I never believed stories that had magic without consequence. Every exertion of power has pollution, creates waste or an opportunity for backlash. Magic should be risky, in whatever its form. The magic of this world is language, but I felt there should still be risk (as I got into more with Enna Burning). This scene with Falada is one way that's shown. Also, I knew what was coming for Falada was going to be so hard that I (the Reader I) needed an interim scene.
I remember including details of hanged men in Bayern because in Tacitus wrote about such things, but also because the danger needed to stay contant. To keep the tension high, we need to realize Ani is in a place where people are killed all the time, and she could be next.
From Rosie (warning, some spoilers for the rest of the Books of Bayern): "I've been studying alternative healing for the past 3 years. In the Chinese/eastern system, there are 5 Elements or Rhythms that affect us and how we see the world-Water, Wood, Fire, Earth & Metal. I've used your books to help my study, it's fascinating to see how the aspects of each element play out in each character. And the fact that it all developed very organically as you worked on each book-wow.
Ani/Isi's story is a classic Metal archtype-the person raised in isolation, with a strong sense of duty, who has to develop a way to reach out to others in order to fulfill their destiny. Fiery Enna would of course make a dramatic entrance. And the fire language consumed her much more quickly than Isi's wind. Razo I couldn't figure out for the longest time, but of course he's Wood-the warrior, pioneer, the only one of his family to leave the Forest and go to the city to find work. Water element likes to stay hidden and is afraid of exposure, and Dasha's story is the only one that the narrator doesn't tell us. We only know her through her actions and conversation. Earthy Rinn is so in tune to what others are feeling that she loses herself in them. She's the only one who chooses in the end, to get to know herself better rather than finding a sweetheart." That's a lovely and thoughtful analysis, thank you. You're right, I didn't study alternative healing or the Chinese/eastern system you mention. I do however think about each book I write not just in isolation but in relation to my other books. I don't ever want to write the same character twice. (though I'll admit that initially, there was a strong connection between Ani and Britta from Princess Academy)
Amanda asks, "when you write, do you start at the beginning and go to the end, or do you write different scenes and then put them together? Like you know what you want the ending to be, so do you write the ending and then go back?" I do everything. Depends on the book and the draft. For this book, I wrote linearly without editing the first draft and then did about 30 rewrites.