The Journey of SILVER BROWN

Sweet N’ Sour Sixteen

J.K. Rowling once said in an interview something to the effect of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire being a particularly agonizing book for her to write. One of its chapters had to be rewritten a whopping thirteen times; there was a recurring plot hole that needed a baker’s dozen attempts to get rid of. Chapter Sixteen of SILVER BROWN didn’t have to go through that many rewrites, but it was pretty agonizing. For starters, it’s now Chapter Seventeen; I had to chop off its head and make the head Sixteen. The editing work this chapter and its severed head needed had more to do with cutting away superfluous elements and finding balance in the story than resolving any plot holes, though. But at long last, these chapters are complete. I might do a few more tweaks here and there to make Crocus Acadia even more unnerving than she already is, but all the main organs are functioning at least. They could survive if they hatched tomorrow. But they won’t hatch just yet. Maybe during Yuletide.

A couple of the characters I’ll be introducing to the audience at this point in the story had to undergo a few nips and tucks during the overall editing process, most notably Crocus Acadia. In the earlier drafts, she was a character clearly in the antagonistic category, one that was always quick to throw the book at Florys for every perceived transgression against the Lodge. Now she’s more of an Osiris-like entity. Not necessarily a villain. Attentively listening to all sides of an argument with equal impartiality before issuing a judgement upon a mortal soul, but never hesitant to fling you like a booger into the waiting sulfuric maw of a ravenous demon if your beating heart should tip the scales unfavourably against the feather of truth. She also sits upon a throne composed of fire – an idea which didn’t exist in the earlier drafts. Fire doesn’t hurt her. She’s a witch. A learned and experienced witch at that. You don’t get to be Vizier-Queen of any Lodge without being learned and experienced.


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The Journey of SILVER BROWN

Bless Its Pointed Little Head

The metamorphosis of my sixteenth chapter is progressing steadily at this point. I’m finding that the second half has been easier to edit than the first, since large chunks of it have already been written. Some paragraphs just needed to be rewritten to reflect the perspective of a different character, but all the main concepts are there at least.

This chapter didn’t really start pupating until I chopped off its head and made the head a chapter unto itself. I’ve been editing both these chapters simultaneously, and it’s amazing the number of interesting new appendages the head has grown since it separated from the body. The experience definitely brought John Carpenter’s The Thing to mind, which in my not-so-humble opinion ranks right up there with The Godfather and Star Wars as one of those timeless classics of cinematic excellence that every man, woman and child must see at least once before they die…


 

The Journey of SILVER BROWN

Hamilton

I spent some quality time in my old stomping grounds during the Canada Day weekend, revisiting a city that was my hometown for seven years. Seven years spanning a period in my life when I was a big-time lush. But it wasn’t spirituous beverages that brought me to Hamilton this time. All the bars in this city I frequented way back when have long since been demolished by the economic tsunami that hit the planet back in 2008, with the exception of two. One of those two was forced to close its doors because the building itself had been condemned – a turn of events that was completely unrelated to the recession. The city eventually had the property converted to a parking lot; I remember part of me died the day they brought in the bulldozers. The other actually survived that nasty storm and is still in operation to this day, but only because they sold their mortal soul and consented to becoming a miserable shadow of their former self.

Lack of historic watering holes aside, it’s always an interesting experience to return to a city you once inhabited after being away for a number of years, just to see how things have changed. Indeed, Hamilton has changed. A bit. Several businesses have predictably changed hands since I last set foot here. The downtown skyline is a little more manhattanized than it used to be. The new city buses are sleek and sexy as all shit, and handily beat the hell out of those boxy canary-yellow jobs that are presently being phased out. For a split second, I could have sworn they also got rid of the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald that stands on the eastern flank of Gore Park, but that turned out to be little more than a cannabis-induced paranoid reverie.


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In that simpler and quainter period of human history when everybody was fully convinced that Dubya would reign as Worst President Ever until the end of time, glass condo towers like this would have been considered very un-Hamiltonian. But no longer. Shit changes.

Whilst out on Sunday morning reacquainting myself with The Hammer (also nicknamed Steeltown, The Birthplace of Tim Hortons or The Armpit of Canada, that last nickname mostly used by stuck-up latté-sipping types from Toronto who for whatever reason think wheat gluten is a deadlier substance than Agent Orange), I came upon this street sign, and took a picture. This is where my main character’s surname ultimately came from. I guess I can say that publicly without getting sued.


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