27 Mar 2014

Lethal Ladies #33 - Commentary

As always, please read the chapter before continuing.

The big finale.  Sexton and Rose.  A conspiracy brought to personal level.  Not what I had intended, but I'll take what I can get.

Keeping track of the number of times everyone shot their weapon was a minor pain.  I didn't want bottomless ammunition; it would have broken me out of the suspension of disbelief I was working on.  At the same time, counting each round when the characters aren't creates a split in the writing process.  Still, having both weapons go empty was nice to have.  It would have been too easy to just shoot Sexton.  There needed to be a sense of victory.

Rose's arthritic knee returned.  It popped in and out of the narrative, enough to show that Rose wasn't a young woman anymore.  It slowed her down a few times.  Here, Rose fights past the pain.  Yay for heroism!  And what's heroism without the villain monologuing?  Sexton gets in one last burst of machismo.

The worst thing that anyone can do to an opponent is laugh at them.  Argue, fight, shout at, all of those mean that the opponent has reached into you.  Laughter, though, is a dismissal.  It turns the opponent from adversary to comic relief.  Mel Brooks has used laughter as a way to deflate bigots; Blazing Saddles demonstrates the idea in spades.  There's no real defense against being laughed at.  In a tense moment, laughter is unexpected and disarming.

The final tussle was meant to be chaotic, especially with where Sexton's back up pistol was pointing.  Even who shot is in the air.  Either Rose or Sexton could have pulled the trigger, and Sexton's last words don't make it easy.  The shots were the climax of the story, the end to the furious writing to reach fifty thousand words despite an early miscue.

The rhythm I built during the story was a cycle of action, reaction, and investigation.  For every action sequence, I had the characters take time to react to the results.  The denouement is no different.  There were too many threads left dangling to just end with Sexton's death.  Amber was still injured.  Maria is going to need therapy.  Lepinski has an investigation to do and paperwork to fill out.  There is an aftermath, most of which I skip over to get to Amber's triumphant return home.  It was a chance for me to get the Ladies back together and back into their regular routine.  I also filled in the details about what happened to the HMCS Ottawa, the McGuffin of the story.  The Amber-Allison shipping also came to an end.

With the story finished, with the typing of "END", I breathed a sigh of relief.  The final word count was 50 883, barely making it past the goal.  I tried out NaNoWriMo to see if I could succeed.  There were moments when I though I would never make it to the finish line, where every word was difficult to type.  I discovered that I could write a longer story, have it hang together, more or less, and be creative.  It was exhausting at times; there were nights where I went to bed barely able to think straight.  I also discovered that writing can be fun even when it's not coming naturally.  Most of my prior work, including Subject 13, were short stories, where I just had to aim for 5000 words.  Ten times as many words was a challenge.  Finishing that challenge, though, meant that I proved to myself that I can write.

Tomorrow, my time with NaNo.
Over at MuseHack, Mr. Peabody and Sherman.

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