Birth of a Novel Part 15 - Choreography Part I - Violence

This is the twentieth entry in my Birth of a Novel series of posts, where I talk about the development of my new YA urban fantasy. Yes, twentieth, even though the post is entitled Part 15.

Two chapters later, and with American Idol and Glee on television tonight, it's clear I won't be getting much writing done tonight. Having readily admitted this weakness, I can move on to a BOAN post.

There I was, writing and writing and writing. This is the point at which Zydeco has to haul his cookies to "the site" for the big showdown. Approximately 183 ideas came to me as I began writing - all sorts of twists and turns - that I rapidly jotted down in my green sasquatch notebook. It's pretty cool, I have to say. I always love the "big showdown". And I find the choreography challenging and rewarding. Some of it is purely stage direction - get everyone to where they need to be to make the scene work. But it's also making sure everyone is emotionally where they need to be, which is a larger challenge, and often involves the entire book.

These last two chapters were about getting Zydeco and company to "the site". So, yes there was plenty of choreography getting him from Octavio's hidey hole, along with another character who reappears causing all sorts of tension. Along the way, they try to recruit Ted the Yeti and Alice the Sphinx, who were introduced a few chapters ago.

I looked around, catching movement in the shadows behind the doors and windows of the nearest buildings. Urgent whispers carried in the quiet, and broke only when Ted spoke.

"But I don't understand. Why does Phineas Malice care about us? Why does he care about any of us? Any of you?"

"I know he hates me, especially," said Octavio. "He blames me for his exile, which is actually quite accurate. When I was on the council, I saw to it he was sent away. He was a no good thief, consorting with the worst element. Goblins. The occasional imp or demon, too. Awful."

"More reasons for me to dislike the guy," I said. It also explained why he wanted Octavio so badly. "You're like the detective who puts the bad guy in jail, then winds up in the same cell with him. But I can't believe this whole thing he's doing--sending mythos into exile again, grabbing every one he can get hold of-is just because he hates you."

Ted cocked his large, furry head in confusion. If it weren't for the killer teeth and fangs hanging from his mouth, he'd be as adorable as an enormous, confused puppy. Behind him, Lex was hugging herself while keeping her eyes on Alice, who chose that moment to speak.

"There is a most elemental answer for that riddle, is there not?"

"That he's a tool?" I replied.

She narrowed her eyes and shook her head.

I didn't like her very much at that point and shot a pleading look at Octavio.

As the gang of three approach the site, things go terribly awry, and his results in Zydeco finally getting an ass-kicking. I couldn't just have him wander into the site and save everyone (Blaine, Magenta, etc.) easily. He may be able to put a hurtin' on Hunter, but he's not invincible, especially when a well conceived attack takes place.

Here's what surprised me about the whole deal. It didn't bother me one bit to deal Zydeco some serious violence. I mean, I wasn't going to kill him or anything. The fun part was choreographing the one-sided violence. How was I going to bring him down? I needed an element of surprise. Given the setting at the time, how would I do that? And once Zydeco was surprised, what would I do to him to get him on the ground? And how would I keep him there? Broken rib(s) are nice and debilitating, and having someone inflict the breakage in a savage and planned manner should hopefully give the reader pause.

Now, about those scribbled ideas in my little notebook. I came up with a brilliant twist if I do say so myself. It's awesome-tastic because of my tendency to leave "stuff" in the chapters as I write, in case I think I can use it later. If you are in my critique circle and have read my first drafts, you have likely complained about all the open questions I've left hanging. By the end of the first draft, I've answered many of them, and by the end of the second and third drafts, I've hopefully eliminated most of the unanswered questions. Well this twist is so very cool because you won't see it coming (I hope) but there are hints along the way. I love it when things just sort of work out.

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

The next couple of chapters have their very own post right here.

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