While scanning through some of the highlighted passages from my reading over the last few years, I assembled these quotes wherein you may find a common theme. Feel free to react like Mr. Wilder here.
"History is not just a tale of men’s making, but is a thing tied to the land. We call a hill by the name of a hero who died there, or name a river after a princess who fled beside its banks, and when the old names vanish, the stories go with them and the new names carry no reminder of the past" - Bernard Cornwell Excalibur p.123.
"A dragon will set up a complex system of rules and then attempt to impress you with how well he is following them. Of course, the rules are completely arbitrary and fashioned with the sole purpose of making certain the dragon gets what he wants. If you ever happen to catch a dragon violating his own rules, he’ll claim some obscure loophole, and if you back him into a corner, he’ll just modify the rules to accommodate his behavior." - Robert Kroese - Distopia p. 65.
"When virtue is banished, ambition invades the minds of those who are disposed to receive it, and avarice possesses the whole community." - Montesquieu - The Spirit of Laws
"The Turks entirely understood the arts of suppression and extortion, which they defined as government." - Talbot Mundy
"“Keep a government poor and weak and it’s your servant; let it get rich and powerful and it’s your master." - H. Piper Beam
"There is also decivilization by erosion, and while it’s going on, nobody notices it. Everybody is proud of their civilization, their wealth and culture. But trade is falling off; fewer ships come in each year. So there is boastful talk about planetary self-sufficiency; who needs off-planet trade anyhow? Everybody seems to have money, but the government is always broke. Deficit spending—and always the vital social services for which the government has to spend money. The most vital one, of course, is buying votes to keep the government in power. And it gets harder for the government to get anything done." - H. Piper Beam
On the writing front, both I and the blank page remained largely at a stalemate, entrenched in our respective positions. I was at a conference this week but did manage to scribble out a few words in the solitude of the hotel room. Solitude which included, wafting from the courtyard below my window, the unrestrained strains of guitar strings doing their ill-played best to drown the sound of ill-sung songs. At one point I found a pair of old earbuds and listened to my own music to throttle the nuisance noise. Unfortunately, only one of the earbuds was working properly.
As a result of the disappointing progress that I made against the blank page and its infinite siblings, I decided to read through the novel as it exists so far to scrutinize it for continuity and pacing issues. I'm almost back to the present location and have been pleased with what I've read. However, I can see that the great finale, the zenith of the book, has not been sufficiently foreshadowed. The rising tide of dread with the inexorable approach of the grand climax has been omitted. The various adventures of the characters are great, but I've neglected to make the promise that the gobsmacking wunderclash finale fulfills. An element of my threefold formula--The Trauma, The Drama, and The Dream--has been insufficiently costumed. Alas, the crescendo has no clothes.
In my defense, I've been researching and writing this particular event and a related matter, with the buildup to the resolution in isolation from the rest of the story, and have not yet incorporated it into the novel. So the streams will cross at the appropriate time, and tension will rise on every page until the reader shivers with delight at the promise delivered.