When writers need to know their math

I finished my first draft of a sequel to “A Question of Boundaries *WARNING! Shameless Self-Promotion!* that will be released Tuesday, August 26, by Astraea Press.  I loved Nathan and Caroline so much I couldn’t bear to let them go, so I created a new series of challenges for them.

Like most pantsers, I started out with a vague idea of where I was going and hoped my imagination would fill in the stops in between. That worked out well enough, but when I read through it I saw some discrepancies.  I think I mentioned in an earlier column that I steamboathad to figure out how long it took to travel by steamboat in the late 18th century. I did the math, but only up to a point. I thought it would take them months to make the trip, but I forgot to divide everything by 24 hours. So I had to rewrite scenes of events that happened during a week-long trip that in actuality took less than eight hours.

I’m glad I caught that one.

Because you never know in what direction the muse will take you, I also had to go back to earlier chapters to make sure they correctly foretold what was going to happen in later chapters.

I talked to a new author last week who confided, “I never knew writing a book was such hard work.”

Uh-huh.  It’s a lot of work, and it’s frustrating, and it sometimes makes me want to get out that embroidery project I started in college and never finished.

But I can’t do that. As I said, I love Nathan and Caroline, and somehow I can’t abandon them in the swamps of Floriana without throwing them a lifeline.

Floriana? Oh, you’ll have to read the book to find out where that is. And it’s closer than you think.







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