Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Writing oneself into a corner

A few months ago I unwisely made the comment that the thing I like about writing is that I control the characters’ lives in a way that I don’t really have control over my own life. I say unwisely, because I have written myself into a corner. Not an inescapable corner, but nonetheless, one that I will need to wriggle to get out of. On the one hand, it is an odd situation. On the other, it gives the plot interest.

I blithely married off two of my passengers, forgetting, or rather not paying attention to, the fact that one is a free settler while the other is a bonded passenger. The bonded passenger is required to pay off their passage by a set period of labour once the colony is reached. The free settler can do whatever they want when the colony is reached.

It brings up some interesting issues. There’s a new relationship that will be complicated whatever option is chosen. One option is separation until the bonded period is over while the bonded passenger works out their time with an employer who might or might not be in the same area as the free settler. Another would be for the free settler to buy out the bond or to employ the bonded passenger. Employing your new partner, or even worse, purchasing their labour, is not always the best basis for starting marriage. I’m mulling over options.

It looks as if the first few chapters of book two will be spent working out colonial bureaucracy – an universal theme that should appeal to, or at least resonate with, modern readers.

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