- I am emphasizing certain themes that seemed too trivial or obvious during earlier drafts. The example I'm thinking of is the role of women in the PA world. The other is Madison's attitude toward marriage. I understood both internally, but I felt if I hit the themes too hard in the beginning, I would be preaching. And there were other things about Madison and her world that I did not know and needed to explore. But going back to it, I can seed these issues lightly.
- Madison is dealing with more difficult situations. Sometimes it's tighter, more confrontational dialogue. Because I know more about the whole story, I can point conflict in the right direction. In the example I mentioned earlier, it is to have Madison do something almost unforgiveable, for which she feels no remorse. The scene has always been in the novel, but now I'm shaving away the soft parts and letting it stand as it is. I want to show that she has given up her humanity in order to save her family. I love the scene and I hope it works.
Anyway, I'm heading into the home stretch. It's as good as I've ever seen it.
While I slave away, here are some notes from my dental appointment yesterday! I know, who cares, right? Except the whole teeth-in-the-PA-world thing bothers me a great deal. Most writers don't address it. Why would they? Unless you're writing Marathon Man 2050, you don't want to go there. Harry Turtledove is almost the only guy who mentions teeth, and he said something about dental health not being good in the primitive alternates. Is he right? I asked my hygienist. Disclaimer: these are my notes and whatever I got wrong is not the fault of my wonderful and intelligent dental health professional. I spent most of my time shuddering and climbing the walls during the appointment.
In a world without soda and fruit juice and very little, if any, sugar, teeth would have much less decay. People who had a lot of fillings and dental work Pre-A would still be vulnerable to splits and breaks in their teeth. Fillings can weaken the teeth because tooth is extracted and refilled, thus compromising tooth integrity. Fillings, bridge work and crowns could also fall out. People born PA would not have the exposure to soda and juice and their teeth would be much stronger with very little, if any, decay. There would be fewer breaks, almost no cavities. I forgot to ask about wisdom teeth.
On the other hand, periodontal issues are much more dependent on a person's genetics. Perio disease (gingivitis, periodontitis, both chronic and aggressive) is plaque growing and spreading below the gum line. A person's genetic predisposition would not be helped or altered by the environment. As plaque grows and spreads under the gum line, it causes inflammation, swelling and bleeding and inflammatory response, where the body turns on itself, and the issues that support teeth are destroyed. Bone and tooth loss results.
Also of interest, your gums are extremely sensitive to stress and hormonal changes.