Two chapters to go in Replacements, and it’s surprising how easy it’s been to reach this point. It’s helped a lot that the last couple of chapters have been very easy to edit, with only the need to change a few things, and adding a phrase here and there. It’s easy to see that when I wrote this on the first pass, I knew what I wanted to say in these later chapters than I did in the first.
But then I had a better idea of where I wanted the story to go by the time I’d finished the first couple of chapters. It only makes sense that when I reached then last three chapters, I didn’t have to think about what I was going to write–I only needed it written.
In working this last chapter tonight, I realize that I should do something to the story. There’s an event that happens at the end, and it takes place in something five paragraphs. Which makes me wonder: can a truly horrible event be summed up in under a hundred words?
The event that happens, while needed, is not that important that if you never saw it happen, the omission would ruin everything. If anything, the short scene–the whole chapter is about fourteen hundred words–shows how the person who’s become Olivia will do just about anything to get her way, and while she may feel sorry about what she did, that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t do it again.
In a way, the character who is Olivia is something of a psycho. She’s kicking ass and burning bridges left and right, and what pisses her off is not the possibility that one may have picked up something strange about her–it’s that she’s enjoying her new role as department head and secret mistress, and woe be to anyone who steps on the toes of her Ferragamos.
I may have given it some thought in the past, but Olivia is probably one of the most screwed up characters I’ve ever done. She’s not crazy in a Hannibal Lecter way, but once she figures out that she can do pretty much as he pleases, she talks about screwed people up as calmly as she would discuss what sort of polish to use for her pedicure.
When I used to run my World of Darkness Vampire game, there was one character who used to put in an appearance in just about everyone’s game, because when it came to the World of the Undead in Chicago, she was right at the top of the heap of room-temperature bodies.
She was old, powerful, and sometimes referred to as the person who was the historical Helen of Troy. Since she was so old and powerful, people liked to play her in a very over the top manner, with a lot of histrionics, and beating of breasts. She was this Amazonian vampire Wonder Woman who no one in their mind would ever cross, because she would hold out your maybe-beating heart for you to see if she was of that mood.
Naturally, I had her show up for a few secessions. When the players meet her, what do they get? A very short woman, about five foot without heels, somewhat dark, olive tone skin, black hair, dark eyes, and a physique that might lead you to believe she could lift her body weight–if she were lucky.
This was the same character, the old vampire killer to end all killers. And she looked like you wouldn’t notice her twice if you ran into her at a local Micky-Ds.
I was questioned about why she looked the way she did. I was able to justify her appearance on that fact that if she really were from Greece, circa 1,000 BCE, then the whole idea of having a six foot tall plus woman running about the city was ludicrous. Skin tone, hair, eyes–pretty much the standard for the area. If she’d been a real lady before turning bloodsucker, then manual labor was totally out of the question, and she probably wouldn’t have had a lot of toning or muscular definition.
But when she–well, I, since I was playing here–spoke, she was calm, has great manners never once raised her voice or threw a tantrum. I was ready for that, too. ”If you’re a poseur badass,” I explained, “you have to constantly show everyone so they don’t forever. If you’re a true badass, though . . . you never have to show anyone what you can do. They just know.”
And . . . they’re never bothered if they have to kill everyone in a room if they don’t get the first lesson. You should have known, you dumb shits, that you don’t mess with Death in High Heels . . .
That’s the way Olivia is shaping up. Killing people is just a thing, and if it’s gonna be done, then get it done. She’s turning into a sweet badass without having to tip her hand to everyone.
She’s pretty sweet. I should write more like her.