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Friday, July 20, 2012

Buccaneer Blogfest: The Soap Opera Behind #Fade

Banner by Cody Underwood

If you write, you probably know how easy it is to get stuck on a scene, a plot point, or an idea. You're probably also intimately familiar with the "aha!" moment where the switch flips and you figure out where to go or what to write next.

For me, that moment came after I'd already written the first draft of Fade, and it changed the story completely. Which worked out well, actually. In the original draft, the reasons behind Ari's connection to Dace were a lot different than they are now. As a result, the story felt completely off to me, so I sat the manuscript aside for a long time.

While reading through the Rokkr myths one day, I was struck by how connected the major players in mythology often are to one another. For instance, Loki is Odin's brother and Balder's uncle. Fenrir is Loki and Angrboda's son. And Hati and Skoll are the sons of Fenrir and Angrboda (gross, I know). Loki eventually tricks Balder's brother into killing Balder and is bound in a cave and tormented for eterniy. And Fenrir is destined to kill Odin (who had him chained to a rock in the bowels of the earth) before Vidar (Odin's son) eventually tears him apart.

In other words, mythology is the ultimate soap opera. Fenrir is making mutant babies with his mama while his daddy plots ways to get one of his nephews to murder the other and his uncle plots ways to chain him to a rock for eternity. Didn't you see that episode of Passions?!

Betrayal, sex, and supernatural stuff

Norse mythology is exactly like that. Everyone is connected in some way, everyone betrays someone somehow, and if you have a knife in your back, you'd better look to your family first because, chances are, one of them put it there.

Despite this, there are these important people in the lives of the gods and demigods that we don't know much about. So, where the heck are they when all of this killing and betrayal is going on? Given how everyone is connected, it's hard to believe they don't have their own roles to play, or aren't involved somehow. I mean, I saw that episode of Passions, too, and everyone gets sucked into the drama somehow!

Once I started considering that side of things, the switch flipped. I picked up Fade again, and started rewriting entire plot points. Ari and Dace's connection to one another and to the bigger picture solidified, and so did the rest of the story. So, in a way, the entire series happened because of a bad soap opera I used to watch religiously with one of my favorite patients.

Weird, but true.



  1. Interesting idea on Norse Mythology. I used Thor in my novel "Hell to Pay" and asked the question, would a Norse god betray his people to save the Earth.

  2. Couldn't locate a "like" button, so I'll just tell you here: This post had me heartily entertained. X)
    And I find it funny (amusing and curious, both) that both you and I have such soapy manuscripts on our hands. Mind you, I've never actually watched soap operas; I've just seemed to have the knack from childhood for complicated connections and high drama.


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