We’re in commentary mode for The Medusa Coin so SPOILERS AHEAD!
Last time I spoke about the long road to publication for The Medusa Coin. Between 2010 and 2016 I tinkered and toyed with the novel more times than I can count. I had no true outline, no real threat and no clue how to proceed.
Not exactly the best place to start from in terms of the creative process.
It took revisiting Signs of Portents in early 2016 to really nail down where I wanted to go. Once I had the series in place, the idea of a building narrative through a number of novels and short stories, I had the freedom to chart a course forward.
I had the bones of an outline, the skeleton of a story that carried through over the years. The Medusa Coin was always going to be about immortality, but more importantly about control of one’s life (a life without death). But from there I was a mess of a writer.
At one point hell hounds were involved. There was a fear virus running rampant in Portents. Ruiz died. And other insanity.
None of it fit! At all! I was throwing everything at the wall and nothing stuck because it couldn’t. Having a citywide threat didn’t make sense for this novel. The hell hounds made logical sense at one point and then there was no way to get rid of them in the third act, totally diverting from the threat of Henry Erikson. Ruiz couldn’t die because he had more story to tell.
So where was I supposed to go? What was my starting point for what became The Medusa Coin?
Soriya and Loren. Always.
Plot based threats are great and I knew Henry Erikson with the Charon would be perfectly placed within Portents. But what about character based arcs?
For me, that was the key to unlocking the potential of the narrative and it is with the two prologues I was able to tap into the actual story behind the book.
Having the Greystone as an uncontrollable source of power played off the precision of the Medusa coin. One known and one unknown – both incredibly dangerous to the user and its intended target.
For Loren? I went back to Signs and realized Loren was returning to the city – this place that took his life from him. That is something he keeps trying to reclaim so what is his first step? His interaction at the bar was meant to be a callback to his own weaknesses – his addictive personality that causes him to chew gum so often and dream of smoking – but the scene also represented how lost he truly was.
Loneliness defines these characters for me and having that personal stake in the novel – having them spin their wheels collectively yet completely separate at the same time really stepped up the conflict in my eyes. It raised the stakes. It set the tone.
And it gave me my starting points.
Much of the first act of the novel came from that first outline in 2010. Up until the moment Soriya reveals Death is in Portents was meant to be the first issue of the comic series version of the tale.
Except the prologues and the opening chapter. They were added last year when I set about building the entire narrative from the ground up.
I had read some questioning remarks of the two prologues with Signs. Personally, I think they set the tone for the series and plan to continue them into book 5 (although I’m taking a slightly different approach with that one).
If Soriya and Loren aren’t central to the story there is no reason to write it and call it Greystone in my opinion and the prologues cement that feeling.
Building subplots. A two part exploration at the growing subplots of the series.
Thanks for reading.