FB: Xan has squiggle vision.

I’ll get into the plot side of this sequence more tomorrow.

You can see me tinkering with transitions a bit here, from Sundar’s “safely” back to Shanna’s “how are we defining ‘safely?'”, which could comment amusingly on Sundar’s line as well as more directly on Carol’s. There’s a hint of that on the next page, too. I’ve played with that sort of verbal (and sometimes visual) jump more extensively in Traveler, and I’ve gone on enough here about 1980s-era Alan Moore, who used the device often enough that it became a tic. If Flo and I had (1) not been writing this chapter together, (2) had enough lead time to talk through style points like this, or (3) not had like eighty million plot points to juggle in this big wrap-up, then I might have pushed to make these winking transitions a standard for the rest of this chapter. Since we hadn’t used them much before, it could be read as a sign that the barriers between the two worlds were breaking down, especially if we’d included more mid-page jumps between them.

Would that have been better for the story? Not sure. Sometimes gimmicks like that lessen the power of the worlds you create by making your fingerprints too visible on the page: the magic(k) dies if the reader spends too much time looking at the puppet strings. But after readers had gotten this far, their immersion probably could’ve withstood it. I would’ve liked to give it a shot.

Doing Traveler has gotten some of the Alan Moore influence out of my system, to the point where I probably won’t imitate him as much in the future. But I could still see using his devices in a pointed, moderate context like this one.