Plot Revelations: When You Come Full Circle & Realise You Totally Missed The Obvious

It went something like this, and I shall attempt brevity here. I recently started reading Revenge Capitalism by Max Haiven, and very quickly gave a brainy insight into current affairs on a Facebook post regarding a certain revenge narrative in the current political discourse.

I say brainy because I then gave myself permission for a self administered slap around the face for being so dim.

You see, I’d gotten to the end of the introduction and had a sudden, bewildering revelation about my novel, Red Star Rising: I had spent so long looking at the minutiae of my own narrative that I had overlooked the central philosophical element of the protagonists rationale for action.

If the protagonist is out for revenge, and having administered said slap I now needed to know more about revenge.

It was at this point that I then gave myself a double good slapping for the even greater brain fail of having everything I needed right here in this very office. In my possession are the works of an expert in the social study of revenge – my dear, departed friend Mr. Valentine, author and co-editor of Revenge in the Cultures of Lowland South America.

A book that I have even mentioned in a previous post! What can I say except that there is perhaps a kind of tunnel vision, and it is only when the time is right that you emerge into the light shining at the end.

So five minutes alone with this impeccable time and phrases like “revenge is a form of negative reciprocity” were popping in my brain. Ahhhhh! This was the stuff that was missing and which ties the beginning and the end of my own narrative together.

  1. It refines the protagonist’s ire who, although having been granted new powers, has no power to bring their friend back from the dead and so conceives the grievance in terms of a blood feud.
  2. The main patron deity of the city is a god of trade, and in conceptions of revenge (e.g. in Amazonian societies like the Curripaco) are framed in terms of exchange. Therefore, this deity must have another face, perhaps a forgotten face of that negative reciprocity, paid in blood.
  3. The key to the lack lustre feeling around the finale is that the conversation was more about destiny than revenge, and the solution comes because by the time the protagonist gains their revenge, they are in too deep to escape the consequences – and revenge has always been depicted as a vicious cycle.
  4. One of the secondary characters who also has a revenge sub plot now has more consistency with the narrative.
  5. The cycle of revenge was implicit in the sequel – I wrote book 3 first and the whole point of this prequel book 1 was to set up the cycle of revenge.

So editing my work now has a fresh frame, and that feeling that there was something missing has dissipated. I’m ready to tackle the manuscript again, and with the UK government’s desire to get things “back to normal” it might be that I’ll be doing these edits over the next month without hindrance.

So finger’s crossed, it’s coming together. All I can say is that it amazes me how life (and not just revenge) always works in a cycle – you go so far around the curve of the creative circle that you lose sight of where you started.

Then a day comes where you round the corner, and suddenly everything comes back into view as you recall what started everything off.


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