I spent the last week or so updating the outline to “Praise the Torch When ´Tis Burned” (working title, but I’m pretty attached to it). I got to the end—a final confrontation between The Dragon and the ship’s-queen—and realized I didn’t know exactly how I wanted it to end.
Today, washing dishes, I had an interesting insight that might solve my problem. In the first draft, the story was told as a confession to an unnamed 3rd party. As I started the 2nd draft, I discarded that idea; it didn’t work, mechanically. But I still liked the idea of the story-as-confession, and now, I think I might have a way to bring it back in.
Also, as the idea unfolded in my head (while my hands were warm and soapy), it expanded my understanding of the ship’s-queen and The Dragon.
This could work. (I mean, it could backfire, too; but it could work.)
The title, for those that a) don’t know and b) would like to, is taken from a stanza in Hávamál, or The Sayings of Odin:
At evening praise the day, the torch when ´tis burned, the blade when ´tis tested, the maid when she is married, the ice when ´tis crossed, the ale when ´tis drunk.
…roughly. (Depending on the translation.)
This is also the source of one of my favourite sayings: “Praise ice when over it.” It’s a very wintry version, in my mind, of “don’t count your chickens till they hatch”.