Birth of a Novel, Part 12 - Back story

This is the eighteenth entry in my Birth of a Novel series of posts, where I talk about the development of my new YA urban fantasy. Yes, eighteenth, even though the post is entitled Part 12.

See this stuff to the left? I'm getting pretty tired of it, I tells ya. Last time I posted a Birth of a Novel entry, we had a blizzard. Well, we've got another one dumping a couple of feet on Northwestern NJ. Bah! Bring on Spring!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

This is Zydeco's chapter of self discovery. Here I had my chance to weave in necessary back story. Let me stop right there. Back story. In general, I like to sprinkle "history" here and there, but not all at once. Not here, though. There's lots in this one chapter. The strategy was to lay all this out, make it interesting, and have a lot of reaction. What did Zydeco think about all this? What is he going to do about it? I scribed this chapter with absolutely no fear based on this premise. It was a couple of days later that I began to worry. Did I spend too much time revealing this that had happened after Zydeco transitioned to humanity?

Imagine you are sixteen or seventeen, and you find one of those folders of "stuff" from when you were a baby -- your birth certificate, pediatrician reports, your kindergarten progress reports and so on. Have your parents ever handed you that kind of stuff later in life, and maybe photographs you'd never seen before? Well this chapter is a bit like that, only the information doesn't embarrass Zydeco or get him all warm and fuzzy. He gets emotional. He gets testy. And I present him with a mini quest that will bring the book to its conclusion maybe five or six chapters from now.

I don't know how readers will feel about it. I'm satisfied with what I wrote. There are answers to old questions, some new questions, and a bit of intrigue. Plus one cranky griffin. My critique group over at the YA form have been giving me great feedback, so I'm interested in their take on this one.

And now for a taste.

Flipping the page over, I came to a couple of pictures stapled to a thin piece of cardboard. My breath caught in my throat at the first snapshot. A creature with the body of a lion and head of an eagle crouched underneath a cherry bark oak tree along a muddy river bank. I ran my finger over the face, the one I’d seen reflected back at me in countless watering holes.

Blowing out a breath, I scanned the next picture. A younger me wrapped in a green blanket leaned against a thick tree trunk, my silver hair flew off my skull, like the world’s worst bed-head. Wild eyes stared off to the left, from which a delicate hand touched my shoulder. Was the hand Magenta’s?

I'm nearly done with the next chapter and Zydeco is on the move. It's all good.

To read about the last chapter, toboggan or ski back to the previous entry.

You can check out the next chapter right over here.


Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love this! What a yummy taste of your writing. Thanks for sharing it with us. :-)

Branli said...

Very cool! I can't wait to read it :-)

Jay said...

Thanks for coming out on such a snowy night! LOL I love to share.