Small stone, Big ripples

It seemed like such a small change. It really did.

There are chariots in Legend’s End. The world is loosely based on Ancient Egypt/Sumer, so I was kinda thinking of that kind of chariot. One of my heroes is a charioteer (the driver of said chariots) and I need to show how good he is with horses for the climax to work right. Having gone through the about 100,000 words I’ve written, I see no place to dramatize that without adding a scene that screams “Hey look–Joaw’s really good with horses!” No, don’t want to do that.

So I decided to move where the charioteer stands while driving the team. Rather than take up space in the chariot itself, I added a little shelf space in the front for the driver to stand and drive. After all, if someone’s standing right there, they’ve got to be good with horses, y’know? There’s scenes where Joaw’s driving the chariot in battle. All very cool.

But, then, I got to thinking. If this is the normal way that chariots are driven, that means there’s an expertise there, a servant class occupation. Which means all the scenes where I have kings and such driving their own chariots–that’s not going to happen. Chariots are going to be built for that driver. Reins aren’t going to be long enough to reach back to the guy riding in the chariot proper.

Which means that every time I mention a chariot, I’ve got to look at it and see what’s going on and if I have to insert a driver, if the driver is in the right space. The first time we see a chariot, another hero (Drais) is driving it, so I had to add a bit that the only reason that works is because Drais is so tall, his arms so long, that he can still grasp the reins.

Then I realized that when the heroes take a ship, I didn’t mention what happened to the chariot and team of horses. Gotta get that in, and yet not change too much of what I have because it works well. But it’s a great way to get in just how good Joaw is with horses.

There’s a scene where one of the antagonists intends to murder the POV character, but he doesn’t while en route because he’s driving the chariot. But if he’s the equivalent of a four-star general, why is he driving his own chariot? And if he’s not occupied by driving, why doesn’t the murder happen earlier?

When it comes to the big climatic battle, Joaw is going to be in front of the chariot in the midst of everything, which is a much more trapped position than I thought he’d be in. Interestingly, I’m not bothered much about that. That kind of tangle is normal to figure out in the course of writing.

All this rippling is also normal in the course of writing, I know. It’s just one of the annoying normal things. Not much fun at all, but I’d rather do it then annoy the reader out of the story, y’know?

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  1. You could get a good feel for what it’s really like if you watch chariot races. We used to have them at our local exhibitions. It all depends on how many horses you’re driving as to how dangerous it is and where the driver needs to be. It takes a lot of skill to drive four horses and I believe, at least in ancient Babylon, four-horse chariots were the norm. It’s the little details that help a story ring true for the reader so good luck with figuring it all out 🙂

    • Oh, that would be so very cool! I wish there were chariot race demonstrations around here. I’ve seen jousting live, but not chariots. I envy you.

      These are two-horse chariots in the book. Aldidd/Isurbur are very loosely based on those ancient cultures, though I’m good with it if the reader never picks up on that. As along as readers don’t think it’s a medieval fantasy novel, it’s good. 😉

  2. I’ve seen chariot races. I want to drive one of the things. 🙂


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