Revision Xibalba: Asking WHY

The end is in sight!

I had some dialogue that contained crucial information the reader needed to know–but it was borderline “technical” or “infodump.”  I didn’t want the section to read like a Maya textbook, but if you didn’t understand the background mythology, none of the “Gate” magic would make sense. 

After reading Donald Maass’s The Fire in Fiction, I knew I needed to add some subtle tension between Jaid and another character to punch up this dialogue scene.  I’d already laid the groundwork with Dr. Reyes — I just needed some crucial details.   I knew he believed, but WHY did he believe?  It had to be more than “he’s Guatemalan.”

One of the most crucial questions in the writer’s toolbox is WHY. 

But I was really drawing a blank tonight.  I worked late for the Evil Day Job (I have a 6/30 deadline there, too, actually 6/29 because I’d like to take the holiday off starting 6/30) and I was just braindead.  I finally decided to read back through my notes on Guatemala City, where Dr. Reyes lives and works.  In the last revision pass, I created a crucial tie between him and one other “extraneous” character.  It would make perfect sense if I beefed up that connection, so I concentrated on the key event that drove Dr. Reyes meeting/knowing this other character.

Finally, the key hit me right between the eyes.  I bet you’ve probably never heard of Kaminaljuyu, even if you’re familiar with Tikal, Palenque, or Chich’en Itza, yet Kaminaljuyu has been called one of the greatest archeological sites of the New World.  It just happens to be in Guatemala City, too — actually beneath it.

So I completely fabricated a believable little plot element that explains why Dr. Reyes believes in the Gatekeeper.

Only one item remains for Revision Xibalba II — just a little Oedipus Complex.  *snort*  Then to the dreaded synopsis revisions and a careful read through, preferrably hardcopy but I’m low on ink and paper.

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