J. F. Lewis
Eventually, we will get around to the final Little Green Note on my wall, and then I will have shared all my writing secrets and you will shine like in the movie The Last Dragon. You’ll have “the Glow” and will be able to beat Sho’nuff, the Shogun of Harlem, in a disco club-themed kung-fu battle and… Okay, maybe not, but you will know what the post-it notes I stuck on my wall say… So… How about right now? 😉
Get a Better Feel for Marilyn
In the context of the Void City books, what this really amounts to is making sure readers get a feel for a very important background character. She isn’t a huge mover and shaker in the first book, but understanding this octogenarian bar tender, a human, who isn’t afraid to slap Void City’s resident vampiric top dog right in the face or laugh at him, or correct him, or even order him about, is a key to understanding things about said vampiric top dog.
I’ll admit it’s one of the quirkier things about the series… the idea that the main character’s relationships with women will all fail because he’s still in love with the same woman he loved when he was alive, but she’s now in her eighties and will have nothing, romantically to do with him. A lot of it had to be packed into STAKED., too, because SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT, I killed her at the end of the first book.
She had to die partially because it’s fun to ruin Eric’s day, but also because I wanted readers to see that even without Marilyn’s presence, Eric still loved her and was incapable of truly loving anyone else romantically. In those moments, and in others, we get to see Eric as what he is on the inside, an eighty year old man, who has lead a long life and is basically, pretty tired. Not world weary, because that tends to annoy the crap out of me, but set in his ways, with the world changing around him everyday as he tries to keep up with the times.
And I suppose that’s what that note is really about. Think of some of the most memorable characters in movies you’ve watched and books you’ve read. I’ll bet some of them weren’t actually in the book all that long, but you got such a good feel for them, that didn’t matter. If, when Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru died in Star Wars: A New Hope, we’d never seen them on screen or hadn’t gotten a chance to observe Luke’s relationship with them, then their deaths would have seemed empty. In STAKED, my equivalent scene for Marilyn came from a request in my revisions letter.
It’s a scene between Tabitha, the newest of Eric’s girlfriends, and Marilyn, the love of Eric’s life. Some people don’t like the scene because they don’t like Tabtiha’s reaction to what is going on. They want her to be a better person than she is, but the scene isn’t really about her. It exists as a brief window into one the main character’s key relationships, and therefore, into the main character himself, to reveal things a guy like Eric is unlikely to ever reveal about himself.