Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Stone That Sings: Chapter 21

Chapter 21 is called Hunted

I wasn't pleased with the first draft of this chapter.

Well, that's not entirely true; I was pleased to reach a moment when Juliette's conflict with the Romulans was resolved. I was pleased that she makes use of the desert to defend herself and yet, the desert does not come to her aid. I was pleased with the image of the storm as a third participant in a very deadly three-way race. I was pleased with the echoes from previous chapters: The Loresinger, the Passion Operas, the Kli'Mari and of course, the sehlat.

But in my first draft, I didn't get far into Juliette's head, and without doing so, the chapter would run the risk of being like Home Alone. Oh, that quirky Juliette and her clever plans! And those bumbling Romulans!

By going deeper into Juliette's PoV, I was able to bring out her thoughts on things -- on death and what she would leave behind, and her manner of death. It was around the third draft that I found the right cadence, and I'm sure that I'll pick at it more.

Out of that deeper PoV came an opportunity to reveal that as the sehlat got closer, Juliette's thoughts became more predatory and bestial. I jumped on that because it gave me a chance to double-underline the idea there are insurmountable gaps between alien species, but those gaps enhance relationships when one is not trying to force the other to behave 'their' way. The sehlat has a strong influence on Juliette; Juliette's influence on the sehlat is more subtle, and I might bring that more forward in another draft.

In canon, Troi made some reference to 'getting lost in the beast', I found that a bit contrived just to establish some plot point. More on that another time, but I write it all off with the idea that while the Fifth House of Betazed deserves respect as any of the Decadet (my term for the top 10 houses), they are not the experts on everything. Besides, Juliette is a stronger telepath.

As a result of those changes, I think this chapter became the climax that it needed to be. In revising the chapter before, I'd find myself reading ahead to this one because it tied everything together pretty nicely and gave a sense of closure.

I'm not done yet posting the draft of The Stone That Sings. There's still at least one more chapter to go. Then it's off to edit the first chapters!


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