Q&A with J. P. Moore discussion

The Progression

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message 1: by Adam (new)

Adam Gurri (adamgurri) | 2 comments One thing that really struck me about Toothless was the way it progressed from book to book. It seemed to go from utter hopelessness to hope in a very smooth progression. Toothless with the invading forces, seeming unstoppable. Lil, seeing the absolute worst of humanity but making her escape with Toothless. And finally, Toothless and the Knights Templar standing up to the evil forces, the first sense that there's any chance of beating them back at all.

Was this progression something you had sketched out from the very beginning? Did it just work this way? I guess I'm just curious about the creative process that went into this particular aspect of it.

message 2: by J.P. (new)

J.P. Moore (jpmoore) | 6 comments Mod
Hi, Adam! Nice to see you here! Thanks for the question!

I'm very much a "discovery" writer, meaning that I don't do a lot of outlining. For Toothless, I had some milestone scenes in mind--the opening, Guillaume's ambush, the ghosts at the stone circle, and the very end. Moving through the plot was kind of like connecting the dots. Things like the power of ale, the ebb and flow of the Yew's energy, and other threads that run throughout grew organically through the writing of the book. Except ...

I needed the whole thing to be about more than just the plot. So much zombie stuff out there is just plot. I knew all along that Toothless would be a redemption tale. Once I nail down something like that, I tend to go to myth for inspiration. The story of Hercules gave me some direction. You wouldn't be able to match them up to one another (in the way that, say, the movie Clueless is a modern retelling of Taming of the Shrew), but you'll find a lot of similarities between Martin's and Hercules' arcs.

I worried about switching to Lil's point of view, but I think it came together well. Lil's been knocking around in my head for a long time, waiting for a story. After completing Chapter 8 of Toothless, I really needed a break from that point of view. Enter Lil. Through her, I was happy to be able to explore another corner of this world but still carry Martin's story forward. Lil's story also brings a lot of complexity to the novel. As you note, the living in Toothless aren't always so ... nice. Maybe they deserve some of the judgement that the Yew is meting out. Working through that with Lil in the middle of the novel allowed me to create a little more sympathy for Martin. Without that, I'm not sure the reader would've been on board with the idea that he deserved some redemption.

Lil, then, unlocks Martin's redemption. I didn't plan that, but recognized pretty quickly in that middle "book" that she plays a necessary role.

The print edition adds a few pages to catch up with Lil in the final third of the novel. When I think of sequels, I think of coming back to her. In the end, the story of this world may turn out to be her story, rather than Martin's.

message 3: by Adam (new)

Adam Gurri (adamgurri) | 2 comments I think it worked out great, and it would be awesome if the story of this world ended up being hers. Thanks for the interesting answer :)

By the way, I sent a copy of Toothless to a friend as a belated "All Hallow's Read" gift.

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