In this chapter, titled Error, Parlay sends a magical robot through the hex door to Jesice. This nameless machine moves toward the cliff-side city on a secret mission. The police and military attempt to stop it, yet they are powerless against the bizarre technology it commands. Guns can’t stop it. Rocket launchers only make it angrier. And fighter jets have their energy cannons’ blasts redirected at their allies.
Now, this is the kind of stuff I love. Wanton destruction! Chaos from an attacking alien force!
However, Kim has sensed a problem with my explosion-fest:
Either add some kind of stakes so we care about the officers winning against the machine (but it you want to keep the machine’s purpose a surprise, might not work), or add more character to the scene so the reader cares about the characters involved. Doesn’t have to be a lot, just little bits of development to get the reader attached to them. Otherwise, there’s a lot of shooting and explosions, but it doesn’t feel like anything really happened. Or maybe just condense the whole scene to a few pages.
Now, she has a point. None of these cops have a large role in the story beyond this chapter. But I don’t want to shorten the scenes that much, since I DO think it’s important to show how the Jesian forces fail against Parlay’s robot. Because when Hatchel and Tecker come to the rescue later, I need the reader to believe that those two rapscallions are the only hope of stopping it.
Maybe I’ll come up with something as I go through Kim’s margin notes. Continue reading