POSITIONAL PLAY: BOOK FOUR

Positional Play:  Play dominated by long-term maneuvering not short-term attacks and threats. It needs judgement more than calculation. The term is contrasted with tactics.

Adversity builds character.  Positional Play, fourth in the Metatron’s Army series, builds on the momentum of the previous books where experiences – good and bad – provide the foundation for Cirhce’s journey if not her identity.   In electing to pace the series so that readers get to see what goes into the making of a Commander I needed to choose my tools wisely.  To that end I decided to use education and life experience as the primary methods by which she gains the knowledge and skills she needs, though the giving of information is also a method; one that required careful planning.

In this chapter we see Cirhce is beginning to feel powerful and capable.  

“You’re being awfully cooperative,” the Energy Seer remarked as he handed her a boarding pass.

“I’m humoring you,” she replied flatly.

However, due to lack of confidence, she continues looking for validation not from within but from those around her.

Another Piece Of The Puzzle.  Though information is gained through education – the classes she takes at the academy – it is often provided by supporting characters.

The Light Beings in particular.

I needed to consider the way by which the information would be imparted.  If a character simply gave it away they would be cheating Cirhce of the benefits associated with figuring it out for herself.  This was of particular concern since she needs to draw her own conclusions not simply adopt those of whomever was passing the information along.

Their experiences are different which means their perspective if not their motivations are different.

Were they to tell her how to feel about the information, what to do with it, they would deprive her of an opportunity for growth.  

I needed to concern myself with the pace at which the information was provided.  

As Alexander likes to say, All in Good Time.

While some lessons could be learned simultaneously, it was imperative I drive the pacing so lessons were learned sequentially, building one upon another.  This provides a better opportunity for Cirhce to truly absorb the information in order to integrate it more completely.

Critical for building reasoning skills.

There was also the consideration that those imparting the information, while ostensibly working together, are also working independently, motivated by individual motives and goals.

Motives and goals driven by emotion, passion.

 For the Reader.  I wanted readers to experience the worlds Christine (nee Cirhce) visits through her eyes. 

Though the geology was similar to what she would have seen in the American Southwest, the rock color was different.  In addition to reds, greens, and yellows that represented iron, copper, and other minerals, there were blues interspersed with black.  She guessed whatever minerals were in the Solan soils were very hard, with low flash points.

I delve into what it means to be an energy being symbiotically connected to other energy beings as well as environments that intrinsically give off and absorb energy.  I highlight the unique nature of Christine’s relationship with the beings tasked with protecting her.

Ever since the rescue, members of the Inner Sphere had been experiencing more fluctuations than what was normal or, acceptable.  That the most violent fluctuations happened in her presence was no coincidence.  They were harmonizing to her as she was to them. 

I use various plot devices to draw the reader into the world of Dynamic.  One of my favorites is the nondescript door.

  • Stepping off the elevator, third year cadet Christine Baker walked toward a nondescript door and wondered, briefly, why there were no nameplates on any of the offices.  
  • Paper in hand, third year Cadet Chestin Coust stepped forward and knocked on the nondescript door.
  • Alexander gave a quick knock before opening the nondescript door.  
  • Corus rapped his knuckles against the nondescript door.

I worked to have a connection between reader and character.

Readers have information she may not and yet…

“Things are not always what they seem, Princess.”

That was the truth.  The deeper she got into the morass, the more manipulated she felt.  She shrugged.  “I’ve been going along with it because I had nothing better to do but I’ll admit, I’m losing patience with the whole All in good time mantra.”

Humor takes the stage throughout the book.

Particularly dry humor.

“Remember what I told you, Princess.”

“I said get out of my head, Alexander!”

That message was accompanied by a gesture.

“Vulgarity does not become you.”

“You haven’t begun to see vulgarity.  Get – out – of – my – head!”

I give readers a glimpse into Cirhce’s unique struggles.

“And they also couldn’t be bothered, apparently, to tell you that I was completely unaware of this until a few months before starting at the Academy.”

“No, they didn’t tell me that either.”

“We felt the less he knew, the safer he was,” Alexander explained.

Christine sighed.  The pest in her mind was giving a whole new meaning to romantic triangle.

“If you only knew.”

Her mouth dropped open.  A joke?  Alexander?!  The worlds would spin backward next.  She took a sip of water, made an effort not to choke on it.  “I’m sure they had their reasons,” she managed.

For the excerpt, I selected a passage I believe exemplifies this stage of Cirhce’s transition as described above.

Excerpt.

“By returning to the very place you were attacked you are providing important clues about who you are.”

“A fool?”

“Do not say that about yourself!”

She frowned at his back.  “Can you let go of my hand?”

“Will you follow?”

“Maybe.”

He stopped, turned to face her.

“You need to understand something, Verix.  I’m in charge of me, not you.  By allowing you to think you are, I’m humoring you.  Never forget,” she said, folding her arms over her chest when he let go of her, “I have the final say.”  Unless he was capable of mind control, which she doubted.  Even then, something told her he wouldn’t push her if she truly refused to go along.  Or, maybe he would.  Look where they were.

“Why would I harm you?”

“Maybe the better question is, why would you help me?”

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