SOC Chapter 12: "Shaa and Mont Go to Jail"

By this time in the book, I was enjoying writing dialogue for Shaa and Mont so much that I'd started throwing in stuff that was, frankly, a little loopy - and knowing Shaa, this took some doing. Hence, the barely concealed quotation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's maxim on "Action is character." It had been drummed into my head enough that I thought I should get some more use out of it. It was also nice to see that my characters had absorbed the lesson as well.

Catastrophe, and the larger Dance of Gods, were not outlined and plotted in meticulous detail. I've done this on other projects, and have sometimes had to undo it, too, once the characters started to head off in their own directions. Leaving the plotting on the loose side, though, at least until the cascading complexities of Fate and Apocalypse required more formal choreography, let characters seize the stage in combinations I had not initially anticipated. The interplay between Mont and Shaa, and then Mont's extended family, was one of these opportunities.

The trick with Shaa, though, is balancing his attitude against the increasingly hazardous situations in which he finds himself. His sense of the ridiculous is clearly a way of distancing himself from situations which could be overwhelming if taken too seriously, rather than just seriously enough. Of course, an entire book of just Shaa would be too much of a good thing - and the same is true of any of the other main characters, too, which is why the structure depends so much on being able to move back and forth between them, and then ultimately let them collide.

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