Monday, April 3, 2017


The WIP, currently being called Generations of Sunset, though this perhaps doesn't even qualify as a "working" title since it doesn't (*), is in fact still a thing.

I haven't had much to say about it of late, being distracted by such epochal life changes as a haircut, getting some cabinets for my kitchen, a sick puppy (who is fine now, she just gets an upset stomach now and then), a tiny travel plan or two, and the joy of watching someone I care about a lot falling for someone new. But I do still play around with WRITING.

For my writer pals who stop in here sometimes, I have a question. Have any of you ever given a character some trait that suits your purposes, more than necessarily follows reality?

I'm writing in a period when life expectancies were not what they are today. In The Ax and the Vase, the historical character Bishop Remigius of Rheims was extremely long-lived indeed, but this was true of the actual man, and indeed I used that longevity to speak to his charisma; that he was so venerable marked his holiness for the other characters. In GoS, though, I have a serving woman living a very long life.

It was perhaps easier for anyone, servitor or queen, to get in an extra decade or three, living at a royal court, as opposed to squalor or slavery outside of a palace.

Some people did of course live past thirty-five, even in the "Dark Ages" (well, or just before them). What I am doing, stretching this character across generations, isn't exactly fantasy. But the character's life is directly tied to my need of her presence in every place, at every birth, even through the deaths, through her time.

I don't ask other authors whether they've done this in order to get approval, but out of curiosity. Zeniv has to live a very long time because she is not merely important, but she views the coming of new generations, and is part of the setting, the changing world. She is one pair of eyes witnessing what may be a death (the dynasty of Theodoric the Great) or a birth (a new age, what we came to call the Dark Ages), or may just be the world as it is.

This doesn't quite rise - or sink - to the question of ethics in writerly choices, but I am curious about choices like this that other writers make.

Has any of you ever stretched the parameters of your setting, of history, or usual expectations to accommodate your needs for the story? How?

* As with so many things I think to be clever, the title is a bit of a pun. For many of us, sunset marks an ending - it is the end of the day. But we forget, that is only one way to look at things. Sunset is the beginning of the next day; your dreams are not a closing out of the day past, but the first thing in your mind before you wake to a new day.

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