9/21/09

Birth of a Novel - Part 2

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

What a week. I don't want to bore anyone with my personal life, but let's just say it made writing a smidgen difficult. But it's all good now. And, as Howie Rose would say after a rare Mets victory this season, "Put it in the books!" A few things before I get into this chapter.

I alluded to this in a prior post, but my new working title for this book is now called, Mythos. I like the name better, and it's what Zydeco and all his creature pals call themselves anyway. It's pronounced "Mith-ohz" - not "Mith-ohs". :-)

The other bit of business is that I combined the previous six chapters into three. I was originally going for the, "the chapter is done when I think it's done" approach, but really, the chapters were too short. Thanks to Mireyah for reaffirming my belief in that. As a result, I've decided to drop the chapter numbers from the title of the Birth of a Novel series. This way, I won't have to renumber in case it happens again. And trust me, when I revise, nothing will ever look the same. So, y'all, we're inaugurating the rest of the series with the sublime title of "Part 2". The next post may well be "Part 3". Or maybe it won't. Maybe it'll be "Part 2, the sequel".

On to the book!

This chapter began with all kinds of fits and starts. I think it took me a few hours of constantly interrupted writing to get one page written. Still, one page is better than nothing, right? But in the last two nights, I've been on a role.

We're deep into Zydeco and Tameina now. That's what this is all about. Developing them. How do they act around each other? What mysteries do they hold? We all know Zydeco, being a mythological creature holds many mysteries. Guess what dudes. Tameina is not just this one dimensional girl who adores Zydeco. Okay, she totally digs Zydeco, but that's beside the point. You know how Shrek is an onion with layers? Or so said Donkey? This girl has layers. She is complex. She has layers and DUM DUM DUM!!!!! she has secrets too.

Most of this chapter takes place in the city public library. There's one bit where they walk up the great stone steps to the front door of what many readers may assume is the New York City public library. Probably because Zydeco initially notices the marble lions. That library is definitely the inspiration, but this novel takes place in a fictional city. There's a bit of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and maybe some San Francisco in this city. Anyway, much to Zydeco's surprise and dismay, only the back half of the marble statues are lions. Hint hint. I'm not divulging anything else.

Anyhow, a little taste of this chapter -

We plopped onto the plastic stools attached to a round cafeteria table. I tore into a bag of chips before we split a snickers bar. Damn, I love snickers bars. Sadly, though, I encountered a slight eating disorder right then, and somehow a large uneaten hunk slipped down my chin and hit the floor despite my feeble attempts to catch it.

Tameina snorted, and then covered her mouth, her eyes wide. Apparently this disorder was catching.

I picked up the chocolate from the linoleum floor. It lay in my hand mocking me.

That's cute. It reveals nothing, except the fact that they both are on the slobbish side of life?

I do have some concerns about this chapter. I didn't really move the plot to the next crucial point yet. That will be in the next chapter, as it is presently mapped out. You see, I had this idea about a bizarre room in the library where strange things happen. As I began to write the scene, serious doubts crept in as to whether this was a good idea. It wasn't central to the story, and as I've learned, if it ain't what makes the choo-choo go, then it's just slowing the train down.

But a funny thing happened as I wrote it. The characters took over. They showed me the way. And while it's not central to the key plot line and conflict, it definitely moves along an idea I had about a subplot for Tameina. And it makes her that much more complex. I think I like it. We'll see what my awesome YA group members think when they critique it.

The next installment is sitting here, just a'waitin' for ya.

To see what I thought about the last chapter, hop on back to the previous entry if you like.

5 comments:

Mireyah Wolfe said...

Aww, I got a mention! I'm glad I helped, even in a little way! *grins* I am loving this Birth of a Novel deal, dude! You realize I'm going to kinda steal this when I start really working on my book in November, right? ;-)lol

Jay said...

Kewl, man. I started a trend? Swipe away. Heck, I'm sure someone else must have already thought of it. But they didn't send me the memo!

Mireyah Wolfe said...

Sweet!! One day, you'll be known for this. =P lol

Airdale said...

Hmmm... I was also thinking re chapter length and had, independently, come to the opposite conclusion than you have. I think my chapters are too long. Lets compare thoughts and notes sometime.

Jay said...

There are some authors who don't follow any set chapter length, and each one varies. Sometimes they'll do a 1-2 page chapter, while in the same book, it'll go on for 20 pages. It depends on what they're trying to accomplish. I've read some books in which every scene warranted its own chapter. Then, like my favorite recent read, Sandman Slim, sometimes there are no chapters at all, just many many scenes.