Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bad Fairy 2 status report: Chapters 7 through 9

Writing these chapters has been slow going. Mostly because they involve a ridiculous amount of disappointment. In just three short chapters, protagonist Delia deals with boy troubles, extended sickness, her father being a horrible person, grappling with the duality of her existence, and having the brightest hope of her life built up and dangled in front of her only to have it irrevocably and devastatingly crushed. This leads, as you might imagine, to quite a lot of anger. I have never seen Delia this angry, and you know, well, that says a lot because she's Delia. At one point she is so furious that she actually blacks out from sheer white-hot rage.

And if you can believe it, that's kind of draining to write.

Many years ago I drew an entire cartoon set of Tarot cards based on Bad Fairy. This is the illustration I drew that involved the scene I'm talking about, drawn for the card Five of Pentacles. What you see behind her are a bunch of purple flames. That's the kind of pissed off I'm talking about.

And speaking of which, I'm not sure how many people reading my blog know this, but Bad Fairy was originally one huge book, so some of these scenes that I'm incorporating into the new "Bad Fairy 2" sequel book have actually been written before. I'm a little uncomfortable with it--in a few cases I've lifted chunks from the old book and pasted them directly into the new book, and then had to adjust them for minor details and writing style. They still feel weird when I read them and I don't know if that's because I know what they are or if it's just because they don't really go. Maybe because I know I didn't lead into them with the same train of thought they were placed after. I don't know. We'll see.

Words: Chapters 7 through 9 ended up about 16,500 words. (Yeah, I know.)

Basic details: Delia and her boyfriend reveal their secrets to each other and deal with each other's reactions. She sees her father again--for the first time since she was six--and it makes her literally want to barf. She leaves her tavern position and struggles with a long illness, and soon learns that her family's letter requesting that she be allowed to interview with the ruler of their kingdom has finally been answered--affirmatively. Delia prepares for her interview, meets the king (!!!), and . . . finds her interests incompatible with his, to say the least. From here she has to decide what to do with her life.

The good: I feel like I was finally able to explore most of the holes left in the plot for if someone was reading this book before Book 1--Delia explains everything that happened when she was still receiving her magickal education and what fueled the clash between her and her worst enemy. I also did something I've literally never done before: I included some geographical specifics. Historically I write very light on setting, but in these chapters there is some fleshing out of not only Delia's village (and scant mentions of the other three villages that make up the four riverside communities), but the larger kingdom she's part of, including the information that she lives in the same province as her king and what the name of the king's city and province is. I sort of let Delia make fun of herself for not knowing geography, too; I figured she'd be fairly ignorant of her surroundings because her world was always very small, but traveling through these places helps her have a reason to know what they are.

The bad: There's so much negativity in these chapters, and it's not balanced with much positivity right from the beginning of the story. I wonder if reading this will be a trial for people--if it will just be too depressing and contain too little hope. Delia is a good person but she comes off as sullen and entitled quite a lot of the time, and I don't know whether the balancing passion and authentic desire for positive change will redeem her. I'm also a little worried about the length of Chapter 9. It's over 8,000 words long and that might be a bit much. Oh, and the portrayal in this book of certain religious philosophies might be offensive, but at this point I've already got magick-practicing fairies invoking pagan goddesses and practicing sorcery so I'm probably not going to lose anybody new with this.

And now, the quotes:

When Delia won't accept her co-workers' sympathy when she has a crying breakdown at work:

My mother had once told me I needed to cry with loved ones instead of running from them, but I felt far more comfortable answering misery with isolation.

In my mythology, fairies don't have the ability to do magick long-distance. Delia knows a couple techniques that allow her to thwart those limits. This is her on how she can magickally send dreams to other people as a means of communicating:

My own magickal range was just as limited by distance as anyone else’s, but the goddess of death and rebirth could come to anyone, anywhere. She could also bring dreams. So I handed Her mine.

On Delia battling a lengthy illness (framed in one of her philosophical asides penned from the end of her life):

In that time I did much sleeping, but in my waking hours I did not read or write. I simply nursed my heart as my mother nursed my body, groping mentally for some purchase on where I should lay the wretched beating thing.  

On choosing a direction (again, from one of her philosophical asides):

Each time I’d faced adversity, it had been truth that had done me in.

That is, truth after partial lies paved the way.

Having come to a crossroads, my choice was clear: the rest of my life would need to take the path of either pure truth or masterful deception.

The moral fabric of my mind; the effervescent fibers of my magick; and the ancient, stalwart voice of my goddess all vibrated to the hum of truth, but so far in my life, only the lies had been met with external reward.

Delia on the rules for fairies adopting patron gods:

We were not allowed to invite bonds with religious figures still respected by the rulers of our realm—that is to say, the king’s god and any characters associated with Him were off limits—but we were allowed to borrow the inspiration and power of past gods. As long as they were dead.

I liked dead gods. Especially if they had presided over death in their heyday.

Delia having a rather odd conversation with her personal goddess:

We must tell the king everything—the unfiltered truth, so he cannot ever accuse us of obscuring it. We must make him partial to what you can do. We must show him your true value. We must make sure he would kill to have you.
“Well I don’t know about killing,” I said, swishing the wine around in the cup.

Delia on leaving her village and traveling far away:

Soon I was farther from home than I’d ever been, and I started to feel the distance like the marrow of my bones was being stretched.
On Delia choosing a rather dramatic outfit for her meeting with royalty:

I may have been thirteen years old, but I looked deliciously like an archetypal woman of the mysteries—rather like Cerridwen’s depictions when mythology books dared to include illustrations—and I savored the striking image my figure cut in that glass on the wall. I was no longer a yearning student, or a modest tavern maid, or a child on a hopeless quest for employment. I was a mature person who knew herself and knew what she wanted. A person who was about to do everything in her power to get it.
And there was a lot in my power.

The king to Delia after learning how interested she is in the afterlife:

"Do not go looking for death. It will find you on its own."


  1. so much going on can be very draining but keep it up! you're doing awesome!

    1. Thanks. :) I can't stop even if I wanted to, so. . . . :)