Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Episode 2: Arcane Aprons

When Andrew thought about who Lara had been when she'd first started working for him last winter, he had to smile. Her transformation had been no less miraculous than the presence of the giant ash tree which spread its boughs out over the interior of Magik Beans. She was still the goth poster girl, to be sure; jet black hair, blood red lips, and skin so alabaster you'd guess she wore sunblock at night. She still wore the knee high boots that laced all the way up with thigh-high fishnet stockings underneath a black PVC skirt trimmed with black and white lace, complete with what she had confirmed were D-rings, which she hung her key ring from. She'd designed the "Magik Beans" aprons to go with her wardrobe; today she was wearing the black one over a pink top with mesh sleeves. At least she pulled her hair into a ponytail. And he liked the aprons, right down to the five pointed star within a perfect circle on each of them.

"You know I'm a Christian by background," he told her when she'd shown him the design.

"They're protective wards," she replied. "I'm stitching protective spells into our workwear so we won't have a repeat of that incident with the banshee."

"I wasn't the one who forgot to make that latte half fat," Andrew chided with a grin. He realized he was sticking a finger in his ear in memory of how they'd all lost their hearing for a good week. He took the finger out of his ear and rotated his hand indicating for Lara to continue.

"Besides," Lara went on, "one of the earliest historical occurrences of the pentangle is in the Christian catacombs. They used it to indicate the five wounds of Christ."

"And Sir Gawain had one on his shield," John said from across the room where he was smoking his pipe. John was one of three mysterious men who the Tree had commissioned to educate Andrew in his work as a guardian of the Tree. They were exceedingly piecemeal in this education, and Andrew was forever wishing they'd offer a course on the subject at the University.

"Careful what you wish for," Jack, another of the three men while Charles laughed into his tea. They'd said no more on the subject, save that he ought to be thankful they were his teachers, "not some crackpot like that madman Dali," as John had put it.

He was thankful for their teaching. And for Lara's protective magic. Not only did the aprons protect them from magic, but they acted as a warning beacon for dark magic. The aprons turned cold when in the proximity of evil. The week before they'd been prepared for an attack on the Tree, only to discover that their aprons turned cold every time Nickelback came on over the P.A.

No, it wasn't Lara's look, nor her taste in music that had changed. It was the way her smile reached her eyes.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Redux List

Well, I'm back. As you can see, I've had good reason to be away. Her name is Dacy Mae Perschon, and she was born on Ash Wednesday; February 6, 2008 at 11:07 a.m. Being as she was born on Ash Wednesday, my wife Jenica and I have joked that we're giving up sleep for Lent.

A few weeks have gone by and life is finding a rhythm where I have moments (like this one) to turn my attention to Magik Beans. This isn't to say it hasn't been on my mind a great deal. I sat in my wife's hospital room the day after Dacy was born, dreaming up new possibilities for the story, but found more often than not that my mind kept returning to some of the inconsistencies from Book 1 that need cleaning up as I dive into book 2.

Hence this post. This is the Redux List. If you click on the title ("The Redux List") at the top of this post and bookmark it, you can come back from time to time to get updates on the alterations I'll be making to Book 1. I thought it best to keep the list all in one place rather than scattering it all over the flog (that's "fiction blog" for anyone who didn't know).

The list is already more or less comprehensive, but links to the changed pages will only appear as I make the changes, which will happen over the year as I work through the editorial process and write episodes for Book 2.

Redux List:
  1. The Tree first appears without foliage (after all, it IS winter).
  2. Andrew visits Ripper to ask about damage to the comic shop.
  3. Blackout and Ripper come up with the idea to have a benefit concert to save the coffee shop.
  4. At the concert, the music causes the Tree to bloom and grow foliage (setting up the idea of music which is a major theme of book 2).
  5. The fund-raising concert makes enough money to keep the shop from going under (barely).
  6. The Three Fates explain the Tree's growth to Lara, which sheds light on their concert going habit
  7. When Lara, Blackout, and crew enter the Tree to rescue Andrew, Ripper brings his bagpipes instead of the tool belt. He explains that bagpipes were used in battle to frighten the enemy.
  8. In order to focus her healing powers, Lara uses music to block outside noise (her Ipod).
  9. It is Courtney and Silke who go to the front of the train on the approach to the North Pole, not Courtney and Lara. Blackout goes because Granny explains they will need the pyrotechnics, as her magic is not destructive, but protective and healing.
  10. When the Leprechauns attack the train and Sunny is wounded, Ripper reacts in the only way he knows; music. He steps from the Train boldly and stands before the oncoming tide of Leprechauns. He begins to play a melancholy Irish lament, which stops the army in its tracks. Overwhelmed by the power of the music and their own shame rising from nostalgic memories of home, the Leprechaun army reject Finn's plan and give themselves up.
  11. The damage Finn begins with the power of Spring starts a chain reaction of destruction; the ice continues to break, crack and explode, placing Jouloutorni, the city of Christmas in peril. Andrew's "kether moment" (to borrow Philosopher One's idea) which links him to the Tree permits him to halt this destruction by harnessing elemental power. Lara and Andrew together are able to heal the damage to the Pole and avert its destruction.

This set of changes feels most satisfactory to me, and allowed me to start thinking seriously about the second book without constantly thinking, "but that didn't happen in the first book." I had also felt that the wanton slaughter of the Leprechaun army was wrong from the moment I had written it, but was trying to keep my promise to myself to finish a "first draft" of Book 1 last year.

We can all consider the original draft to have occurred on a different branch of the Tree. And with all that set aside, tomorrow will see the second installment of Book 2.