Birth of a Novel Part 9

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

I really should be writing, but I watched the Jets beat the Chargers today, and my brain is somewhere between way too distracted and shot from nervous energy. Why must the actual watching of my football team be so much less fun than the week between games? But I've done a lot of reading this weekend. In fact, I finally finished Scott Westerfeld's steampunk novel, Leviathan, and loved it. You can check out my mini review on goodreads.

Nevertheless, it was time to post a new birth-of-a-novel entry, so here goes.

This chapter picks up after the multiple bad events that have just occurred to and around Zydeco. I definitely wanted to make his life miserable. For if I do not, then how does he change? How does he learn? I think it's critical not to let your characters get too comfortable. Conflict is great, and when you give your protagonist something to overcome, especially multiple somethings, you can give your readers someone to root for.... hopefully.

For Zydeco, he decides to take things into his own hands, but doesn't find much success. I'm not quite sure just how much I should reveal here, so I'll err on the side of caution. Zydeco revisits the park location, where he and Blaine saw something awful. But that was during the day and they were together. It's fun to recast an outdoor scene in the middle of the night when your character is all alone. Stuff looks and sounds different, of course.

On top of that, Zydeco stays out all night, and when he finally returns home he finds a worried Magenta. Okay, that's not a good enough description. She's in a fit state. And he gets what's coming to him. Frankie has pointed out in her critiques of the chapters so far that Zydeco isn't the biggest brain in the Department of Mysteries' brain tank.

“Zydeco, you are an adorable kid. But you are such an idiot.” She punctuated the last word by slapping the table.

She slumped back in her chair and glared at me. “I suppose you thought it was okay to stay out all night without letting me know. You think I didn’t know about what happened last night?”

“I … no,” I muttered, not really having any answer at the ready.

“Shut up. I’m being rhetorical now, okay? When I need you to answer me, I’ll let you know. Until then, shut up.” She sighed. 

“Bad things are happening to Mythos, Zydeco, and you run around like what Malice is doing doesn’t impact you or the people around you. It’s as if you haven’t noticed or you think you are this invincible being. But that’s the problem. You don’t think!” She tapped my forehead.

I jerked my head back, angered by the accusation. Of course I knew what was going on. “I did. I mean, I do. I won’t be here forever. I … get it.”

She shook her head and sighed. “No, Zydeco. I don’t think you do. You know Emma called me last night and told me what happened? She was beside herself, as you might imagine. Much like I was when you didn’t come home.”

With every syllable, her voice rose in volume until she nearly shrieked the last word.

Magenta goes on to abuse him for some time, before lightening up. He has had a bad night. Then again, so have his closest friends. I suppose I can mention that he and Tameina are on the outs, and the realization of it crushes him.

One of the challenges I've mentioned recently is my Evil Inner Editor. I promised to pay attention to when I'm able to simply write, at an acceptable speed without fighting myself with every sentence. While pushing out the last half of this chapter, I noticed things moving well. In this case, I did a better job eliminating all distraction. I cranked up my iTunes library or VH1 Radio, and my family sort of left me alone. These both made a difference. So for this week, some combination of music and lack of distraction kept the Evil Inner Editor at bay. I'll let you know if this continues.

Thanks for checking out this BOAN (Birth of a Novel) post, and stay tuned for more.

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

To check out the next chapter, you can go here.

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