15 Jun 2017

The Soul Blade Chapter 37 - Commentary

The police broke up Grace's graduation party, in The Soul Blade Chapter 37.

The style of writing may have changed a bit between Chapters 36 and 37.  When I saw the end of the file coming, I started work on finishing The Soul Blade.  Going through the story again, especially after not doing much work on it since 2009, gave me a new perspective.  The numerous dangling plot lines I saw at the end of November 2009 weren't there, or were easily wrapped up.  Brenna's dislike of Amy was easily pulled out.  Her relationship with Matt was at a good point, with room for later works to expand if I wanted.  WIth the looming problems not so looming or problematic, I could find a way to end the story to my satisfaction, without having the conclusion drag several chapters longer than necessary.

As I started to write, a small detail almost stopped me.  Would Grace and her friends wear graduation robes at her party, or would she have to return them after the ceremony?  I asked on Twitter, and the majority of the answers I got said that she'd return the robes after the ceremony.  But the one response that said otherwise came from someone in California, not Ontario.  That was enough to have me wonder, so I did what I should have done in the first place and checked the web site for University of California San Diego, Grace's school, to see what graduation involved.  Grads there can choose to purchase a package that includes the robes to keep.  Grace did that, mainly because Gary was offering to pay and he wanted to see her in those robes.  My backup plan was having Grace in a nice dress, and had put that in as a placeholder while I checked details.

Brenna didn't want her family fighting alongside her.  She has the Soul Blade, she's the Chosen One, not them.  However, Joni trained Grace to fight the supernatural before Brenna got the Blade, and Dawn made sure her daughters were ready just in case.  There's no way to predict who will get the Blade when the previous Bladekeeper dies.  Joni and Dawn made sure their girls were ready.  Mostly.

The reunion of Brenna and Matt serves as the resolution of their relationship for the story.  They're a couple, even if they haven't told each other yet.  Grace and Rae do get Brenna to focus a little, mostly my causing her embarrassment.  Rae got a good flash of what Brenna was feeling, though everyone else probably realized what was going through her mind already.

Once again, the problem of how to fight skeletons comes up.  Baseball bats are good; most people have an idea of how to swing one.  My experience with them is that I tend to swing under the pitch; I'd kneecap a skeleton.  But the other problem is that skeletons don't have the obvious weakness that zombies have.  Head shots may or may not work.  Skeletons also don't have flesh, so shredding muscle isn't possible.  And there's never a cleric around when you need one.

The one issue I wanted to make sure was having proper cliffhangers.  Unruly and last year's NaNo let me learn how to set up cliffhangers properly.  The goal with Chapter 37 was to get something a good length worth reading without being too short or too long and still get the key elements out there to set up the fight coming up.  I also had a time deadline.  I started the writing after prepping Chapter 36 for posting.  Two weeks to get a chapter written should be enough, provided I can get the right approach.  The right approach isn't always easy to work out.  I set up the scene, then brought the focus on Brenna.  Given that I really wanted to wrap up The Soul Blade, I didn't get into great detail.  Might have been a mistake, but I've been working with it since the end of September 2016.  The story needs to end.  There may be longer serials out there, but The Soul Blade has been needing an end since 2009.

Friday, skeletons attack, in The Soul Blade Chapter 38.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, Death Race.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, TV versus movies, fight!.

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