23 Mar 2017

The Soul Blade Chapter 25 - Commentary

Summer's research reveals the the threat, in The Soul Blade Chapter 25.

Brenna's morning is after being up late with Matt.  Krista's call is to get the information about the death in Sacramento to Brenna.  The reactions were the goal for the conversation, and after that scene, I realized that I do a lot of dialogue.  Go fig.  The call from Summer clarified the spells.  It also has a sequel hook, though that wasn't the plan at the time.  Summer wants the excitement of Brenna's life; she is well aware of the Blade and sees it as a cool thing, not the curse that her cousin sees it as.  The decision to have the information sent as an email meant not forcing the reader to sit through an infodump.

Tricia's reveal of why she chose the suburban housewife was inspired by the Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman novel, Good Omens.  One of the characters, Crowley, is a demon who has a more modern look at spreading evil.  While his fellow demons are craftsmen, with one tempting a priest and expecting to have him in a year, Crowley causes a massive traffic jam.  The drivers trapped then take out their frustrations on others, who then do the same to even more people.  A wave of taint spreads out, affecting a far larger number of people*.  That's the line of thought Tricia is using; by killing someone is a safe suburb, and leaving the body to be discovered by her children, she's spreading fear as fast as the media can report the crime.  J. Random Surferdude in San Diego doesn't bring out the media as someone killed in her own home.

The advice Missy gave Brenna about starting a blog I eventually used for myself.  I started blogging in 2012.  The idea of Brenna writing down the stories she hears from ghosts and publishing them on a blog is a good one.  She'd have a unique voice and unique perspective about history, even if no one believed her about her sources.  Missy's choice of browser was based on the one I used in 2009.  Opera is a real browser, originally promoted as being small enough to fit on a 3.5" floppy disc.  I gave up on it when it started having problems with .gifs, requiring me to click on the element before it even loaded.  It could be fixed now, though.  Hindsight tells me that the tab Missy had for slashfic probably should have been for Supernatural.  However, Stargate SG-1 comes before Supernatural alphabetically, so her fondness for Wincest is still hidden from Brenna. 

With the email from Summer, much like the phone call at the beginning of the chapter, the goal was to show reactions.  Infodumps aren't the best way to get details to the audience, and the, "As you know, Missy," approach will have people wondering just how pedantic Brenna is.  The reaction to the infodump is the important piece.  There's a difference between, "Oh, crap!" and, "Oh, this again?"  Brenna's reaction is to call the police.

Friday, Brenna brings Detective McCoy up to speed, in The Soul Blade Chapter 26.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, "Rinse the Blood Off My Toga", for a belated Ides of March celebration.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, Nancy Drew.

* However, as goes evil, so does good.  Crowley accidentally caused a telemarketing call centre to be eaten by an angry Hastur.  The calm from the telemarketers not calling people and interrupting lives meant a wave of good feelings spread out, undoing the work from the traffic jam.


  1. So, Brenna's the killer. Krista remarks on the housewife being found by "a kid", by the mother's "oldest kid". Brenna's response? "Poor girl, finding her mother like that."
    "...Uh, Bren, I never said the gender of the kid."
    "No? Um, well... bye now!" *flees*

    Interesting that, while they dismiss the copycat element, they don't consider that the killer might be working in a group. Maybe there will be a killing in Chicago next, forming a ritualistic isosceles triangle or something. The bit with Summer was fun, including the allusion to her "friend" possibly doing shady rituals. (I notice Brenna's actively resisting answering plot phone calls today, is that just to give Grace some lines?) As to the novel, I don't know it. Unrelated, is this the first time ashen man has remarked on the states of the souls?

    I question Missy's comment "Papers are calling it a copycat". It was barely 24 hours ago, and only that morning, Krista was being called in to check the story. *Maybe* there's late edition papers, but it feels like very shoddy reporting research - and it strains credulity for another reason. The whole "boneless" thing is not common knowledge (even Brenna didn't know that was the case with the first murder she witnessed). To "copycat" someone, you need to know their M.O.! If no one knows about the lack of bones, how could the media be saying someone is "copying" that style?? (A very minor remark that sticks out on this read.)

    Missy also seems very blasé about the fact that Brenna told Matt her big secret. ("I showed him the Blade." "Hey, if it works for you.") Grace was all over just her going out with Matt. (Admittedly some of it was payback.) The blog talk was good though, and Missy is looking out for her friend. You're probably right about 'Supernatural' being the new slashness (even if that implies some troubling incest). I also don't understand how anyone can deal with energy drinks.

    Brenna doesn't quite understand the internet? She doesn't need to call McCoy to a specific place. She could even go home to print it. Or forward the message to McCoy. (I mean, I could understand Brenna not wanting to bring up her cousin - except she does just that anyway.) Brenna also walked right into the police station last time to talk with him, so it feels a little suspicious that she doesn't want to now. We might get to find out the total death count though.

    1. I had to check that each time I went through the chapter. Krista did use a feminine pronoun when referring to the kid, "A kid found her mother lying in the kitchen in a pool of blood."
      But I had to reread everything up to Brenna talking about the poor girl to find out if she knew more than she should. Probably should read, "A girl found her mother," instead, to be clearer. This was mid- to late-November, so I may have been getting mushy brained while writing.

      I hadn't considered a group, in part because I was too close to the work at this point and not thinking straight. It is something McCoy should've considered, though. Of course, he has no reason to tell Brenna that suspicion. Summer's friend could turn into a new story if I wanted, but her time with Brenna was fun to write. (Brenna isn't a morning person, but it did give Grace more lines, so the younger Halliday didn't complain. Much.) "Good Omens" is an urban fantasy, a comedy about the end of the world that starts with Good and Evil losing the Antichrist during a cosmic shell game. Or, "What if the Antichrist was raised human?" I think this is the first time he's mentioned it.

      Don't forget the murder in Chapter 13, which also left a boneless body. That was the first one that the public got all the details on. That was Brenna's second instance of the pattern. I'm also not giving the media much credit. Sensationalism sells.

      Missy's been on the support side after Brenna's crushes implode on her. She's waiting for the inevitable clean up with Officer Matt. Grace's reaction was role reversal, and she did enjoy tormenting her older sister. I was starting to be aware of blogging in 2009. It'd take me four more years to take Missy's advice. :) Who knew that Stargate would end? It dates the story a bit, but not so bad. Supernatural would have worked then, too, come to think of it. (Yeah, do not google "Wincest" if you value your sanity.)

      Brenna doesn't understand the Internet, no. In 2009, it was possible. Today, and it'd be less believable, but there are people whose lives don't revolve around being online. I also was trying to make sure that Brenna didn't have my knowledge. She doesn't even have her own computer. Brenna could have forwarded Summer's email, but she wanted McCoy to understand what was written.

    2. Darn those pronouns, they trip me quite often! As to groups, I suppose my "devil's advocate" mind just started running to alternate scenarios.

      I didn't forget about the other boneless death, but if someone dies that way in Ottawa, and then a few days later someone dies like that in Kingston, why assume (after not even 24 hours of investigation) that it's a *copycat*? Why not assume, you know, that a single murderer is on their way out of the province/state?? There's no "style" to copy, it's a 2nd body in a new location. Yes, Brenna and the local police know more, but no one else does. How is "copycat murder" more sensationalist than "serial killer on the loose"? Anyway.

      Good for Missy and her advice. ;)

    3. It could have been clearer, particularly on Krista's side. But Brenna could be a suspect. To quote Brute, "But can you trust me?"

      I probably should have researched the mobility of serial killers at some point. For some reason, I don't see them leaving their "hunting grounds", so the media grabbed that. Two murderers are more sensationalistic than one? ^_^;; This part needed more thought, yes.

      Missy has a lot of good advice if people would listen. :)