Today, I’ve been writing more on a story about Natalie Dahl, salvage team leader, or, as she’ll later be known, a finder like Alandra Kade.
(As a memory refresher, here’s a bit from the introduction of the story “Finder’s Fee,” which is the first Alandra Kade mystery I wrote, explaining what a finder is in this context:
A lot of people, especially Terrans, think that finding uses some kind of psi talent. Don’t believe it. There are people, clairvoyants mostly, who have a talent for locating things, but finding is more… Well, call it a knack for combining diverse knowledge in odd and unexpected ways. […] Often it’s just tracking a specific piece of info, or locating some object the client wants to buy. Myself, I started out as a data-chaser, because there’s nothing like elven memory — while it lasts — for holding trivia, and much of the time I already had what the client wanted. But by ’37, I’d switched to finding real-world stuff.
Natalie’s story is set much earlier than Alandra’s are; it’s even earlier than “that novel.” It has bearing on the novel, though, because Dahl and Sons are the people who find the ruins of a certain place in the Utah wilderness…
So now you may be wondering what any of this has to do with the title of the post.
It goes like this: Natalie is named after someone I’ve never met or even communicated with but who was very helpful to me when I was doing research for my novel. She (the real Natalie) had already located exactly what I was looking for and had shared it on the Internet, the way people sometimes do.
The thing I’d been looking for was screen fiction (movie/television) I remembered from my youth, something that had frightened me badly at the time. And I needed to get in touch with that same fear again, because it inspired some pretty damn important stuff in my novel. I knew that the scary parts wouldn’t be as scary this time around — I was, after all, a quarter of a century older — but still, it would be enough to bring up the relevant memories, and that’s all I really needed.
So far, so good. Except for one thing.
The villain of the story, whom I feared so much as a youngster that I could not, more than a decade later, watch a movie with that same actor playing a good guy, turned out to be a really short dude. Don’t know why I even noticed, but once I did I kept thinking of a Halloween episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the one with the ‘fear demon’… No one had noticed the label on the drawing of the demon that said Shown Actual Size.
Not that I’m saying that the villain from the (deliberately not named) screen fiction found and shared by the original Natalie was in any way not a threat to the protagonist characters in that story, nor that the danger-to-a-character inspired by said villain — important in backstory and current stuff in my novel — isn’t real, or isn’t as bad as it looks, or whatever. (Okay, so it isn’t quite as bad as one of the characters thinks it is in the novel itself. The fact that that character believes otherwise means it matters anyway. In fact, one of the characters believing it’s that bad is really important to the plot.)
I’ve also been working on “that novel” today. That’s what got me thinking about the topic of this post, in fact. So three guesses whose scenes I’ve been writing…