring inconsistency, and it’s finally tripped us up beyond the point of recovery.
It was a very minor thing. We were talking about modes of travel, and my very American brain ran over his European one. I’ve never been to Europe, I’ve never traveled across Europe, and I’ve most certainly never traveled with a circus. Jean has. But he didn’t want to interrupt, so he let me carry on, telling another character that the castle was only a day’s drive away. First of all, it was not, it was a day’s train ride away, very different. Second, the character he was talking to had no car, and his group would not be traveling by car. Irrelevant information to give him.
But we kept going anyways. Jean and his new friends had lovely conversations and sad conversations and eventually the words just stopped coming. I asked him why, and he didn’t really have an answer, until I suddenly realized the problem – Jean was being too meta. He was trying to answer as if he knew the other troupe was only two towns away to the south, and that they would all be traveling along the same path, and could all travel together, if they wanted. Jean had no way of knowing that, and so he very politely just stopped answering.
And now I see that if I go back and have him tell Leem it’s a day’s train ride away instead of car ride, then we have a trajectory. Trains go along tracks, we establish the train goes through this town and the one we are going to, and we open up Leem to be able to mention that the town they are in also has a train stop, if it does (I think it does. I’d have to have Caitlin ask Leem for sure.) and we can move on from there. Jean gets the knowledge he needs to suggest they travel together and life goes on.
Now if he’d have just corrected me three days ago when I first made that mistake.
Breaking in new characters is hard. They never seem to believe me when I give them free reign to correct me and argue with me.
Except for Seth. Seth was born an insufferable ass.