damned hard question

It's been a busy time. But apparently now it's March, and that means two things: spring riding on the much deserved pow-pow and me spending the rest of my free time, such as it is, sinking into the sort of creative fugue that makes books and my husband sockless.

re: post title.  Every book has a DHQ, and I've just found mine. I have arrived at an Answer in my book, and that is The Big Idea, as Scalzi likes to call it.  His is more graceful and admittedly less annoyed sounding.  We'll go with mine.

That question, for me, relates to how faith drives people to violence.  I realized at once how I'd come at this all backward and how I already had the Thing that could motivate the entire story and every character in it all along, which was of course the silver place (the vague name, got to read the book to find out the real name). Sign after sign right in the text pointed me at the DHQ, if I'd just been paying attention.

I've long been fascinated with the Crusades.  And after doing some recent reading, I realized the common modern perception is likely very wrong, that it was about land and wealth.  Sure, for some it might've been. But considering that on some crusades half the people died just getting there, and that they weren't just knights, but peasants and women and children, something else, something they saw as bigger than themselves, drove them to it.


I'm not diatribing on the rightness or wrongness of action in the Crusades. (In fact, I think you'll find I lean toward the wrongness.) And I'm certainly not touching faith with a ten foot pole, not here, anyway.  But SCAR started slipping into a new context when  I realized that faith was enough motivation, is enough motivation for some people, whether I understand it or not. And therein lies the DHQ: How can faith possibly be enough to drive a wo/man to do horrible things? 

The problem is, of course, that I now must answer my DHQ via my fiction, and to do that I have to answer it for myself.  And all along, I've known there is no real answer, because faith lies within each of us, or not, and so I have to write a book with a DHQ with no answer and yet let readers arrive at some satisfaction.

All along when I've disucssed the book with myself, I've said that I wanted the story to raise more questions than it answers for readers.  Weirdest bit yet: I think I might know how to do it, leave them satisfied and questioning all at once.

This discovery is part of the process, I know, an annoying part because it never happens early enough.  Yet, I've arrived there in no small part due to Wyrdd, who's graciously emailed back and forth on these issues and others.

So now the book has new, and I think absolute, focus and direction.  Every chapter feels sharp and knowing, even when it's wrong in the focus, especially when it's wrong.

Damned Hard Question. But hell, at least now I know what the question is.

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