March 5, 2014 by Kira Lyn Blue
For those of you that have been following the Ninja Squirrels for a while, you know that I’m working on the first novel in an urban fantasy series with a chaos sorcerer as the main character, a talking squirrel sidekick who really, really likes the sound of his own voice, and all manner of crazy shenanigans for them to deal with: assassins, werewolves, vampires, Fae, and a myriad of sorcerers with varying abilities and equally varying levels of homicidal tendencies.
It was about this time last year that I finished the first draft and shipped it off to a few beta readers for feedback. They were enormously helpful even if the feedback wasn’t “Ermagerd, Kira, this is brilliant. Publish now!”
I mean, it was a first draft. What did I really expect?
Shift forward a few months from there. I’d already attempted some modifications on the first draft, but still couldn’t make it fix the real underlying issues. I finally realized that to make this work, I was going to have to push the timeline backward and start the series at an earlier point.
Cue a few more months of toying with scene ideas, plot mapping, backstory polishing, and intense debate with the Husband over what/whom the antagonist should be for the new story. (Incidentally, should I be worried that he comes up with the scariest bad guys?)
Then I sat down and started working on the opening scene.
Return to present day.
I now have something like forty different opening scenes for the new story written. Many of them are different versions of the same basic premise. There’s the “My life sucks” opening, the “White Rabbit” opening, the “Holy shit, it’s a sorcerer!” opening, the “Crashing Indy Pagan Pride Day” opening, the “Midnight Run” opening, and- what was my personal favorite for a long time- the “Jac! What the fuck did you do to the soda fountain and shop-vac?!?” opening.
Unfortunately, every single one of them was missing something vital, or several vital somethings. There were a few that were really good pieces of writing, but just didn’t fit for one reason or another.
I had almost decided that I was wrong and that the original story was so much better and I should just go back and try to make it work as the first in the series.
And then came last night.
And finally, finally, I got it right.
Now maybe it was silly to hold up an entire book for months and months until I got that one scene right where I wanted it, but I don’t think it was. I learned a lot about Jac in the process and how she might act in a whole lot of scenarios. I wrote many of them and let thousands more play out in my mind as I drifted off to sleep each night, only to wake in the morning and realize they wouldn’t work with what was intended to come. And thus the cycle began anew.
But now, now I have it!
I know I’m rambling, but I’m happier than a caffeinated squirrel at a peanut farm. So, I really just wanted to share my excitement. While I would love to share the scene with you folks, The Muse says it’s mine alone right now. I don’t think she trusts me not to second guess myself once I make it “live.”
However, I will give you a taste. Just a wee bite for the curious:
“It’s amazing how fragile, how tenuous our world is. Stability is an illusion. In reality, things are constantly breaking down even as we or the Universe itself attempts to build them back up. Entropy is reality and every little bit of our ordered world and life is one tiny catalyst from complete collapse.
My whole world crumbled with a single spark.”