Good afternoon. Gigi the parti poodle here once again introducing my novelist’s weekly blog post. The wonderful thing about social distancing is getting to spend more time with my writer. I have been thoroughly enjoying our (luckily) sunny afternoons outside where she reads, and I roam about. As my novelist is an introvert and I dare say a hermit I am even more lavished with her time lately. No pesky virtual happy hours for her let me tell you. Just lots of lap time and attention. This week my novelist is wrapping up her Anatomy of a Chapter for Chicane. In addition to her ongoing writing blog she will continue her Stream of the Week feature through the social distancing period.
Last week I left off where Shayla asked the boys, “Who is Mitch?” and she doesn’t receive an answer. Instead Bard uses alcohol as a diversion and says, “Let’s get you ladies a drink.” The boys are essentially trying to get the women to settle in, drink a little more alcohol and relax before they all pair up and head off to the bedrooms.
Not long into the scene Cody and Shayla are left alone. Shayla again asks Cody to show her his “trophies” which is her attempt at a sexual inuendo. Cody chugs his beer and leads her into the game room. The first thing she notices when they arrive is the arcade game Night Driver. This of course is not accident. I chose this game not just because Cody is a race car driver but because it provides a strong foreshadowing. At the time I wrote the book Gerald J. Buchko indeed held the world record for Night Driver. It was not just a cool name I picked at random.
Shayla inquiries about the trophies in the case. To show the deterioration of Cody’s interest in racing, I have him keep his marijuana in one of the trophy’s cups. She asks him as they are rolling joints “Which is the biggest trophy you’ve ever won?” To which Cody replies, “The silver one.” The case has several silver trophies in it. Cody doesn’t specify which one. This is Cody’s way of saying to her to take your pick because none of them matter anymore. In Cody’s backstory they would have been quite valuable. But because of what’s locked in the room upstairs they have diminished in value.
Shayla punctuates this point by following up her “Who’s Mitch?” question with “You never said why you quit racing.” Again, her inquiry is ignored. Much like Bard used alcohol Cody uses seduction to prevent her from opening Pandora’s Box. But in truth her question is profound and important. Why did Cody quit racing? Why does he have piles of boxes sealed up in Mitch’s room? Why is he selling his cabin?
I like to use the names of products to convey to the reader the social status of characters. Cody’s pool table is an Olhausen and he’s wearing a red Moncler shirt. Shayla is wearing L’Agent Provocateur underwear and a Narcisco Rodriguez dress. Again, these are expensive items which let the reader know these are wealthy, educated people with taste. They are also cold and detached.
Your next question is probably why the explicit sex scene and how come it is so early in the story? The reason the sex scene is in the game room with all of Cody’s trophies is because Shayla herself is a trophy. Essentially, Cody isn’t distinguishing women from inanimate objects. The sex scene even takes place on the pool table. Shayla is lying on her back while Cody plays her like a game. Bedding her is the same to him as winning a race. She’s just another trophy to add to his collection. Therefore, this is not a love scene. It’s meant to be a scene of debauchery as detached as the two characters engaging in it and as cold as the snowy frozen world around them. My goal here was to make their fornication (hopefully) both titillating and repulsive to the reader.
That wraps up my anatomy of my novel’s first chapter. While your waiting for next week’s blog check out my book Chicane on Amazon.
STREAM OF THE WEEK: DOUBLE FEATURE DELIGHT: TRAIN TO BUSAN & SNOWPIERCER– Netflix
If you stream no other film this week make sure you see Train to Busan on Netflix. One of the most taunt, tense edge of your seat thrillers in recent years, Train to Busan is nail biting to the very last extraordinary shot. Many films fail to stick their dismounts but this one scores a perfect ten. Not just another zombie movie Yeon Sang-ho’s first live action film is fantastically played out in the claustrophobic confines of a modern-day bullet train. It’s the story of a little girl who lives with her father and on her birthday wants nothing else than to go visit her mother in Busan. Deeper and more profound than most horror movies and reminiscent of Hitchcock, the movie’s premise “love thy neighbor as thyself” is pivotal at every turn of the track.
You can watch it as a double feature with the original 2014 Snowpiercer another dazzlingly executed train movie from Oscar winner Bong Joon Ho also streaming on Netflix. Snowpiercer is a science fiction piece about the world being so damaged by global warming everyone must remain on a train called Snowpiercer. How much money you paid to ride said train determines which car you get to reside in. And let me tell you, you get what you pay for. Chris Evans is a tour de force as Curtis who rebelliously uncovers the ugly secrets of coach vs business class while tenaciously working his way up to the motor unit.