Those Pesky Factuals!

It’s always the little things that trip you, those nonsense facts that get in the way of a perfectly good story in the mind by cluttering it up with “issues” once on paper – it’s the little things that force you through necessity to change the structure and eventually warp the entire story – And guess what, we’re going to use Va’el as an example (again), so grab a cuppa and get comfortable.

Evolution happens during the writing of most stories, I guess, and sometimes it happens because of those little things that shouldn’t matter, but do. Time constraints seem to cause me more issues than anything else. By “time constraints” I don’t mean being limited to writing a certain number of hours in a day. No, I’m not talking about time constraints on me, I’m talking about time constraints inside the story.

A perfect example is Va’el being 10. In my mind, when I planned him, he was 18 and just emerging as another villain with interesting potential somewhere around book 4 or book 5. So why the heck did I introduce him in book 2 at the age of 10?

Because I did the sums and I had to.

Sturn lived in exile for 10 years. As I want him to be in his early 30s now, he was in his early 20s when he left. That works. If I made it 15 or 20 away for him, he’d have been a child himself when he was kicked out of the Empire and not likely to have fathered anybody, or he’d be a heck of a lot older now and his story back home would be different.

See how the little things can mess you up in big ways?


When you discover (in book 2, The King’s Sacrifice) how and why he was exiled in the first place, Sturn was clearly an adult at the time, so that left two choices. Either Va’el had to get younger at his introduction, or Sturn had to get older and the story had to change.

Sturn’s story was already worked out, Va’el’s was not, so Sturn won. Easy-peasy and no massive re-write. Great! But Va’el still appears in book 2.

Yes, of course he does. With Sturn coming home, the boy was not likely to be invisible. That meant I couldn’t tuck Va’el away and “conveniently” introduce him in a later book as the 18 year-old. Not going to work. He can’t be invisible, so up he pops aged 10.

See, more factuals getting in my way…

…However, I know him much better now, and I think he’ll grow on you (all right, all right – eventually), and now half of this story is his own… and good fun… so… I guess it works. 😛

Have a great day everyone.



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