Birth of a Novel - Part 8 (and the dog butt is not on my foot)

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

It's been a while since I wrote a Birth of a Novel post. In fact, you may have noticed that the name and layout of the blog looks different. It's true. Around New Year's I messed around with a few variations, but for now have settled on The Sharpened Pen. I'm not sure quite sure how I feel about it. The layout appears pretty clean, and the name of the blog is such that it should be easier to find me via the googles and bings of the world. We shall see.

Back to Mythos then. I wrote two more chapters since my last post on BOAN (Birth of a Novel, the acronym). These chapters are really about:

DUM ... DUM ... DUM!!!

The Prom.

As with many a prom, loads of really good things happen. Magenta gets to act a bit motherly to young Zydeco in prepping him for the prom. It's a nice little scene. Here's a snippet.

“Hmm.” Magenta stepped in front of me, the corners of her mouth curving up. She reached up and adjusted the collar of my suit and brushed some invisible dust from the front. “You look handsome.”

And then I saw something that I thought I’d never see. Her gold eyes, shaped once more as diamonds, glistened. “Are … are you okay?”

She drew back a few wisps of short, black hair and cocked her head just a little. “Yes. It’s just, well, I’ve never been particularly maternal. There were never any little hatchlings.” She chuckled but there was no mirth there. Her lips thinned. “And this is going to sound completely cliché, Zydeco, and I abhor clichés. If I could, I’d collect all the clichés in the world in a stack of papers and then I’d burn them to ashes in one blow.”

I blinked. Magenta was rarely at a loss for words, and this was no exception. “What are you--?”

She closed her eyes and shook her head. “What I’m trying to say, Zydeco, is that if I had a child, I’d be happy … I would be proud … if that child were you.”

I'm weird. I like these little tender scenes. There's a bunch of inner voice from Zydeco who mulls over what it means to have Magenta - the dragon woman - react like this. Any-hoo, I followed this up with some scenes of hint-dropping/foreshadowing. Zydeco picks up Tameina at her place and we finally get a little peek at her dad. It's brief, but I need to get Daddy in the story just a bit more.

There's some Mythos folks kind of "there" in the background, and Hunter and pals still following Zydeco around. And then... they arrive at the prom - at this old city hotel with paneling and a distinct 70's vibe. It also becomes apparent that there are more Mythos around the school than Zydeco realized.

Now then. Former mythological creatures wouldn't have had much dance experience, right? So there are two options for such creatures at a prom.

You have the Blaine "totally fearless" option, a dance worthy of Elaine Benes from Seinfeld.

On the other hand, you might have someone like Zydeco, who is simply not comfortable dancing. Fortunately, Tameina is with him, keeping him calm and luring him into a slow dance. Well I posted a bit of that scene on the blog for the Official Kissing Day Blogfest. From that moment on, this chapter gets a bit on the romantic side for Zydeco and Tameina, as they enjoy the night and talk a bit about the future. Even though Zydeco isn't sure about his future, what with the bad guys rounding up Mythos left nad right, he's in a state of bliss. And as the guy writing their story, I was so happy for both of them.

But we writers must maintain a sadistic side, too. Don't we? As the evil bastard I am, I crash their euphoric night around them. When Lex shows up, do good things ever happen? My goal with this chapter was to make things just totally awful for Zydeco, and I think I pulled it off. I'm very mean in this chapter. And I'm not done grinding Zydeco into the sidewalk with a steel-toed boot. Poor, poor Zydeco. Still, I actually felt pretty bad for Tameina, too. She's such a sweet girl and doesn't deserve any of what happens.

I expected to dig down and plant some "seeds" in these two chapters. Sadly, I realized that some of these "seeds" required planting earlier on, so I'll need to return to some earlier chapters and spread them like wildflowers. So now I've got all these notes like "THIS BIT OF TAMEINA BACKSTORY MUST COME EARLIER!!!". There's even one bit of story I introduced in chapter ten that I expected to resolve in chapter eleven, but I forgot to do so! Yeesh. So there's another note to go back and fix it.

One other lesson I'm beginning to learn is that I've got to learn to turn off my inner editor while writing. It's slowing my writing down as I struggle to get certain paragraphs just right. I must bottle the editor and save it until I revise.

Anyhow, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more.

To read about the last chapter, saunter on back to the previous entry.

To check out the next chapter, slip and slide to the next post.

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