Review Excerpts

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Team, Assemble!

The Disintegration sequel (aka The Fall of the Midnight Scorpions, which I should really start using more since I've yet to come up with a better title) is coming along swimmingly. So far, I'm really happy with the way everything's been turning out and I'm excited for what's yet to come. That doesn't mean writing it has been without its challenges, though.

I think I've mentioned before, perhaps as evidence that I play too many RPGs, that the basic plot of the book is similar to so many video games: assemble your team, save the world. After giving it careful consideration and consulting with my usual buddies, I decided to limit the number of people on the core team to six.* Six seemed like a manageable number to work with, both in terms of realism for plot purposes and making sure I could write the characters and their story well.

(*There are more than six characters in the book, of course, but the focus is primarily on this group.)

Not every one of the six teammates is going to be the star of the book, but I wanted to make sure all of them were fleshed out with their own distinguishing characteristics. That led to the age-old dilemma of how much time to spend on backstory and other details that don't really serve to push the plot along. I'd like to think I did an okay job in letting their various backgrounds and personalities come out naturally, but find me a writer who never second guesses herself.

Then there's the issue of having them all interact with each other. There have been a couple times when all six characters are in the same room involved in the same conversation, and I need to straddle the line between "realistic" and "coherent". In the real world, if it's not some sort of structured setting, I think it would be unlikely that a group of six people would be sitting around, politely waiting for their turn to speak without some sort of side conversations going on simultaneously. However, there are times when you have to cast realism aside and just tell the damn story in a way that makes sense. Sometimes, though, I'll be writing and have that moment of "Oh shit, Character C is in the room and she hasn't said or done anything in the past ten minutes." Again, even in real life, not everyone is going to be constantly actively participating in whatever's going on, but I still don't want the reader to forget who is in the scene.

Overall, I like these characters. I hope I've succeeded in bringing them to life, and I hope they're all likeable, compelling, sympathetic, flawed people. I'm not going to reveal too many plot points here, but I want you to laugh when they're laughing, cry when they're crying, and if I really do my job right, you'll feel like you're a member of the "team" right there with them.


  1. Too many RPGs? No such thing!

    I can understand the struggle of wanting to keep track of all the characters appropriately, though, and make sure their voices are heard when necessary.

    As somebody who frequently gets in trouble for talking when others are talking, I can assure you this would be a realistic thing to employ when necessary ;)

  2. I love that title!! It's sounds so cool. :)

    Show me a writer who doesn't second guess themselves, and I'll show you someone who never gets anything done. ^_^

    I totally know what you mean. I only 3 characters and I still kept forgetting about the third wheel. He has a really important scene later, and I worry he doesn't have enough face time for people to connect with him so it has the impact the want. Grr. All in a days work.

    I immediately had an Avengers flashback when I read this post. :)