This is one of my favorite chapters. The emotion and action and descriptions all work for me really well. When I wrote this chapter I had been struggling for a long time to get the motivation to finish writing the book. Finally I decided to just write what felt right and see where it took me. This chapter is what I wrote, which was somewhat distressing at the time. It didn’t really fit with anything I had written before. Previously Smith was not a very strong character. She kind of just went with what was happening. I almost deleted the entire chapter several times before I decided to take the longer road and rewrite Smith as a character.
Upon changing her scenes I discovered that she needed to be rewritten for multiple reasons. She had several scenes agonizing about killing or wounding people who looked like they were human (the Elements). This was too much of a repeat of William’s struggles. I couldn’t have two characters that struggle with violence, even though it is a theme of the book. I realized that Smith is not the kind of person to think about it much. I think she is much more interesting now and actually drives a great deal of the plot. She also goes through the strongest character arc.
In order to put Smith in the worst situation possible I had to come up with a way to cause her worst fears to come true. The problem was that I didn’t want her to know what those fears were until they happened. In other words, I wanted it to be surprising. It’s kind of cliché to have a characters say, “I can’t imagine having X happen,” and then of course X happens. So I tried to make the ending of this chapter both surprising and inevitable. Let me know if I succeeded.