Kim is still a couple of chapters ahead of me with her edits. She seemed to think she was starting to get ‘too snarky’ with her latest edits, so I’d better hurry up so I can see how much she’s learned from me, the master of snarks.
Summary: In this chapter Mean, Vornis, Trisk, Darrow, and Tome drive to Hardpan City to find out what Parlay is up to.
After reaching Hardpan, Mean and Dark split off from the group to explore a strange pit dug up on the side of the city. It leads to a tunnel, where the two become trapped. Dring has rigged hex doors at the each end of the passage, that, when triggered, puts the victim into the middle of the tunnel again.
Trisk goes to the Dhaston building, where Vornis sensed Parlay and Tyle. Tyle meets Trisk at the ground floor. He’s guarding the hex door that leads to Jesice. It’s time to finish this!
First off, I wrote a new description for the city. I added birds since that’s what Thomas Hugo drew on my cover. And now everyone in the car notices them!
- “Mean, do you see those?” Trisk asked from the passenger seat.
- Mean braked the car. “Yeah, birds. It’s strange. I saw them when I came here with Dark. He said they were native to Jesice.”
- Kim – Why doesn’t she just say “birds” here? Just so Mean can respond with “yeah, birds”? Or does Trisk not know what birds are?
Well, Trisk is a bit too far to see what the flying things are yet. but Mean has been to the city recently so she knows FOR SURE that they’re birds. And not, uh, some other flying things. Like snails.
- Kim – Wait, Trisk is with her? Why was only Mean described in the first paragraph if she wasn’t there alone?
Kim talked to me about this in a phone call. See, I didn’t list every character that was in the car right away. I only mentioned Mean first. So Kim told me that she was imagining Mean as Uma Thurman (????) driving to the final battle. Then as the paragraphs go on more characters are mentioned being in the car with her. This eventual reveal would work if this were a comedic scene, but it isn’t. Well, except for the part with Dark popping out of the trunk after the trip.
Wait, Kim, do you imagine Mean as Uma Thurman ALL the time? Like how she looks? I’m just curious since I don’t imagine Mean as any real-life person.
Anyway, back to Mean’s driving.
- Mean pressed her foot on the accelerator. The car jerked forward.
- Kim – Why is the car jerking? Is she not in the right gear or something?
No, it jerked forward because with Vornis in the back, Dark in the trunk, and Trisk and Darrow taking up the other seats there’s WAY more weight in the car than Mean’s used to. I’ll just have Mean mention that so you don’t think she has the parking brake on.
- “You’re kidding,” Trisk laughed from the front passenger seat. Kates’ old house passed by on the right.
- Kim – Oh, the car is actually moving? Thought it just jerked forward.
Is this the promised snark I see here? All right, if that’s the way you want it, Kim:
The car jerked forward. Mean paused, compensating for the combined weight of Vornis, Trisk, Darrow, and even Dark who was in the trunk. With careful calculation, she gradually pushed down on the gas pedal. This caused the car to smoothly accelerate from zero MPH to 44 MPH over the span of fifteen seconds. Success! There will be no traffic tickets from Mackaba on this day.
Is that enough for ya? Want me to describe the exact increments that the steering wheel is being turned?
Snark. Ha! You’ll have to step it up a bit to challenge me for the crown, Kim!
After the group arrives at the city, Dark comes out of the trunk. Mean had a conversation with everyone on the way over, but she has to repeat most of it to Dark since he couldn’t hear it.
- “Sorry Dark,” Mean said. She came around to help him out of the trunk. “I never thought I’d be driving so many people around. Were you okay in there?”
- Kim – Could Dark just be able to hear what they’re saying so nothing needs to be repeated? Would actually be funnier if Dark could hear everything, and then would occasionally have muffled responses they all just agree to without understanding what he’s saying.
I do like the idea of Dark being able to hear everything discussed so that they don’t have to repeat it all. And you realized a way to work a hilarious gag into the scene as well! Gold star, Kim!
The group arrives at the city. Vornis gives Mean a bracelet that lets her sense magic.
- She strapped the bracelet to her forearm and showed it off to Trisk, who nodded from where she sat on the hood of the car.
- Kim – Why didn’t Trisk just ride on the hood and let Dark sit in the front seat? She couldn’t be hurt if she fell off. Or why didn’t Vornis ride sitting on the trunk so he wouldn’t stab anyone?
Because Vornis thinks it’s funny to crowd Darrow. Besides, I’ve already decided on your hilarious “muffled voice in the trunk” bit! And if Trisk was on the hood how would Mean see where she’s driving!?
Mean goes off with Dark to explore the tunnel. And now, TWO CHAPTERS AFTER MEAN REVEALED HER SECRET, Dark reacts to it. She is an alien! Zounds!
- Dark kept pace with her. “I’d be the last person to condemn you over hiding your identity. Or did you forget?”
- Kim – Yeah, this would be much better to have back when he first finds out, or at least at bit of it then, and could expand more here.
Okay. I’ll go back to that chapter and put his reaction there. There’s even room for it now since the group has more rooms to walk through in Parlay’s mansion.
Darrow made some very insensitive remarks about chocolate candy bars on the drive over. Mean is hurt. As anyone should be. And Dark heard it all from the trunk.
- “Yeah,” Dark said. “I heard him going on about how disgusting food was through the trunk. But he overreacts to everything––I don’t think he means any harm.”
- Kim – Wait, he heard that but didn’t hear anything Vornis said about sensing things? Isn’t Vornis louder since he growls everything he says?
I COULD say ‘it’s a low growl and Darrow is always obnoxiously loud.’ But I’m changing the scene anyway so that Dark can hear the entire conversation! No need for my pathetic excuses!
Now the setting switches to Trisk arriving at the Dhaston building. Most of Kim’s comments here are about how the bronze machine, now on the news broadcasts, should be named. But in the last blog post we already went over how I’m going to change it to ‘Error.’ So there’s not much to talk about here.
Let’s see, what else… too many tan/pale arms, too many semicolons/colons… the usual Kim stuff.
Ah! Here we go. The final line. Trisk is about to start fighting Tyle for the last time:
- A sharp screech cut through the garage as Tyle stopped. He grit his teeth together. His pale arm was shaking: the hand balled up into a fist.
- “Let’s just get this over with,” Trisk said.
- Kim – Feels like she should have an action here instead of a dialogue tag.
It does feel that way, doesn’t it? Curses! Why didn’t I realize this sooner? I should have some way for the reader to know that my protagonists are getting serious. An action! I mean, other stories do it. Whether they’re tying on bandannas or making a pose, heroes are always showing off their true grit–their very RESOLVE–before battle!
So what should it be? Should Trisk pull up her socks? Should she take a scrunchie into every fight and then DRAMATICALLY gather her hair into a ponytail? Sound off in the comments, you snarky darlings! And I’ll see you all next time!
> Mean pressed her foot on the accelerator. The car launched forward.
Man, riding with Vornis in the car is a safety violation in case of an accident!
Trisk should motion “Come get some!” with her hand.
Okay, uh, how do I write that motion out? “With an open palm she beckoned him with her fingers?”