Procrastination or Pre-Writing? Who Can Tell?

Episode 9? Already? How did that happen? Once again, I get the honor of kicking off a new phase of episodes, as “Ancient Wonders” represents the first episode of the second half of the season.

Margaret Dunlap on writing Bookburners Ep 9: “Ancient Wonders”

It’s not particularly glamorous, but I find a great deal of satisfaction in writing what I think of as “linking” episodes, and episode nine is a good example of why. While the episode itself doesn’t lack for action and adventure (at least, I hope it doesn’t), it’s also setting up a lot of things to come. No spoliers, but you might have noticed that this is the first time Team Three has met someone who has given them concrete information on how magic works–beyond “shut the book and run like hell.” At the same time, we’re still deep in the thick of the search for the Codex Umbra, the first seeds of which were lain all the way back in episode three.

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Weaving all of those old threads together into a story that doesn’t feel like it’s just treading water until we get to the exciting part…well, that’s almost always an interesting challenge. Things are heating up in our little story, you guys, and I can’t wait for you all to see what’s coming up.

Some process thoughts:

This was my first really globe-trotting venture on Bookburners. For some reason, as I was working on the first draft, it seemed vitally important for me to look up how long it would take the team to get from point A to point B for all of the trips they take on the way to the oracle. I don’t know whether this was artistic integrity or simple procrastination. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell the difference. The upshot is that if you were wondering why the team doesn’t travel directly from Alexandra to Delphi, it’s because there are only three direct flights a week that I could find, so unless they happened to be departing on the right day, it would have been just as quick, if not faster, to travel via Rome. I wrote up a little paragraph all about that in the story itself, and then at the last minute realized that no one cared and cut it.

I’m also glad that Max established in episode seven that sluglines that establish time and/or place are a Thing We Do ™. Because my first professional writing jobs were in television, having a line that tells us where we are and when feels very normal and comforting to me.

Originally published at on November 6, 2015.

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