This was another chapter that didn’t really change much in the revision process. A large part of this chapter comes from my personal experiences camping as a child. It’s not that I was particularly awful at it. Just mostly. I was never a Boy Scout, and I hiked mainly because everybody else was doing it. When it came to putting on a backpack and trudging up a hill (basically what hiking boils down to), it seemed like something I ought to enjoy, so I did it. And I certainly liked talking about it after it was done–kind of like a war wound I could discuss with other people.
“See that big mountain there? I climbed it.”
But I hated climbing it while I was actually doing it. If I had been put in Buttersby’s situation here, I’m sure I would have ended up on the wrong end of some fangs in next to no time. I would have been just as incapable of building a shelter–and I even have opposable thumbs to help me. There’s this show on the Discovery Channel (Man vs. Wild) where they have a man go into some remote place and rough it for a week or so. I watch it with a sort of morbid fascination–the same feelings I watch Dirty Jobs with. There are things in life that I honestly hope I never have to do. I work in a library and I write books. I like being outdoors now and then, but I don’t like the thought of being too far from civilization. And now you know something about me that you didn’t before.
So why did I put Buttersby into this situation? I think some of it was that I could put her in a conflict where I could think about how I would handle it. Sometimes I like to explore vicariously–by putting my characters into situations and then seeing what happens. That’s what happened to poor Buttersby in this scene.
In any case, that’s about all I have to say about this chapter for now. Questions or comments? Please email me.