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Johne

The Female Carries The Mystery Part Deux

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Don't stop me if you've heard this before because you've heard it before from Steven Pressfield (no less). I recently posted a link from Pressfield from 2019. This is another article from Pressfield in 2017.

Quote

"I mean that in a traditional detective story (which is what a police procedural is, even it’s set in the future like Blade Runner or Blade Runner 2049), the detective protagonist is usually following three threads as he drives the narrative forward:

Solve the crime/bring the villain to justice.

Unravel some inner personal conflict of his own.

Unearth the secret(s) of the female lead, with whom he has become emotionally involved.

There’s always a woman, and the woman always has a secret."


https://stevenpressfield.com/2017/10/the-female-carries-the-mystery/

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I belabor this point because I'm writing a detective story and there is a mysterious female. I'm thinking maybe I haven't made this point as broad (unintentional) as I should.
 

In THE BLUE GOLEM, Pyrynne Thann is the adopted daughter of the city's Chief Prefect (think 'Mayor'). When Clay Golem arrives in town his presence alarms the townsfolk who know all about the dark and violent history of golems in their midst. Pyrynne is tasked with showing Clay around and becomes his only friend. She takes Clay on a trip to broker a deal with striking lumberjacks and it becomes quite the adventure. They work well together and root out a provocateur and bring peace and a new deal to the workers. After they return to the city, Clay begins work as the city's best (and only) rickshaw driver. He resents the city's denizens and they fear him. He decides to leave the city and travel the world.  He goes to her apartment to tell her his exciting news when he discovers that she's gone missing, presumed kidnapped. (This is his Crossing the Threshold event and what prompts him to give up his dreams and become a defacto detective.)
 

For the bulk of the rest of the novel, Clay travels around interviewing people and the conversation always takes some variation of the same theme: "Do you know Pyrynne Thann?" "Everyone knows Pyrynne Thann." But Clay quickly learns that no two people know Pyrynne for the same thing. So this novel ostensibly is about Clay trying to discover his own identity but in practice he's really uncovering Pyrynne's identity. The intriguing thing is she will help him uncover his identity by the end of the trilogy, so his journey to knowledge will be revealed over time and she will be a key factor in that eventual revelation.
 

When I first began writing I'd intended to kill Pyrynne with her death serving as the inciting incident, but the more I wrote about her the more I liked her and I changed her fate from murder to kidnap. But the better I got to know her the less I liked the 'damsel-in-distress' trope for her and I changed her fate yet again so her disappearance was her idea and the evil Archmage was as clueless about her whereabouts as Clay.
 

It's interesting to me that the more I study Story Grid and related writers like Pressfield, the more I learn about my novel and its characters. It's weird that Pressfield wrote two posts with the same title and weirder yet that it took both of them to bring Pyrynne Thann into sharper focus in my novel.

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3 hours ago, Johne said:

When I first began writing I'd intended to kill Pyrynne with her death serving as the inciting incident, but the more I wrote about her the more I liked her and I changed her fate from murder to kidnap.

This happened to one of my characters in my WIP. He was gonna die. Until I actually wrote him into the story. Then I liked him too much to kill him. So now he's gonna live :) 

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1 minute ago, Claire Tucker said:

This happened to one of my characters in my WIP. He was gonna die. Until I actually wrote him into the story. Then I liked him too much to kill him. So now he's gonna live :) 

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