5 Sep 2013

Lethal Ladies #5 - Commentary

As always, please read the chapter first.

Two scenes this time around.  The first is too small to stand alone.  The second could by itself.  The first scene is back at Velasco Investigations, just like the "title" said.  The group dynamics get a good workout here.  Amber has a shout out to the origins of the story and acts like the annoying younger sister to Allison's cool older sister while Rose takes the mom role.  Elena remains professional.  To show that the Ladies have done similar work, Allison mentions that the job isn't going the normal way.

I chose St. Louis for mainly one reason; it has a Major League Baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals.  The stadium gave me a point of reference to build from in Google searches, especially in Google Maps.  The detail about the Cardinals playing in Chicago was based on the 2006 season.  Even with the Ladies working around midnight, baseball games could go longer than expected.  Baseball isn't a timed sport.  Games can be as quick as two hours or they could become six hour marathons heading into extra innings.  It all depends on how well the two teams are performing.  Even after the game, there are people around; cleaning staff, concession workers, the announcer, the groundskeepers, all taking care of post-game duties.  So, midnight at a ball stadium may still have activity.

The second scene leads off with stilted writing.  NaNoWriMo encourages a "write now, fix later" mindset.  Get the words out now, fix things in December or January.  That first paragraph shows the mentality.  Today, the paragraph would likely come out as:
The van coasted to a stop a block away from the women's destination. Elena and Amber stepped out, adjusting their coveralls. Taking a crowbar from the back of the van, Amber pried open a manhole cover. The sound of metal against asphalt echoed back from the surrounding buildings. Under the cover of the sound, Rose and Allison slipped out the side of the van, their coveralls shed before they left.
Shorter, but less clunky.  The crowbar and the manhole cover play into the scene only to set up the Ladies as a repair team for the power company.

The warehouse itself was based on similar areas in Ottawa.  Parking is gravel because asphalt needs maintenance.  The security is deliberately odd; Rose and Allison both pick up on it.  The thermographic goggles are another callback to Rose's street samurai origins; she had them installed directly when she replaced her original eyes with cybernetics.  There's also another hint at Elena and Rose's past tossed in as a warning for Rose.  A friend suggested adding flashbacks as he reviewed the story.  Future versions of Lethal Ladies will do that; first, padding and second, exploration of Elena and Rose's relationship.

The Socratic method is a great writing tool.  Not for teaching yourself how to write, but for getting one character to make a discovery by having another ask leading questions.  For NaNo, this means extra words.  For me, because I had decided to place the camera to cover all the Ladies, it let me show the thought processes allowed.  A solo character, like Nasty, makes it easy to allow the reader to see her thoughts.  A group, though, and there needs to be a justification for why I'm getting that deep into their heads.  But if one character needs to explain to another, then the two can talk it out.

Another artifact of when the story was written - Rose asking about camera phones.  Today, 2013, try finding even a basic cell phone without a camera.  In 2006, cameras were on the higher end cell phones, thus justifying Rose's question.  Try finding a film camera, even; the average person uses a digital camera just from sheer ease of use.  Technology marches on.

The last question from Elena might need an explanation.  The Stasi was East Germany's Ministry for State Security (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit), equivalent to the Soviet Union's KGB, and were known for infiltrating via informants and being brutal.  The Stasi was disbanded after the German Reuinification in 1990.

Tomorrow, the police get involved.
Saturday, at MuseHack[http://www.musehack.com], /Lost in Translation/ looks at /Blade Runner/.
Coming later, more NaNo prep work.

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