Bit of a breakthrough this morning. As I think I mentioned in an earlier post, Odin has power over the dead. Hel also has power over the dead. Lots of spoilers for my second book in the stuff that follows. Just saying.
Arrr, ye been warned.
Who has the powah!
What I’d been having trouble figuring out from a story point of view is why Odin would let Hel gain power over something he controlled. My solution there was to mess with the timing. Odin gained the power first, dropped the ball on paying attention to everything, and that enabled Hel to gain a similar power. But the two of them have different powers over the dead which fits into my narrative.
Another problem I had was regarding a journey Odin (and Frigg) take into the spirit-realm to rescue the spirit of their son Baldr. This is part of the opening scenes of Dark Grows the Sun.
The myths are pretty clear — Hel has Baldr’s spirit and she ain’t giving it back.
Well, why? How did it get to that point?
In my book, Odin (and Frigg) go into the spirit world to get Baldr’s spirit back. They end up having bargain with Hel–which Odin hadn’t expected. He thought it’d be easy peasy.
One problem with this encounter was idiot-plotting. If I put those three at the table, then what would prevent them from hashing out a deal right then and there? (And if they did that, then there’s no story to tell.)
They all have something they want from each other, but Hermod still has to go to Hel and screw up — meaning that Hel keeps Baldr’s spirit — thus thwarting Odin’s (and Frigg’s) goal of bringing him back to life.
For a long time I could not figure out to make that happen without essentially forcing Odin and Hel into fake disagreement that resulted in what I wanted to happen (i.e., idiot plotting).
The opposite of that is creating a situation in which they naturally and believably can’t come to an agreement. Or they come to an agreement neither really likes but can live with (my long-winded way of saying “compromise”). Each of them are interacting in what they perceive to be their own best interests. So they have to do and say things that fit. Otherwise, the scene won’t ring true.
The breakthrough! (maybe)
So, I think I just figured it out. At least in the first draft. I deleted about 1500 words doing that, but hey, if they’re shit words then good riddance, right?
I’ll see how well this scene actually works tomorrow morning, but I think it’s 75% there.
Well, I hope it is.
And in fixing this stuff at the beginning, then future scenes should be more stable — even if I have to scrap and rewrite them — because then the foundation will be more stable.