(Note: Apparently, I forgot to post this last week. Whoops. Commentary for Chapter 22 will appear on Sunday, getting everything back on schedule.)Brenna's investigation finally continues, in The Soul Blade Chapter 21.
NaNo encourages writing, not necessarily quality. The push is to get a first draft completed, not something ready for publication, with the goal being getting people into the habit of writing regularly. Improvement happens with experience and trying out new techniques. My goal with my older NaNo projects is to show that my writing has been improving over the past decade, from Subject 13 and Lethal Ladies through to Unruly. The Soul Blade is one of the earlier works, so some kinks still needed to be worked out.
One of said kinks is the lack of progress Brenna's making. I was still working on expanding from shorter works, 5000 words or so, to 50 000 words. Pacing was an issue; the shorter works got to the point and the action faster by necessity. That comes across better now, when I take the time to plan out scene. By the Numbers kept things moving, even when I realized that I hadn't left a hook for the characters to follow. Brenna, though, floundered a bit.
That said, Summer's research became important. Brenna spending time in a library pouring over musty tomes isn't that exciting and would be a montage sequence if filmed. Reading about someone reading isn't that thrilling, and would be a paragraph or two at most. With Krista around, Brenna has someone to bounce ideas off and to commiserate with. I'm finding solo main characters don't work well for me; between The Soul Blade and Digital Magic, the focus doesn't give me the space to expand. Tricia's scenes were added as I went in part to let me get the acts of villainy written.
The ingredients for the ritual to put a man under control were chosen because they are toxic. Lead's affect on the brain is well known. Absinthe - the plant, not the drink - was once used to help with dysentary, and can cause convulsions. Laudanum is an opium derived drug, and was common in medicines and snake oil before regulations existed. Combined, well, yes, the guy would do whatever you wanted, just to get the next fix. Not a recommended method.
Something that should be mentioned at some point, so why not now, is spelling. I'm Canadian. If you prick me, I bleed maple syrup, then I go see the doctor to have the wound healed for free with my universal health care. That means that certain words, like favour and colour, are naturally typed in the Canadian style. Brenna isn't Canadian. She should be dropping the u's from those words. Trying to spell American-style after a lifetime of using the correct version during a month where daily word goals exist is impossible. Catching all the instances afterwards using a word processor set up for Canadian spelling is difficult. I've been relying on Blogger to catch the spelling, but Google isn't agreeing with my preferred browser, or my browser isn't agreeing with anything, and the process slows down to a crawl. Some u's might have slipped through.
Tomorrow, Tricia adds to her collection, in The Soul Blade Chapter 23.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, Lethal Weapon.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, War of the Worlds.