Drama Versus Reality

Reality is so damn unforgiving.  I’m working on the third book of the IMPERIALS Saga, and one of my main character is the heir to the throne. Her aides aren’t going to let her go into actual combat unless it’s absolutely unavoidable, and she’s not stupid enough to lead the charge.  She’s also now an admiral in command of a large battle group that’s going in to rescue some captured soldiers.  So, she’s on the bridge, giving orders and others are carrying out those orders.  They’re going to be the bullet magnets, not La Infanta.

But I’m a TV writer and a very visual writer so this is making me crazy.  All the exciting stuff is going to be happening on this orphan moon, and my view point character is on a ship far removed from the action, just watching through the helmet cameras worn by her troops.  But if I put her in the thick of the action she looks like an idiot, and I look like an idiot for making that choice.

So I’m balancing the frustration of readers who might feel dissatisfied by the lack of a big action sequence versus the readers who will decide I’m an idiot if I let the freaking heir to the throne lead a party of marines staging a rescue, and thus give up on reading my books.

Okay, back to the Word Mines.

16 Responses to Drama Versus Reality

  • Pam says:

    Why don’t you come up with an excuse for putting her in the mess. i.e. morale ala King Henry the Fifth ? Or she escapes her courtiers and goes in.

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      It feels very forced and fake. So much of the universe requires a willing suspension of disbelief I need to keep it grounded where I can. There are going to be opportunities for her to be in the thick of battle, but I want that to be a bigger moment.

  • Pam says:

    She won’t look like an idiot if she has to go.

  • Wolf Lahti says:

    Insert an enemy combatant/assassin who got through to the admiral’s ship.

  • And, of course, that is exactly why Picard & Riker were invented: it’s crazy for ship’s captains to put themselves in jeopardy like Kirk always did… hence let’s keep our Shakespearean actor on the bridge, emoting, and let’s send our Younger Hunk planetside with an “Away Team” to get in fights and seduce the locals.

    (Nice plan, but it didn’t even survive to the end of the first season.)

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      Because the lead actor wants to be the big cheese. But yes, Patton was not in a tank at the front. He was well back planning and sending troops where they were needed. You can’t see the shape of the battle if you are in the thick of it.

      • Pam says:

        But he Patton was attacked in the film and I believe there were attempted assissinations.

        • Melinda Snodgrass says:

          This is a skirmish against corsairs. The big battles against a foe that can actually do damage to a League battle cruiser are coming. It just seemed silly and unlikely that the heir to the throne would go lug a rifle in a ground assault when their attacking gnats, basically. That’s what I mean about keeping the reader from hitting the always deadly “Ah come on!” reaction.

  • Pam says:

    1) If she is on a ship and it goes down she escapes she doesn’t have a choice. Then you have a Hidden Fortress situation

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      Things are about to happen with her ship, but not in this particular fight. It’s also pacing issues. Building the tension. They win. They win. Then boom — got cocky and screwed up. On a somewhat different subject. I’ve never liked heroes who never make mistakes, but you want it to matter when they do screw up, and be part of the narrative drive.

  • Pam says:

    Another thing occurs to me, Knights have armor. In an s-f uni, wouldn’t a royal have personal bio electric shielding?

  • rand says:

    Could she be kidnapped during the battle? By a double agent? Then transported into the fray with her captor? The enemy tries to use her to get her forces to surrender so she has to escape through the battle?

    • Melinda Snodgrass says:

      They are fighting a sort of ragtag group of pirates, basically, and having a double agent aboard an imperial dreadnought is way beyond their capabilities. I can probably do that when another event happens, but not this time.

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