Such thoughts are tempting, but I find a need to diversify my activities after long stretches of doing one thing.
For example, I would love to “live” a literary life, meaning reading, writing, discussing stuff full time (and somehow make a living doing this).
However, I know that I would get “itchy” doing this and would want to program again; or do systems work. I go in cycles, sometimes a cycle/session goes for a year or two, sometimes a quarter. A lot depends on following the money–which is what consultants do, but a lot is in following my interests. For example how much consulting I take on and what type or mix. The other time would be writing or developing my own apps for fun.
Tom’s gone to American high school history lessons – but did he pay attention?
Rome: When you aggressively structure your society along expansionist lines, you’ll have real trouble when the expansion starts to slow. Decadence is just another word for replacement activities, replacing martial glory with games, without changing your core values.
Post Great-War Germany: The psychological damage which a humiliating loss might cause could lead the high command of the D’Orcs to adopt an extremist “Never again!” or “Never forget!” attitude. Kaiser went missing for a great long while, are we ready to accept him back?
I bet Tom’s mother taught him to accept each moment as it is, and to take charge of the well-being of himself, his family and friends. After all, that would be consistent with his actions so far.
I swear I’m not kissing ass, but the beginning of chapter 22 in book 1 is pretty damn good. Not many non-wet-rag genre protagonists have realistic stress reactions, or confront genuine self-doubt. They have their first violent confrontation, and carry on as if nothing had happened.
I do think that too many characters that come from “peaceful” worlds adjust to quickly to the violence of worlds they get trapped in. I wanted to explore how a normal person with a relatively innocent upbringing would adjust.
One of the things, that I am unhappy with in book 2 was lack of time to explore Tom’s humanity more. I am working on that in book 3. Book 2 was just too busy, with too many other story lines and in fact, even later in book 1; things just start moving too fast for him to fully react.
In book 2, he has the start of anxiety, which is why he keeps going fetal. At some point, Post Traumatic Stress should have to kick in. However, he’s on a whirlwind and is basically on autopilot as the chain of events sweep him up and he simply reacts.
The thing I am trying to bring in with the day counts is that from the time of his summoning up until the end of book 2 is only 40 days. So in real terms he is still being swept up. Early on, with solo cave time and no sleep, he could sort of process things, but right now responsibility is coming on too fast for him to truly react emotionally, he is compartmentalizing and running on auto pilot. As book 3 goes on, the shit keeps piling up which will compound things.
One thing that I am sort of trying to work out in advance in the back of my mind is when the Orc/D’Orc Restoration of Glory clashes with Tom’s sense of ethics and morality. He himself is sort of blocking it from his mind.
The trick is to do it without becoming maudlin and self-absorbed to the point that it is agony for the readers. Still trying to figure that out, which is why beta readers are so important.