Got a bit behind on posting chapter notes. Time to catch up, starting with ‘Tranquility rising’.
I am acutely aware of the impending ending of Arc 5. Despite the past few chapters being unusually quiet affairs, they’re building up to something.
I’m also deep in planning for Arc 6. I’ve always had a good sense of the broad beats of the final arc, but there’s a lot of meat on the bones now. It’s a tricky one, knowing it’s the final arc, because everything has to come together: there’s no extra time, because arc 7 doesn’t exist. Everything has to pay off, which means that everything has to be SET UP, and balancing all that out is a new challenge. Previously, there’s always been a ton of space at the back half of the book; now, we’re solidly IN the back half. That means having to pick and choose which threads and themes to properly explore, because inevitably I can’t do all of it.
This is where the ‘public first draft’ approach I have to writing becomes especially challenging. Starts and middles are fine, because it’s all setup and anticipation and driving action, without needing to ever conclude. Endings, though, need resolution and satisfaction and need to pull EVERYTHING that’s come before into some kind of neat (if bloodied) bow.
In A Day of Faces this was considerably simpler, as it was a single protagonist with a first person narration. That kept everything focused. The Mechanical Crown, on the other hand, is sprawling and epic with a huge cast and a broad plot, both geographically and thematically.
As for this specific chapter: this is where we see that all of Fenris’ self-doubt has washed away. He’s the disciple who has reached the promised land. He’s the believer who has been proven right. Of course, that’s a dangerous position to be in, because it means you’re not really paying attention to the real world. I don’t explore it in great detail, but I imagined the training hall to be like something out of a James Bond movie, where you see Q’s laboratory, or a SMERSH training camp as the bad guys walk through: that kind of intense cluster of activity. We catch a tiny glimpse of what some of the trainees are up to, but rest assured we’ll see more of their abilities down the line.