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Critique Circle Members Read My Blog!

February 1, 2011

I’ll admit I’m stealing the title gag from another blog.  The idea is that if you say something in your blog and then later someone else says something similar they must be a reader of your blog.

So in my last real entry I was listing a few things I enjoy doing in stories and a few things I don’t enjoy doing.  At the same time since Wednesday I’ve had the first chapter of my latest story up for review on Critique Circle.

The first reviewer seemed mostly fixated on “real” demons, telling me the difference between a Class-5 demon in my story and an actual Class-5 demon.  He/she doesn’t say where these rules come from.  Probably the Vatican.  Personally I don’t believe in demons, ghosts, werewolves, vampires, the Tooth Fairy,the Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus.  The first two I think are like UFOs where you can believe in some fantastic explanation involving conspiracy theories or you can take the more rational approach that it’s some swamp gas or a military jet or the person who shot it is just a freaking crackpot.

Still, it echoes what I said in my previous entry that I don’t like doing research.  If I had maybe I would have come across these “rules” about demons beforehand so I could have pleased some random stranger.  Though my attitude is that demons don’t exist and thus I can do whatever the fuck I want.  Kind of like how people who write vampire books reinvent the “rules” as they see fit.  (Which I’ve also done!)

The second reviewer apparently didn’t know about “real” demons either, but was more concerned with how easily they died, saying, “They’re very easily kilt, too, and have no ability, apparently, to hurt her. Makes for very little tension, imho.”

This is the scene where our monster-hunting witch Sylvia corners a demon and kills it.

Stepping past the altar with its rows of candle beneath an overly large crucifix, Sylvia opened the door the demon had gone through. As she did, she heard the familiar sound of a gun being cocked. “I didn’t think you’d bother coming this far north,” the demon said.

He sat at his desk, a black revolver pointed at her chest. He motioned with the weapon to the corner of the room. “Stand over there and put your hands up,” he said.

She only snorted at this. “You can’t be serious. You think that toy is going to kill me?” She waved her hand, the gun turning bright orange a second later. With her other hand she reached into her pocket for a charm. To anyone else it might appear to be a piece of rope with three knots tied an equal distance apart. The demon growled at the sight of it, though.

“You’re not going to take me back,” he said. “I’ll kill this stupid mortal.”

“You could try that,” Sylvia said. She reached into her jacket to take out the crossbow. With a shake the weapon folded out to its full size, about half the size of an AK-47. She had toyed with the idea of ditching the crossbow in favor of a gun, but the crossbow had served her well enough for nearly five centuries. The demon watched her warily as she reached into another pocket for a bolt, the head of it made from pure silver. To the end of the bolt she tied the charm. “Before or after I run this through your heart?”

“Kill me and the human dies. His blood will be on your hands.”

Sylvia shrugged. “Join the club.” She fired the crossbow, the bolt cleanly piercing the demon’s heart. The demon fell back in his chair, lying prone on the floor with the bolt with the charm dangling from it sticking out of his chest.

I get the reviewer’s point that I could have made it more of a battle.  I could have made it some drawn-out fight with a chase on the rooftops of the Swedish village.  Or I could have had the demon swell up like Godzilla and then have Sylvia find some way to kill it.

But I didn’t.  Because I really didn’t care that much.  Some drawn-out fight might be exciting for some people, but not for me.  Which in a way doesn’t make sense because I enjoy a good action movie like any other red-blooded American male.  I just don’t feel like writing them.

Also, the point of the scene isn’t that Sylvia kills a demon.  The point is that she’s getting tired of killing demons.  That plays into things later on because both her and her sister are getting tired of doing what they’ve been doing for the last 150 years, which leads them to making changes in their lives.

Though what I really think this demonstrates is that there are two types of people.  For the Michael Bays of the world, the character interaction, dialogue,etc. is just a device to set up the action.  For others (people who don’t make shitty movies) the action is an extension of the character interaction and development and in turn sets up more character development later.

So the disconnect comes in that we’re putting emphasis on different things.  I’m putting the emphasis on the character and you’re putting the emphasis on the action.

But in the end this second person bears out what I said before about my tendency to mail in the action scenes because I really don’t care about them.  So there’s your proof that I’m not completely full of shit!

Until next time…


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  1. I like the scene; one criticism I have of many books is that they regurgitate the same old tropes — the “rules.” If demons were superhard to kill, then you have to come up with a reason why they haven’t simply taken over the world. Your idea, that demons can be somewhat simple, if tedious, to kill, seems fresher and more genuine to me, giving a different take on the vampire-slayer mode.

    Also, nicely done with the credit for “reads my blog.” Stephen Colbert and Bill Simmons never bother with attribution.

  2. Lisa Potts permalink

    I never thought you were COMPLETELY full of shit. ; )

    So if your class-5 demon is a pushover, then who’s the real antagonist?
    I’ve read a lot of paranormal stuff that follows the video game model of the super “boss” that the MC has to battle in the end to save the world, save the girl/guy, or save their own soul.

    • The real antagonists are a group of half-witch assassins known as the Heretics, which includes Sylvia’s daughter she put up for adoption 150 years earlier.

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