20 Jul 2014

By the Numbers Chapter 15 - Commentary

Welcome back to the commentary!  As always, please read the chapter first.  Thanks!

Some setting notes off the mark.  DeClerry's is from the first edition Seattle Sourcebook.  I've gotten more mileage out of that one book than any other Shadowrun release.  Canonically, DeClerry's is tied to the Mafia, who won't like anyone else shooting the place up.  The sport of combat biking comes from the first edition Shadowbeat and is a violent motorized version of capture the flag.  The name of the arena in Cleveland is based on the current trend of selling the naming rights; Ares Global Entertainment is a division of Ares Macrotechnology, one of the AAA megacorporations of the setting.  If it helps, think of Ares as OCP but with competent management.

The chapter title riffs off the popular perception of Mondays.  The crew doesn't necessarily have problem with Mondays, except when things go south.  At the bar, the crew is asking the questions I hope the readers are already wondering.  Now it's time to eliminate suspects.  This caused some problems during writing because I removed everyone as a suspect at one point.  Chapter 17's commentary will show the problem in greater detail.  Such is the risk of having a large number of suspects.  Fortunately, I knew right away who wasn't involved.  Telestrian was never involved.  With Treehugger, I had a way to shunt them aside.  The elf poser is elf-obsessed; Treehugger knows possibly more about Tir Tairngire, the elf nation that used to be Oregon, then most residents of the country.  Sometimes, a drawback can be an asset.

Raymond Chandler gets a nod in this chapter.  "In writing a novel, when in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns."  Great advice.  It adds a burst of action, keeping the reader's attention.  It forces the writer to figure out who the gunmen are, who sent them, and why.  Instant clues!  The outline for this fight included what everyone was carrying.  The crew wasn't looking for a fight that night, so the heavier hardware was left behind.  I also worked things out round by round to account for what everyone is doing.  Suffice to say, translating game mechanics to prose was the challenge.  Short paragraphs, short sentences to emphasize the action, with few details because everything's chaotic.

As mentioned above, the crew wasn't armed for a protracted fight.  The gunmen were also hoping for a short fight, but came equipped.  The AK-97s are descendants of the Russian AK-47, an assault rifle designed to be easily manufactured under primitive conditions.  Popular with criminal and terrorist elements because it's easy to build, though hard to build well.  Weapons on full auto should trump tasers, though the crew does have Oswald.

Chapter 15 is short, but action-packed after the investigations.  A nice change of pace, at least for me.

Thursday, the commentary returns to the regular schedule with notes about Chapter 16.
Friday, negotiations with Fraulein Johnson and eliminating suspects.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, comparing the 1987 and 2014 models of Robocop.
Saturday, over at MuseHack, Lost in Translation has the July news round up about remakes, reboots, and adaptations.
And peek at Comics Bulletin for comics-related reports of Lost in Translation, also on Saturdays.  Comes with illustrations!

No comments:

Post a comment