10 Nov 2016

The Soul Blade Chapter 6 - Commentary

Brenna found herself distracted.  Good thing she has a friend.

The cast kept growing in the early chapters.  Part of it was showing that the world is bigger than just Brenna and her family.  Grace has her own circle of friends, fellow students who are all celebrating graduation.  Piper's cluelessness wasn't planned.  Granted, very few details were planned; it's the nature of being a pantser during NaNoWriMo.  Piper isn't fazed by Grace's weird asides by now; it's just Grace and social interaction isn't Piper's forte.  There probably is a law about serving alcohol to the intoxicated; there's one in Ontario.

Missy's role grew from the original intent.  When Brenna was first created, Missy was the new girl from out of town, determined to make friends in her new school.  Extroverted Missy saw it as a mission to get shy Brenna out of her shell in high school.  As Brenna's story evolved, the two girls became best friends.  Brenna's aura reading ability let her see Missy's true self and allowed herself to open up to her brash classmate.  Missy learned more about Bren and became protective, protecting Brenna from herself at times.

Grace, though, lives with Brenna day-in and day-out and has a lower tolerance for her sister's weirdness.  Talking to unseen people, she's used to.  Joni taught Grace the ways of being the weilder of the Soul Blade, not expecting Brenna to be the chosen one.  Brenna's issues with guys drives Grace up the wall.  Grace did what she could; that's why she called Missy.  She also is used to giving out excuses for her family's weird behaviour.  Part of it is maintaining the masquerade; the average person doesn't need to know there are beings that are out to get them.  Grace still had her teenaged years, where she found anything her family did embarassing, even the mundane things.  Brenna was the annoying older sister whose antics reflected on Grace, so Gracie found ways to cover her and to avoid being tarred by the same brush.  They do love each other; they just don't express it daily.

Brenna's father, Gary, is also well aware of the weirdness in the family.  He learned the hard way, marrying Joni and then discovering that his new bride had a family obligation.  The original idea with The Soul Blade was to show the different women who had the Blade throughout time.  Joni received hers about twenty years before Brenna did, so her story, if it were to be written, would be a period piece.  Problem is, Brenna's story is set in now, whenever now is.  In the seven years between when The Soul Blade was written and today, a lot has changed.  Joni's story would be in a nebulous time where cell phones could be the old flip phone or early smartphones.  The availability of communications does change the nature of a plot.  Today, most people have a cell phone.  Thirty years ago, people would have to find a phone booth to make a call.  Isolating someone now is harder without sending them into the middle of nowhere.

This should be it for comments in-story about Missy's used car.  It was a bit of weirdness that slipped in for word count and served a purpose.  One last comment from its former owner and it becomes just a conveyance.  In retrospect, weirdness should orbit Brenna's family; they're ghost hunters.  Probability bends around them.  However, the later weirdness ups the ante.

Tomorrow, Brenna and Missy go to the beach, in The Soul Blade Chapter 7.
Also tomorrow, over at Psycho Drive-In, The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again.
Saturday, over at Seventh Sanctum, Ghostbusters.


  1. Interesting that you say Brenna's father "learned the hard way" - you'd think Joni might make the issue clear before the marriage? Particularly if it was the Blade that drew them together, to ensure divorce might not be a thing? I suppose that it could speak to Joni's personality. Or Gary's.

    Couple other things about the part in question...
    Grace's remarks, "That time of the month. Affects us women differently." ... "You think this is bad, imagine living with it" can really be taken two ways. I suspect it was intended to convey to Matt that it's a trial living with Brenna. But it could also be Grace telling Matt that if he had ovaries, he'd have similar issues.

    Also, I notice how Missy gets called "Melissa" when we shift to Matt's point of view. I'm waffling on whether this is a nice touch or not, as it implies only the Hallidays ever call her Missy (she doesn't correct him when he name outs her). It feels kind of weird given the extraverted nature, but does work for the POV shift. The car thing was a nice touch too.

    1. Joni may have, but even she was surprised as the intensity. They met a bit before she got the Blade. The Blade likes to get an ideal match; divorce is possible but most marriages end with the husband becoming a widower.

      Grace is being "helpful" there. She's covering for Brenna's weirdness but making it somewhat embarrassing for her at the same time. If Brenna ever hears about what Grace said, there will be a sisterly fight. There may be an undercurrent of making fun of Matt for his lack of knowledge of women.

      Missy's close friends call her Missy. Matt didn't know her as well. It's an attempt to show the different levels of intimacy between the characters. The Hallidays have seen more of Missy than Matt has since high school. It's odd, but the Volvo had a character arc in its appearances.