Twenty-Five of Thirty

The issues with bringing lone characters into fairy land for the first time are multiplying. On the other hand, I’m in fairy land now, and dealing primarily with a new type of creature, which has made things slightly easier. Back on that first hand, though: This character in on a completely different emotional journey than the reader is. The character is like “oh, fuck, fairy land is hella weird,” but the readers are getting used to fairy land by now, and to them these new wolf monsters are a new threat in a location that has otherwise begun to be familiar. Particularly, the viewpoint character of the last arc absolutely thrashed a large number of (small, weak, and cowardly, but still) hostile fairies. Fairy land can bleed. It can’t only be thwarted by exploiting specific magical weaknesses like in the first arc, you can also just walk up and stab it in the face if you’re badass enough.

If I had set this up properly, the characters would be in contact with one another between expeditions to fairy land, or else all traveling through fairy land together. Either way, they would know what other characters had been through by default, and would only be unaware of what other characters had learned about fairy land if they were still in danger and hadn’t had time to swap stories. This way, protagonist #3 might not have personally faced all the dangers of fairy land that 1 and 2 have, but just like the reader she knows what they are and will only be surprised to see the new threats.

Alternatively, I could’ve set things up so that each character had a noticeably different reaction to fairy land, but that was also more planning ahead than anything but the first arc got. Instead, protagonist #3’s reaction is mostly just a cross-section of protagonist #1 and protagonist #2’s reactions. #1 entered with trepidation but also determination, because she wanted what she’d came for even though the place frightened her, and intended to steal what she came for. #2 entered not just determined but Hellbent on achieving her goal. She didn’t just want to get the thing she came for, she wanted to prove she could go and get it by force. #1 takes in fairy land fearfully. #2 glosses over her journey and only starts focusing when she gets close to her destination and begins to plan her attack.

#3 is here for recon purposes because she’s trying to find #2, who was stranded in fairy land by injuries as the result of her bullrush on hostile redcaps and now no one back in mundane town knows what’s become of her. #1 presumes she is dead and refuses to help anyone else enter fairy land because she’s afraid they’ll end up dead too. That was real compelling for the one argument, but didn’t pan out long term. Now #3 has got into fairy land anyway, alone, and she’s an uninteresting middle ground between #1’s fear barely overcome by her greed and #2’s zealous pride.

By highlighting what few differences exist, this might all seem fairly interesting. The problem is, there’s too much in common to stretch these things out for a full paragraph or two, and yet the characters need that paragraph or two in order to have a reaction to fairy land. It makes perfect sense for protagonist 1 or 2 to be all “and then she walked back through the fairy forest again” because they’ve been there before and throwing out a one line scene transition is fine. Protagonist #3 has never been here before. She needs to react, but because I didn’t really plan these characters or the plot out past the first arc, her reaction comes across as kinda dull because dear God, it’s the third time someone’s been to fairy land and been like “whoa, the moon’s super bright and the animals talk.”

Now I’ve got past that, though, and I’ve got protags 2 and 3 talking to each other, there’s a timeskip there where 2 can plausibly inform 3 of everything she’s learned about fairy land (which encompasses most of what protag 1 learned about fairy land, even if we did have to watch protag 2 learn it again), and the story is now primarily dealing with a new threat. Getting into fairy land and the initial reaction to fairy land have been reruns and I don’t even know how to rewrite around that without completely rewriting the whole thing (which I may at some point do), but now I’m freed of the constraints of my own lore, I can focus on the things that actually make this character unique instead of being constrained to the things that she has in common with the people who’ve already done this.

Ultimate progress report for the day is 40,032 words out of 41,667. If I can keep up 3k words per day tomorrow, I will only be a few hundred words behind quota with four days left to make that up. I think I just might pull this off.

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