Sunday, 20 May 2012

The scene that shaped the book

All writers I know have different approach on creating a book. Some start with a character, others with an idea of a conflict, others with a social issue. Whatever it is, I think that first seed that grows into an idea and later on into a book is very important and shapes the whole book.
I personally start with a scene. It lodges in my mind and I simply can't get rid of it. I replay it over and over until I know every little detail. That's my seed. All it needs now is some water, sunshine and love to grow.
The scene that grew into Humanless is very strange in a sense that it has three people in a dark London street and in the end it turned into a trilogy based on Greek mythology. Weird doesn't even begin to cover it.
It's my favourite scene in the book because there would be no book without it. So, I'd like to share it with you.

Outside was cold and Ava’s jacket was way too thin for that weather. She shivered and wrapped her arms around her. Typical for central London, the street was busy despite the late hour and she looked around for a cab. Every single one that passed by was busy and Ava was getting more and more cold and desperate to go home. She turned a corner towards a smaller street hoping that cabs there weren’t going to be snatched from under her nose by drunk city boys.
“Hey, you need a ride?” asked a male voice next to her. She turned around and saw a middle-aged guy in an expensive suit leering at her. It looked like he had had too many drinks and it crept her out the way he stared at her with hungry eyes.
“No, thanks,” she said as neutrally as possible and turned away.
“You sure?” he said in her ear and she felt nauseated by his breath.
“Pretty sure,” she said and started walking away. He grabbed her arm and pulled her towards him.
“Get in the car and I’ll take you on the ride of your life,” he said and Ava felt his hot, sticky breath on her neck. She hit him in the stomach with her elbow and turned around to face him. He was holding his stomach in pain, his red face puffing and his eyes predatory. “You bitch!” he said through gritted teeth and moved towards her. Suddenly Ava was overcome by hate and disgust for that man who had probably done this before to God knows how many women. And who would probably do it again. She was aware that if she kicked him with her five-inch heel she’d certainly rapture an internal organ.  Which may lead to his death. Was that so bad? Would she be saving the world from an abusive monster or depriving a child of its father?
Her thoughts took no longer than a second but to her it felt like everything was moving in slow motion. Out of nowhere, the man was pushed and pinned to the wall of a nearby shop. Ava saw Blake holding him by the throat a few inches off the ground, the man’s face getting even redder than it was. He tried to scream but Blake’s grip was too tight and all that came out of his mouth was a choking sound. He tried to kick and push away his hand but Blake didn’t budge.
“Blake, please, let him go!” Ava ran towards them realizing that he was going to kill him any moment now.
“Why?” he asked without taking his eyes off the man’s face. “He was probably going to rape and kill you himself.”
“But he didn’t. I can defend myself.”
“What about all those other women who can’t?” Blake was saying aloud exactly what Ava was thinking. She didn’t feel any pity or concern for the man, but knew in her heart that if he died that night because of her she wouldn’t be able to accept it.
“Let him go!” she screamed and pushed Blake with all the strength she could muster. That seemed to have shaken him out of his rage and he loosened his grip although not completely letting go. The man took a few sharp intakes of breath and his normal colour began to reappear. For the first time Blake looked directly at Ava and she noticed that his eyes had changed to a very pale blue, not his usual dark navy. She noticed that he seemed confused and for a moment he looked at her with a tenderness she had never noticed before.
“He’s not worth it,” she said softly and touched his arm. Blake turned his attention to the man who was watching them with unbearable horror in his eyes. He didn’t look drunk any more.
“If you even think about hurting anybody else ever again remember this moment. Remember that I spared your life. And don’t make me regret it,” said Blake and threw the man to the ground in disgust. He immediately stood up and ran. Blake turned around to face Ava who had wrapped her arms around herself and was shivering uncontrollably, more from shock than cold. He took off his jacket, draped it over her shoulders and, on an impulse, pulled her towards him and hugged her. She rested her head right under his shoulder and willed herself to stop shivering.
“Did I scare you?” he asked.
“No,” she replied. “I knew you were a show-off already.” He felt her smiling against his skin. He smiled too.
“Nothing good ever comes from running away from me,” Blake said, referring to her storming out of the restaurant. Ava smiled again and felt her whole body relax against his. Sensing that, his arms tightened around her and she could hear his heartbeat quicken. “Come on, let’s get you home safely,” he said and she reluctantly separated herself from him.

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