Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Novel's Journey: Sins of the Brother

My writing career really took off when I wrote a fantasy noir story called "DragonEye, PI" for an anthology called Firestorm of Dtagons.  So it seems only appropriate that I restart my writing with another DragonEye noir to submit to an anthology.

"Sins of the Brother" is based on the 1954 noir movie World for Ransom.  The plot is pretty simple--cynical PI in Singapore is checking up on the husband of the woman he loves.  Husband, of course, is a con man in over his head when he helps kidnap one of the leading nuclear scientists in the world.  PI wants out, but the girl promises to run away with him--once her husband is safe.  But of course, she betrays him in the end--she was never good for him, anyway.

Of course, the plot needs some serious changes to fit my universe.  Vern, as an androgynous dragon, isn't going to fall for some dame--but he might be beholden to a friend, especially a human who had shown him great kindness.  The plot will have to involve some danger to Mundanes or Faerie or both--which means it has to involve the Gap.  Instead of a murder, I'm having a kidnapping to motivate Vern further.

Finally, the real trick: taking a movie with an omniscient POV and translating it to just Vern's angle.  That means a lot of stuff I saw happen on screen Vern simply has to learn about second hand.  Takes a little more work to keep it interesting, so I'm introducing some colorful side characters--a dirty FBI agent, the Magic Mirror of Snow White fame. 

I'm 5000 words into it, and trying to hold a pace of 1000 words a day.  It's been grueling gtting started again, but rewarding afterwards when I read what I'd written.  Here's a little about him talking to the Mirror:

“Mirror, doomed to affirmation, I’m looking for some information.”
The glass smoked, then a face appeared—noble, compassionate, understanding radiating from its eyes…
Then it saw who was talking to it and dropped the facade.  “Vern!  By all that is clear!  What a relief.  Get me out of here.”
Oh, no. I was not carrying this conversation in rhyme.  “Bad day at work?”
His jowls drooped and circles darkened around his eyes.  “You have no idea what it’s like—having to find nice, truthful things to say all day long.  These people are so...needy!”
I shrugged.  “You’re the one who took a confident queen and turned her into a megalomaniac—“
“Hey!  I warned her beauty was fleeting, and she was the fairest in the land until her stepdaughter just…blossomed.  I mean, seriously!  Did you ever see Snow White?  What a dish.  But you know, at least the Queen believed me.  The losers I get in here are always doubting me!  Me!  The Magic Mirror who sees all and speaks truth.  But no!  It’s always, ‘I think my nose is too big,’ or ‘You haven’t seen me without make-up’—“
“Babbling mirror of affirmation, I came here for information!”


Fr Jim Tucker said...

Did you start with an outline or chapter by chapter synopsis, or did you just start writing and see what will come out?

Fr. Jim

Karina Fabian said...

Well, the movie provided the "outline," but as is the way with most of my works, the story quickly deviated. What I've been doing is spending a little time before going to sleep outlining the next day's work, and I have a general idea of how the whole thing pans out.

Sadly, this project is on hold until I finish the check of the galley copy of *I Left My Brains in San Francisco,* which comes out Sept 1.