The commentary on The Medusa Coin continues – SPOILERS AHEAD EVERYONE!
The Blood Sample Sequence
When drafting I try to keep things simple. One movement to the next to the next and so on and so on… Most of the time, this keeps the pace pushing ever forward to the climax of the piece.
Other times it completely destroys a sequence.
This was the case with the Blood Sample Sequence in The Medusa Coin.
I had a simple outline:
- Myers yells at Liam Schultz to run the samples to tie the victims together.
- Liam curses his role but does what he can. When he steps out of the refrigerated unit he is knocked out by Soriya.
- Myers returns to give Liam her number. Sees Soriya fleeing and races off to catch her.
Pretty straightforward, right?
That was actually the weakness of the sequence. Things moved so quickly that when you walked away from the events of these three chapters you ended up with more questions than answers.
Expanding a moment
This is something I tend not to do. Writers are told to come in late and leave early. Show the reader what they need and get the hell out of the way.
Well, I needed to show the readers more.
Soriya punches out an innocent for the samples. Not exactly on point with her character but I had no chapter to explain her motivations. So I switched the Liam chapter to a Soriya chapter to give more insight into her actions.
Myers calls Loren before remembering she never left her number with Liam. I took a moment to show the other end of the conversation. It opened up more room for Loren’s own subplot and helped break the ice on these two strangers trying to connect in the middle of this crisis.
Myers can’t just leave Liam unconscious on the floor of his lab. She can’t. So I needed him awake. I needed him to get back to work and do what was required. This created a need for his own chapter later right before he meets his end.
So from three beats to five. Should have been good enough, right?
Nope. Try again.
Soriya had no logical next step. She simply shows up at the university and it is explained later how she came to that conclusion. I didn’t like that leap.
Instead, I built in an aftermath chapter for her to regret her choice to go it alone. In that moment of solitude she realizes she has somewhere to turn in the form of Mentor’s old friend, Professor Erikson. Justification in place, we were ready to rock and roll on the sequence!
Explaining the need for the samples was another headache during the editing process. I understood the need to corroborate evidence for the case but was it truly necessary for where the story was heading? This became a central argument that constantly threw the sequence into question.
Was there enough there? Did I need to explain it further?
Liam and Myers’ discussion changed dramatically, growing more complex as Myers laid the stakes down for the young man. There was a ton more humor in the first draft but it needed trimming to fit in exposition to make the scene work.
It’s a crucial sequence that propels the story forward for both Myers and Soriya. Without it, Soriya doesn’t end up at the university with the real killer and Myers doesn’t find out the story of the seven sons and find her way to the Bennett home.
That was why I had to take extra care to make it work and have it all make sense!
Hope I did…
Next week after a well-deserved turkey break!
A deleted scene involving the Courtyard!
Thanks for reading.