Worldbuilding: When Characters are Too Smart for That Old Trick….

Part of what’s making Seeds of Blood a bit tricky to edit in spots is… smart characters.

You see, I had a Bad Guy all picked out. Planned out a Lair, was going to have a Dungeon Crawl, all sorts of eep, ack, trying to sneak, etc.

And then the characters looked at the situation and said, “I’m not going down there.”

…Cue author Headdesk here.

So. In a situation like that, I figure there’s two main options. Either force the Ticking Clock so that the characters have to go down there despite knowing it’s a Bad Idea – or improvise.

This isn’t the really big battle at the end of the book. So piling on tension of “must do this or else!” didn’t really fit. Which left me with option two.

“Okay, you wiseacres. The bad guy’s down there. How the heck are you going to get him out?

The answer to that has involved a half-dozen reference books, ancient mythology, more recent local folklore, checking at least two maps, alcoholic beverages, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and fedoras. There may have also been mentions of anime.

…No, there were definitely mentions of anime.

So. The resulting not-exactly-a-fight (until it is) is what I’m hacking my way through now.

I suspect no one’s ever going to let Church put a security deposit down on anything, ever again.

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34 thoughts on “Worldbuilding: When Characters are Too Smart for That Old Trick….

  1. And you probably don’t want to know how her insurance companies have reacted . . . or how hard it is to get them to pay out for certain things – they didn’t believe that monsters had eaten it . . . or tried to claim that monster eating wasn’t covered . . . which it was . . . sort of . . . in that delightful way insurance companies have of writing their contracts so that you pay them what amounts to loads of money in exchange for them absolutely never, ever providing the service you are paying them for (ie the cost of repairing or replacing X after it has been damaged) . . .

    I could understand investigations and double-checking the claims’ people make – people do commit insurance fraud – but sometimes it does seem like you are paying a lot of money for a service they aren’t going to provide when you need it . . . which makes paying those premiums feel a lot like extortion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear about this all the time, but it seems so at odds with my own experience. Admittedly my own experience amounts to totaling my car by rear-ending a parked Ford truck that was old enough to still have a fully steel body, buuuuut…I still got my insurance payout.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s very much a Your Mileage May Vary situation. Some people have good experiences, others have bad experiences, still more have both.

        And just seems like for every time you hear of someone who got their insurance payout with a minimal of bother and fuss, you hear a story about someone for whom the same result all but took a decree from God to accomplish . . .

        I’ve had relatives who had to do battle with their insurance companies because neither the house, flood, OR fire insurance wanted to be the one to pay out. The homeowners kept saying it was flood or fire’s responsibility. Flood said it was fires since it was a fire (which was true) but the fire insurance keep trying to claim that flood should pay since it was water (from the fire hoses) that did most of the damage . . . it took a while to get them to stop paying pass the buck and for one to pay out and my relative did NOT appreciate the extra stress.

        And I’ve had ones who got paid with only a little paperwork and verification of information.

        Like I said – very much a YMMV thing, insurance . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What is insurance? It is a financial tool for managing risk. Risk is a possible adverse event that has not happened yet, and is not certain to happen.

        If you have a single risk, it can be challenging to best manage financially.

        If you have a bunch of similar risks that you understand statistically, you can predict how many happen per period, and about how much you have to pay out. Then you can collect money to cover what you expect to pay out, plus a bit extra for your own organizational friction and uncertainty.

        But you have to carefully define the risk, and what you pay out under what circumstances.

        As purchasers we buy a lot of insurance product in our society. (Possibly more than we should.) In some cases there are laws requiring it. People do not uniformly calculate costs, risks, and payouts when they select an insurance contract. Sometimes purchasers do not set their expectations for the payout based on how the contract compares to the event, and sometimes the sellers act in bad faith because they expect they can get away with it. (Sometimes insurance companies make bad decisions and cannot act in good faith.) Sometimes both purchaser and seller are in close agreement about what ought to be paid out for a particular event.

        Because there are many purchases, and many events, we should expect a mixture of anecdotes about insurance.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Another barrier to purchaser and seller of insurance being on the same page is that the agreement is a contract and therefore written in legalese. And stuff written legalese, in addition to containing GD Latin and Greek (but mostly Latin) terms, tends to be very, very long. A single sentence is the size of paragraph kind of long. And for most people, when it isn’t confusing, is extremely dull.

        Like if you ever can’t sleep, read some of that stuff kind of dull.

        Even lawyers don’t always like having to read it and will gladly shove that task off on one of their paralegals.

        So while you should and are supposed to read contracts before signing them, most people don’t read their full policy agreement for signing onto it because the actual thing is often so long, dull, and might be difficult to understand without some knowledge of law.

        It’s kind of a like the Terms of Service agreement for software or websites – most people click I agree without even reading it. Especially if the darn thing is like 63 pages of legalese.

        Heck, maybe even some of the insurance people selling those polices don’t understand the whole thing because they aren’t lawyers either.

        Just saying that stuff like that does make it more difficult for everyone to be on the same page. And Miscommunication of any kind can cause no end of hard feelings.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Given the imminent collapse of health insurance as a line of business, it is not surprising that some companies are trying to avoid payouts on the lines of business propping up their continued existence. Which is not to say that they have no fiduciary responsibility to pay up.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I forget how far back the London market goes, but I think it would have to be after, say, 900 AD.

        If you count shares on trade ships, that probably existed when she was born.

        There’s reason to think that such is implied by the myth of Argo, which should make it quite ancient.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Ancient Roman fire insurance was part of how Pompey made his bucks, IIRC, and it also was an issue in Nero’s time. Back then, it meant paying protection money, mostly, but it also meant that his fire brigades would fight fires at your building. (Depending on the neighborhood, there were other fire defense schemes, mostly of the bucket brigade type.)

      Don’t know much about the situation in Alexandria.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. My bunnies have been pulling me into trying to plot a horrible mishmash of crossover that has been refusing to give me an inciting incident or even a shred of a timeline.

    I need people moving around more than it makes sense for even the craziest to choose to do so, and well beyond where simple accident can take them.

    Yesterday or so I figured out a major setting gimmick that does some of what I want. Today I found or made a character whose gimmicks are very well suited to meeting people, starting fights, and making allies the way I need. Now I have an inciting incident.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I just barely parse Kabane infection, so I’d lean heavily on ‘idiot Ancient anti-Wraith weapon’.

        I’m getting the usual insistence that a) late Atlantis canon can be scrapped b) Elizabeth Weir is the reincarnation of the Goa’uld Athena, as a crossover with Saint Seiya. But the second would have to be pretty minimal to avoid messing up the other crossover element.

        Ancients did something stupid, but it backfired heavily enough that they put a virus into the network that would recognize Kabane, and isolate addresses that had such pass between. Wraith have the tech to bypass such, as do Asurans, etc…, but it might be effective on lower tech monsters, so the Ancients could have all sorts of things hidden. At least on gate networks advanced enough to support such screening. The Wraith at least might know enough and be sane enough about risk that they wouldn’t go around unsealing such things.

        If Weir has Athena’s memories, and a few loyal cultists hidden in the Atlantis population, she could have done some covert investigations into such things.

        Galaxy riddled with systems full of horrible sealed Ancient experiments would be a good replacement AU setting for Universe. (Assuming also a wholesale replacement of cast and plot.)

        Liked by 2 people

      2. If the work was done and sealed up inside the Milky Way, there are Goa’uld who would totally try to break in and make use of it. Not really the Ori’s MO.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hmm. Per wiki, the Lanteans arrived in Pegasus millions of years ago fleeing a Milky Way plague, created the Wraith 10,900 years ago, and fled Pegasus for Milky Way 10,000 years ago, after creating the Asurans as another failed experiment.

        1. How did the Ancients isolate the new test worlds? 2. Where did the human population come from? 3. Why did the Kabane infection get loose twenty years ago?

        The Ancients should have had some sort of industrial base to work from here in the Milky Way. We can speculate that they could have built a smaller network of more recent gates either on Milky Way planets that had been overlooked before, or another Galaxy. Or perhaps a star cluster unknown to modern earth astronomers, far enough from the Milky Way that the Goa’uld have overlooked it, but near enough not to need special means to investigate. I think one of these secure network gates might be on another planet in the Solar System. My bunnies think Janus duplicated the time loop machine, hooked it to the secure network, and set it up as a fail safe.

        The Ancients settled the humans, they needed test stock for some of the experiments.

        My bunnies think either a bug in the fail safe interactions let a Kabane off one of the isolated secure worlds onto a secure world, then didn’t implement the isolation protocol, or the Ashrak Goa’uld Queen was investigating, and a lone Ashrak who had penetrated the secure network carried the infection from one world to another.

        (The recently made gate network is secure, does not connect to regular gates, and requires a security key to open any wormhole. Isolation might be the time loop machine, or it might only be a complete lockdown of the gate.)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. LMAO. Yes, smart characters have a way of derailing plots, but you always wind up cheering for the guy smart enough NOT to go down into the Dark Forbidding Lair of DOOM. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Donuts and chocolate chip cookies have always served as an effective lure for me, but this sounds like it’s going to be a bit more complicated.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey, it’s much more interesting to see the non-obvious path of luring the enemy out. However hard it is for the writer to figure out how. 🙂
    I’m really looking forward to this book.

    Liked by 1 person

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