One of my favorite songs starts this chapter:
Don't look down, don't look down
In midair you drown, drown
Pa: I love Pa in this chapter. This stuff came late, around the ninth draft I think. In earlier drafts, Pa's actions at the end of the chapter had been Peder's, but Dean (The Husband) read it and made the remark that he wondered what her pa was thinking and doing, and it just made sense to give the action to him. Changing that bit of action reverberated through the rest of the novel till this wonderful layer of Miri's relationship with her father became more defined and weighty. Sometimes changing just one moment can change how I see an entire subplot or character and help me realize how to make the book better. Rewriting is essential--not just thinking about rewriting but actually doing it.
The confrontation: I love action scenes. I love a great fight scene with people who are physically strong and skilled. But I'm also interested in different kinds of strength and power. In the kind of power that Miri wielded when she told their captors the story of the bandits on Mount Eskel, and how that story stayed with them, made them suspicious of the mountain itself, put fear inside them. I'm interested in the power of cleverness. I'm interested in stories.
Alison asks, "how did the other villagers react when Peder told them that the girls weren't coming home?" I try not to give plot and character information that isn't in the text so that readers are free to do it themselves. I don't want to be the sole Voice of Authority.
Jessica asks, "When I write, I learn of my imperfections along the way, and it makes it so hard to continue writing, because I worry that the imperfections could mess up the plot. Have you ever encountered that? And how do you endure it?" I try to keep moving forward and rewrite later. If I've written half of a first draft and I realize that I've made a major error that I need to change to go forward, I will, but usually I try to write linearly and save rewriting for later. It's hard to do, and I wasn't able to successfully write a novel to completion till I was in my mid-20s.
grace asks, "How old is Miri by the end of "Palace of Stone"?" I don't think I actually name her age in the new book, but she's 15 by the end of PA1, in the spring. Her birthday is in high summer. PA2 starts 6 months after the end of PA1 and the action takes place over another 6 month period, so throughout she's 16.