11 Dec 2016

The Soul Blade Chapter 9 - The Commentary

Brenna tries to have a normal life, despite her family, in The Soul Blade Chapter 9, as the commentary catch up continues.

Brenna's conversation with Grace serves more than just letting the reader know what's going on; it also let the writer figure out what's happening.  The problem I ran into is that Brenna can't do much until Tricia does something.  Brenna can investigate, but there's not much she can find.  Tricia wipes out all traces with each murder.  I should have thought that through, but when I did, I realized that Tricia and the being she's working for were a step ahead of Brenna already.  I made my villain too genre savvy.  Brenna and Grace have to work through what's happening by eliminating possibilities.  On the plus side, that means that they aren't suddenly realizing what's going on.  The thought processes are there, and Brenna isn't jumping to conclusions without reason.

The story's age is starting to show.  When originally conceived, Joni being sexually active in the 70s and 80s wasn't too much a stretch.  She would still be young enough to have received the Soul Blade at a young age, though older than when Brenna did, but still old enough to have been in college.  The 70s are now about forty years ago.  The story is getting dated, and hard coding dates like that means The Soul Blade starts becoming a period piece.

Dr. Womack provides a new insight on Brenna, one that the Bladekeeper isn't aware of.  Brenna's problem might not be the Blade itself.  She's a bit repressed, and has used the Blade as an excuse.  Of course, with only one Bladekeeper shown so far, it's hard to tell if Dr. Womack is correct.  Which means I will have to write another Tale of the Soul Blade featuring one of Brenna's ancestors.

Tuesday, the commentary catch up continues with The Soul Blade Chapter 10.
Thursday, commentary catch up completes with the The Soul Blade Chapter 11.
Friday, a confession and a first date in The Soul Blade Chapter 12.
Also on Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, Young Frankenstein.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, Absolutely Fabulous.


  1. With respect, your problem isn't merely that your villain is genre savvy. Your problem is that Brenna is a completely reactive protagonist. Now, that's not necessarily a problem in and of itself. If Brenna is not going to say "okay, this is weird, we need to investigate" and then look into magic herself, or see if Bert knows other ghosts with info, or ask Matt for information on the other killings, that's FINE - but then others NEED to push/pull her into it. The way Missy pulled Brenna into the ghost shack earlier. That worked.

    Here, Grace literally says "Let the cops handle it". THAT kills the scene. Brenna tries her best, pointing at the plot and saying "they don't know what I know", only for Grace to shut her down again. And everything stalls out. Possible fixes would be: Give Grace more curiosity. Or hook in an old reference in those books they dismissed. Or have Grace's behaviour be odd, maybe Tricia got to her offscreen. Or DON'T have the conversation be with Grace, have Summer call back. But GRACE killed your plot, and because Brenna goes along with what others say, it got shelved.

    Then there's the alternate plot, that being Brenna's sexual issues. Heck, maybe that could have been a situational hook - "Someone out there knows how to wipe out emotions ... I kind of need that right now, I'm going to investigate". Anyway. Nothing wrong with having a period piece, necessarily, though some of the conversation with Mom did seem a bit superfluous.

    I'm not sure you necessarily need anything with Brenna's ancestors though. Womack feels on target, and (especially in this day and age) feelings win out over actual facts. The idea that Bren's using the Blade as an excuse is a good one. It also moves things along, and potentially allows Matt to kickstart a way back into Tricia's plot again.

    1. Brenna is reactive. I needed to give her more clues to work from. And more people to push her, beyond Joni. From Brenna's view, it's just a killer with a magical twist. Grace does have a scene coming up that turns that around.

      I should have planned the story out. (I'd say better, but that implies there was planning involved. ^_^;;) A similar situation comes up with LTV Paranormalists, but there, all of them tell Aiden to not tell the others as they keep investigating. I do learn from my mistakes. :)

      Chapter 13 should shake things up. An all-Trish chapter, to get the plot kicked off again.