Big Conflicts and How Much Characters Actually Know

What’s going on in the Middle East right now? I don’t really know. I could find out. Reading news articles and books or interviewing a few people would give me a general idea.

How much does an average person in Palestine know, or someone in Israel? Certainly a whole lot more than me. But I would guess that many on both sides don’t know exactly what’s going on either.

What I’m trying to point out is that there are few if any people who know everything happening on all sides in a political conflict. Most people are not affected directly and/or hear skewed reports. (We tend to get a bigger picture only in the aftermath, like when we found out what Hitler was up to after WWII. And you know what? I bet even WWII historians still don’t know everything.)

Does any one of your characters have all the puzzle pieces? I’m inclined to say he or she shouldn’t. If the reader ever gets a full view of the political conflict, it is usually through multiple points of view.

I think Brandon Sanderson does a good job of this in the Mistborn novels. The characters end up taking two books to figure out everything involved in the political conflict of the first book.

Just some thoughts.

Happy Yarning!

Hallo aus Deutschland: War is Ugly

With Memorial Day just past, I’ve been thinking of all the marks of war I’ve seen here in Germany.

My life has seemed relatively untouched by war. In living memory, the Seattle area has not been attacked by anyone. But here in Germany, and especially in Dresden, I’ve been able to get a glimpse of the effects of war.

Good things can come from war. For instance, people can become free from an oppressive leader. But there is always a cost. Every person and place involved is at least partially destroyed, and perhaps never rebuilt.

After the American firebombings at the end of WWII, the Frauenkirche in Dresden was flattened. In these photos you can see the rebuilt Frauenkirche. The light-colored stones are the new ones. The dark-colored stones are the old ones that were still useable after being identified in the rubble. Not a lot of those.

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The Zwinger was also (entirely?) rebuilt. Here you can see what I think is an old recovered balustrade column next to a few new ones.


After all the years of reconstruction, which is still going on in smaller ways, Dresden is beautiful again. The Frauenkirche and the Zwinger are amazing to see if you ever get the chance.

Germany remembers.


On a lighter note, Happy Yarning!

I’m knitting away at a soft, green baby blanket whenever I get the chance. I’ll have to put up some pictures of it soon.