Thursday, September 23, 2010

What's the First Story About?

Enough talking theory and characterization. What's the first Paul and Dafydd story about?

It's pretty simple. Dafydd is heading to his favorite place to eat and takes a shortcut down an alley when he stumbles across a vampire draining someone. Dafydd's dealt with ghosts, but a vampire is a bit out of his league. He's surprised when the vampire doesn't immediately kill him. He's even more surprised when he realizes that he's been dreaming about this vampire most of his life. One of Dafydd's magical talents is prophetic dreaming, and he's known for years he'd eventually meet this man, and need to help him.

Who was the victim? Paul says it's a serial killer, and he only kills people he's determined are a menace to humanity. As Dafydd says, Paul is kind of a cross between Angel and Dexter. I plan to have a future story deal with a serial rapist, and we'll see more of Paul's motivations in that story.

Why does a warlock need to help a vampire? Because Paul has been haunted by a ghost for years. While most ghosts are harmless, this one is about to become dangerous. Dafydd doesn't know exactly what she would do, but he knows it could be very bad for the DC area.

They decide to work together to help the ghost move on, and as they work on the ghost, they start to like each other and consider maybe teaming up on a more permanent basis.

A note on the ghost issue. The original version had Paul asking Dafydd for help with the ghost, but one of my early readers commented that the story lacked dramatic tension. He also said that he had a hard time believing that Dafydd would trust Paul.

I sat down to rework the story to address both of those issues. I'd decided that Dafydd was talented with divination, and I decided prophetic dreaming fit well with that. The dream made is easy for me to deal with Dafydd's motivation. Since I was aiming for about 15,000 words for the story, I didn't have a lot of time to develop the working relationship. I needed them to jump right into ghost busting.

The dream also led to changing the ghost. Originally, she'd been benign. Paul wanted to get rid of her because she was annoying, not because she was a danger. When I thought about it, I realized that was weak. Making her get progressively more powerful added tension and allowed me to add some nice touches. The weather changes as the story goes on. It starts out sunny, but a storm gradually moves in as the ghost becomes more agitated. Using weather as a way to drive tension was fun. I think I need to tweak those descriptions some more, but it was a nice way to show magic influencing the world without going into a long info dump.

I'm working on a new story, so you can assume they succeeded with the ghost, but if you want to find out exactly how, you'll have to read The Case of the Haunted Vampire.

By the way, I'm planning to offer this story for free, so it anyone wants a copy, let me know. It's not quite the final version, but it's close enough that I'm ready to give it away. I plan to excerpt it here in a couple of months anyway.

Until next time.

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