13 Oct 2016

The Soul Blade Chapter 2 - Commentary

Brenna has dinner, goes out with friends!  Yeah, not the most exciting of chapters.

Chapter 2 was more a character exploration bit than anything else.  I managed to get started, then wanted to introduce key characters in Brenna's life.  Grace, Joni, and Gary appeared last chapter.  This time around, Brenna's friend Missy makes her debut.  The chapter does show the normal life Brenna has.  Normal for her includes dealing with ghosts, trying to make ends meet, and spending time with friends.  Many series do show the main character's friends; Magnum, P.I., Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and later entries in cozy mysteries all showcased the extended cast.

As mentioned before, Brenna has a history behind her, in the meta sense.  Her first incarnation was as a teenager, so her personal cast then consisted of her friends in high school and her immediate family.  With each time she appeared, mainly in gaming, she aged a bit, going from early-to-mid teens to late teens to young adult, to her now.  Her cast has aged the same way.  Grace was originally a bratty thirteen year old; she's now a bratty university graduate.  Missy started off as the brash transfer student who latched on to the shiest kid in her new class and became one of Brenna's best friends.  Her use in the story is to provide contrast for Brenna.  Missy is confident, is outgoing, owns her own store with an employee, and is happy with her life.  She has what Brenna wants.

The Volvo came out of nowhere.  It wasn't thought out.  The idea hit me when I needed word count.  It's just a bit of weirdness.  But, Brenna's life is filled with weirdness, so what's one more element?  The car also provided a bit of levity, which will be needed once Chapter 3 strikes.

Once again, my naming skills appear.  Missy's shop and the bar took some time to name.  Gnarly's Boards isn't that bad; it's a shop on the beach that sells surfing supplies.  The Perfidious Clam, however...  I've had better.  I've had worse, but not by much.  The bar's decor shows more about it than the name.  Still, it should have a neon sign in the shape of a clam outside the door.  The name serves its purpose, giving the place something to call it by.

Brenna's money problems seemed worse in 2009.  The cost of laptops have dropped over seven years, to the point where a refurbished model from 2009 is just slightly lower than a new one today.  Still, getting help finding a good refurbed machine takes a bit of effort.  Brenna's main income is from custom tailoring; Missy passes Brenna's card out to people who want costumes based on Brenna's work.  Missy is also trying to get Bren into webcomics; it doesn't pay much, but with sites like Patreon and ad revenues, the work may give her enough to get out to conventions to drum up sales.  And then there's the IT guy Missy is trying to set up with Brenna.  Missy is looking out for all of Brenna's needs.

Tawny was fun to write.  She worked out quickly that she and Bren don't have much in common.  It turned a drive to the beach into something else beyond a sentence saying, "After a twenty minute ride, Brenna arrived at Gnarly's Boards."  I had no other purpose for Tawny beyond expanding the world a bit and getting Brenna to Missy's shop.  Yet, Tawny should be memorable.

Overall, not much happened this chapter.  Some of it is set up for later, some of it is characterization, and some of it is just me trying to figure out where I'm going.  Brenna can't do much until the villain's plot crosses her path, but she's the main character.  The action focuses on her.  If this was written in the first person, there wouldn't be much happening as it is.  However, there's now a baseline for what passes as normal in Brenna's life, before the plot tosses it around like a banana being frapp√©-ed.

Tomorrow, Brenna's fate comes calling, in The Soul Blade Chapter 3.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, thoughts on the Magnum, P.I. sequel.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, Dungeons & Dragons, animated.

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