As usual, please read the chapter before continuing.
Over the past few weeks, I've mentioned that I was writing the climax of Lethal Ladies long before I had hit the 50 000 word mark in NaNoWriMo 2006. While the past couple of chapters were me trying to figure out how to keep the story going, last week's is where I figured out the change in direction to keep the novel from a premature ending.
I've probably mentioned this before, but it's a point that bears repeating: there is a difference between writing a short story, writing a serial, and writing a novel. It sounds obvious, but, having written all three, I can tell the difference. Most of my short stories were fanfiction, with a short enough plot to be told under, typically, five thousand words. There's a beginning, a middle, and an end, none of which takes up much narrative time. Characters must be fully fleshed out before starting, and the cast is kept small. Few short stories cover more than a week*, so all the action gets concentrated. Serials, such as Subject 13 have beginnings, but no real end. They can have arcs that have their own beginning and end, and arcs can overlap. Character development is rapid at first, to give readers a good idea of the character, then can build over time; the cast can expand as needed. Novels, though, have the length needed to let the main character develop, and have a definite end. The plot also has time to develop, and can ebb and peak as needed. Lethal Ladies, with 51 019 words, is a long novella, but still counts for example purposes. Stretching from short stories and a serial comprised of short chapters to a novel exercised my creativity and my writing skill. Comparing this year's NaNovel to Lethal Ladies, The Devil You Know was easier to write not because I wasn't challenging myself, but because I gained eight years of writing experience since starting Lethal Ladies in 2006.
Back to the chapter, my saving throw versus end of story was to have Sexton exact revenge on Rose. Probably cliché, but he was still on the loose and I had given Rose a family. Problem solved! I put the focus on the Ladies during this while I worked out the details of where Maria was being kept in my head. However, I still had two other Ladies to deal with.
Amber and Allison are still working on the diversion. Stopping beside Sexton's man is Amber being Amber again. The scene gave me a chance to show off Amber's niche instead of leaving her as a lodestone for the team. The calling of turns three blocks away comes from rallye racing, where the navigator is at least one turn ahead on the course. The other elements of the chase, including driving on the sidewalk, was inspired by the far too many action movies I've watched. Allison is reacting as any rational woman would, by being afraid of the madwoman driving.
The scene with Sexton raised the stakes of the story. He has no intention of letting anyone live. Having Maria cry over the phone was meant to show Rose how serious he was. At this point, Sexton's goal is to escape, one way or another, with no concern over the collateral damage incurred. The last scene hints at Elena's plan and shows Rose's reaction. The battle between Sexton and the Ladies will boil down to experience and sheer bloody-mindedness on the parts of both sides.
Tomorrow, the situation escalates further.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, a last look at 2013.
Coming soon, Shadowrun, Traveller, BitCoins, and prep work for a new serial.
* There are exceptions, and I've read a few. The focus of those short stories is on the passage of time.