Birth of a Novel Part 13 - Image Driven Setting

This is the nineteenth entry in my Birth of a Novel series of posts, where I talk about the development of my new YA urban fantasy. Yes, nineteenth, even though the post is entitled Part 13.

I saw the image on the right posted in a forum on wirednewyork.com some time back. It depicts the old dockyards at the Java Wharf in London quite some time ago. It painted a dark picture of an abandoned way of life, and became quite useful for me as I had Zydeco venture into a deserted part of his city, in search of Octavio.

With this picture up on my computer, I very slowly drew the next chapter of Mythos. And draw I did. This is one of those chapters where the protagonist goes somewhere. In fact, I'd say about 40% of the chapter involves Zydeco traveling through a dark and generally unpopulated part of the city. There's a lot of setting for my favorite griffin to see and touch. I tried to make some of the background breathe, tried to make a character out of the setting. My wonderful readers at writing.com will certainly let me know if it worked or not. Sometimes, I get in the habit of paying too much attention to these details that the plot gets bogged down. I hope it's not like that.

Speaking of too much attention to detail, I've noticed I write at an entirely different pace depending on what I'm writing.

Action & movement, but with little to no dialog. 

or, for the parents around here:
The time it takes your child to finally fall asleep, and leave you the heck alone because holy smokes you are exhausted and just want to go to sleep too!

Dialog and action.
Fast as a pug running in a circle. I write in fits and spurts.

Or as Gimli, son of Gloin says,
"I'm wasted on cross-country! We dwarves are natural sprinters! Very dangerous over short distances!"

Mostly dialog.
Ferrari fast.
Faster than the scavenging of catered leftovers in an office environment.
Yeah. That quick.

Dialog loves me and I love it. It flows and frankly, I write it way better than I speak it.

The first inkling I liked to write occurred in some college theater courses. I took playwriting and a few other related courses, and wound up writing a couple of full length plays. I'm pretty sure they were horrible, but it was such a treat to see my classmates act out my manuscript. I pulled A's for them too, so they couldn't have been awful for a college student. I think this is where my love of dialog comes from. There's a lot of talking when there's no singing and dancing up on stage.

Like I said, nearly the first half of this chapter is dialog free, except for the occasional self-muttering Zydeco does. Here's a snippet of my boy dealing with setting.

Crossing under a fire escape on the next building, I gave a small jump and tapped the ladder above me. This turned out to be a bad move because the bottom three rungs crumpled and fell inches from my head, ringing out like a pile of tin cans hitting the deck. But that was only the slightly noisy appetizer because the whole thing collapsed as I threw my back against the brick façade. It sounded like a bowling alley and at that moment I was sure Hunter would somehow show up, rumpled from the trunk and pissed.

Once I got done with all this setting nonsense, the fun began. A sphinx. A yeti. A riddle. And a reunion. Another place reminiscent of Elfreth's Alley in Philadelphia. Elfreth's Alley intrigued me no end the times I've been there. It's considered by some to be the oldest residential street in the U.S. So, I'm pretty excited to have the opportunity to paint it in just a smidge.

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

The next post has arrived and you can discover it right here.

1 comment:

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Ha ha ha! You crack me up. I love your pace examples - too fun. :-)

I also love that picture!