Unpacking Emergence

Emergence marks the beginning of chapter 3, “Inner Cicles.” There is still quite a bit of world building which needs to be completed, but this is where the plot should begin to take off 1. I enjoyed writing “Emergence” for a few reasons, let’s unpack.

The traffic

I’ve written previously about Shelter being based on the Jersey Shore. The experience of the tunnel traffic should be agonizingly familiar to anyone who has ever vacationed there. Going down the shore typically meant attempting to “leave early and beat the rush,” only to be greeted with seemingly endless lines of cars, stretching off into the horizon. People would attempt to break the rules and drive on the shoulder, or even on the opposite side of a double yellow line from time to time, and everyone would slowly descend into a fit of depressed travel-madness. It’s a good thing the shore is actually worth suffering the traffic.

With Summer coming to an end I felt the need to pay homage to this noted Summer tradition – the traffic jam.

Walter’s Accent

People who have been paying attention may have noticed Walter’s accent is a bit inconsistent. When he’s in the midst of his business dealings, or shortly thereafter, the accent can become quite thick. When he’s alone with his confidants there are times where it seems barely present. I was rather pleased last week, in fact, when my daughter pointed this very thing out to me.

Walter is no country bumpkin, though he enjoys putting on that mask in order to conduct his business. In this section we actually learn both he and Ama grew up in The Ravine, at the very heart of power in The Valleys. He never really fit into the mold of the Inner Valleys, and particularly chaffed at the political sniping in The Ravine. When we was about thirty years old he decided to move out to the Coast.

The accent isn’t entirely contrived, however. He’s taken to referring to Jeremy as “lad,” even though this would not be a mode of address in the Inner Valleys. He also does tend to drop trailing “g’s” from words, simply out of habit. Walter isn’t attempting to fool anyone, he loves the Coast and felt his Inner Valleys accent created gap between him and his adopted home. While he has never quite mastered the accent, personally, the people in the Outer Valleys have turned his attempts to change his speech patterns into something of a living legend. People truly love him, for reasons far beyond his inconsistent accent.

The Inner Valleys

I wanted the Inner Valleys to seem almost like some other world. Compared to the locations we’ve already visited in The Valleys, it is far more densely populated and developed. Water Gap is one of the larger settlements beyond the Inner Valleys, almost literally carved out of the mountainside. The Coastlands are sparsely settled, with a reputation of being rather seedy. The Boulevard ends in Plantation, which is a large farming community which both cuts back the jungle to plant, and gleans from it’s abundance. There are other comfortable locations beyond Water Gap, mostly along a bay to the North of Water Gap, but beyond the tunnel is a lot of wilderness.

The ordered nature of the Inner Valleys brings with it a cultivated structure, which is able to hide many warts. Things should be much different for Jeremy in the journey ahead.


  1. I’ve had Jeremy’s introduction to the Senate written in my head for months, I rather excited to get it out into Scrivener. 

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  1. Walter needs to take some lessons from Andy Grifth from Mayberry and his friend . Maybe you are too young to know that tv show.

    Sent from my iPad

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