Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inquisition for Blood


"Inquisition for Blood" is the seventh story in the Treasures series. Michael Spence and I wrote it for SWORD & SORCERESS 25 in 2010. The title, as usual, comes from a verse in the Daily Office: "For when he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them, * and forgetteth not the complaint of the poor." (Psalm 9, verse 12; Terce on Wednesdays)

Michael and his wife refered to it as CSI: Albion -- Albion being the extremely fictitious version of England where our stories are set.  I still have some of the e-mails we exchanged while we were writing this.  Excerpts include:

"Cordon rouge" is cute, but can we really assume that our readers all know French? They may be more apt to think it has something to do with food. [rather than being the red cord used to block off a crime scene]

Ramona read the draft and pronounced it "a bad story."

Ramona, as usual, is right. Cool as 'CSI: Albion' is, we need to get rid of most of it; our problem is finding the new Guardian. We also need a better explanation for why the briefcase suddenly turns up -- perhaps it should just remain at the crime scene; there's no good reason for it to be gone. I think we've got a bit too much deus ex machina in this story (the wandering briefcase, the Grail's effect on Belinda, the recoil going through the box the Grail is in -- especially because I believe the workroom is at the top of a tower), so I'll try to take some of it out.

Speaking of recoil, if the force that went through Lady Catherine didn't penetrate the wall, the recoil probably put holes in some of the seating but didn't make it out of the lecture hall (m*a=m*a, remember?). With a handgun, the gun absorbs most of the force because it has a greater mass than the bullet. Depending on relative sizes, a gun will push painfully into the webbing between thumb and index finger (which is why I can't handle a .38; it's too small for me) and/or climb upward. And if Belinda holds a stylus the way I hold a pen; she'd probably put a hole through the right sleeve of her gown. [We got rid of all the ballistics, which was probably a very good thing. For those of you who managed to avoid physics classes, in the equation above "m" is mass, "a" is acceleration, and you're eligible to serve on a jury in cases involving car accidents. Last time I had jury duty, the lawyers refused to take anyone who had studied physics, even if it was just one class in high school.]

I'm not sure whether all the e-mails we sent back and forth were longer than the story finally turned out to be, but it wouldn't surprise me. Collaboration can take a lot of work. Even though Michael and I have known each other since high school and our writing styles mesh well together, there's still a lot to discuss in the process of assembling a story. And we're very lucky to have his wife Ramona to help us.

"Inquisition for Blood" is in the second volume of TREASURES OF ALBION.