Birth of a Novel - Chapter 6

This is the seventh entry in my Birth of a Novel series of posts, where I talk about the development of my new YA urban fantasy.

It took a week to finish this chapter. Why, you ask? Life got in the way, dangnabbit! I finished ch 5 last Friday, then I was busy all weekend with family and friend commitments. Then it was Monday, a holiday, and we took the kids to see Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince in IMAX (a bit of 3d thrown in), so we were out most of the day. Finally, I got down to a bit of writing Monday and Tuesday night, then it was Freshman parent night at my son's high school on Wednesday. Then Thursday I worked on Frankie's awesome blog. So here we are. Friday night again. My friend Friday. Apparently, I'm a productive writer Friday nights.

Wow, what a rant.

In a nutshell, this chapter is the follow up to chapters 1 & 2, starring Zydeco, Blaine & Octavio, with a couple new characters thrown in. Blaine's got himself a date for the prom, but Zydeco doesn't! Zydeco is the obvious prize and everyone knows it, but he's just... oh, I don't know. Let's say he's saving himself. Sadly, he's saving himself for a time that's already passed.

I weaved in the official antagonist, via the network news. He's a funny looking little guy who goes by the name of Phineas Malice. Like the name? Is it evil enough? Think of Phineas as a cross between Teddy Roosevelt and a walrus. Oh, and he has henchmen -- Hunter is one -- and he's the Deputy Mayor of the city.

I'm not going to go into too much detail about what really happens in this chapter, but it's pretty important. Let's just say, you won't be hearing from Octavio for a while.

The tricky part of this chapter was the fact that I had the three characters you know: Zydeco, Blaine & Octavio. But I also introduced two minor characters - who, I think, will reappear later on. Five people inclusive in one scene. For me, that's tricky business. How do I keep them from being talking heads? How do I keep the reader from feeling like they're a pinball? I think I managed it.

At the same time, I needed to introduce the real bad guy. Phineas is the Emperor to Hunter's Darth Vader, by the way. In any case, I didn't want Phineas interacting with anyone just yet, but I wanted the threat of him hanging low over our beloved characters. In coming chapters he will definitely hang lower. Wow, that sounds weird. Anyway.

I had a couple of metaphors and similes, and some imagerythat took me a while to get right too. I hope they came out okay, and aren't sledgehammers.

So, here's how the chapter ends - it certainly doesn't give anything away, but it so typifies Zydeco and Blaine's relationship (which will make future events stronger when I put Blaine in some serious danger).

I stared at him. “You know what? You’re depressing me, Blaine. I rely on you to keep my funny valves lubricated. What a disappointment.”

He lifted his head and faced me. A smile worthy of the Grinch appeared on his face. “How vulgar.”

The next installment is floating around here.

To see what I thought about finishing chapter five, you can zip back to the previous entry if you like.

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