MERC vs. BOOK: Revising A Novel, Part 7–Gaming the Process (part 2)

This is the second installment of a two-parter blog post about process, craft, and Merc spending way too much time in Illustrator! You can read Part One here.

Part 0 | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7.1 | Part 7.2 (you are here) | Part 8


Where were we?

I wrote awhile back that I needed to pause in drafting Winterblade’s POV in order to write a scene where he and Bane meet. I wanted to break that down and illustrate it as an example of how I visualize things akin to comics or video games.

Part One, long ago but not forgotten

So, uh. I FINALLY GOT TO WORKING ON THAT. Behold, my craft skills as I use drawing models and felt (and some props) for illustration purposes.

The Collars We Wear (left to right: Winterblade, Bane, Rajosja)

Or, as I said on twitter:



So. Visualization.

The scene where Winterblade meets Bane is pivotal to the entire plot. It’s basically attraction at first sight, in which they both fall hard for each other (in a non-romantic sense) and the plot functions because of the characters’ actions. If they never meet? None of the novel would exist, because nothing would go wrong, and the world would not be in danger.

print out of the scene with highlighted sections

When I was writing this scene, I first had to decide in which order the POVs (point of views) should operate. I needed both Bane and Winterblade’s reactions and attractions loud and clear on the page, and because this novel has three alternating POVs, I also wanted to balance out this key scene from each character’s perspective.

It technically begins with Winterblade, who is chained up in a glass cage in the magical university’s library. (He is, unsurprisingly, perfectly okay with this arrangement.) The end of chapter two has him see Bane for the first time, when Bane comes to investigate.


The third chapter begins in Bane’s POV, with a slight time overlap so we can see his first impression of Winterblade as well.

entranced at first look

When I visualized this, the scene took shape in a lot of medium shots, close-ups, reverse over the shoulder(s), and some Dutch angled shots to suggest how much Bane’s world is being upset.


OTS (over the shoulder) is a nifty way to show two (or sometimes more) people talking, by reversing the camera so it focuses on Subject 1 from over Subject 2’s shoulder (roughly speaking), and then reversed (viewing Subject 2 from over Subject 1’s shoulder).

In writing, I end up alternating description and internal commentary–if Character A has dialogue and an action, a “reverse shot” might be Character B reacting to that or doing something of their own.

It depends entirely on the scene and what I need to accomplish, but when I think about framing and blocking in terms of shots, it helps me balance out how it “looks” in my head. That way it’s not one long stream of Character A doing a bunch of stuff, then sudden switch to Character B and recapping everything to catch up to the timeline. Balancing them (switching shots) makes a scene flow smoother, and can also tighten up pacing. (I don’t want to completely repeat everything I just wrote from a different POV, unless–such as in the first face-to-face meeting–it is essential to the story. It’s always a judgement call, because each story is different, and each scene needs different things. No one says this is easy.)

So anyway, the scene continues where they talk and test each other, and eventually Bane decides to break Winterblade out of jail and they go on the run!

Well, until they get caught and all hell breaks loose (aka THE PLOT).

[Fun fact! I have a xenomorph ring that I used as a prop for Bane’s collar. Adds all kinds of…interesting subtext to the photo set…]

And then Inspector Rajosja gets involved for real and she’s pissed.


She really does not approve of these shenanigans.


And now I must be perfectly honest with you, dear readers: I have no fricking clue what else I intended to talk about when I left all this hanging in Part One. >.> Guess that will happen on a five month unintentional hiatus…

I do hope you enjoyed the illustrations, though! 😀 It was a fun excuse to pull out my crafting supplies.


COMING UP: Probably something about playlists and music, as well as finding momentum after *cough* falling into a black hole.

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