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Bone Shop is a free, serialized online novella by T.A. Pratt, supported by donations from readers. Pay whatever you like.

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Notes for Chapter Ten

An extra-long chapter this time, about 4,000 words (as opposed to the usual 3,000 or so), but I have an outline for the final chapters, by the gods, and I'm trying to stick to it. I may finish it in 17 or 18 chapters, total.

This was a difficult chapter, because I needed a lot of time to pass. I've always admired the elegance of Virginia Woolf's novel To the Lighthouse, with its middle section titled "Time Passes," in which ten eventful years are covered in a scant twenty pages of highly-compressed prose.

My technique, alas, is not the equal of Woolf's. Still, I enjoyed writing the brief section that begins "The next two years passed with relatively few disasters." (I hope that suggests there are disasters to come; because there are.)

Lao Tsung is off to San Francisco, and readers of the novels know that Marla never sees him again alive; she goes off to find the Cornerstone for her own reasons in Blood Engines and finds Lao Tsung dead. Her desire to avenge him – not because of any geas, but just because he was a friend of hers – drives much of the action in that book.

I considered having another few scenes of Artie taking Marla and Daniel to the Blackwing Institute, to look in on Norma Nilson and Elsie Jarrow in person, but it would have added another 1500 words or so, without achieving much more than I did by having Artie describe them. It would have been more dynamic, and it would've been nice to see Leda Husch, but this chapter was getting overlong anyway... and I wanted to get to the cloak.

Ah, the cloak. Finally, it appears. And it's about to change Marla's life in extraordinary ways.

I love the cloak. The cloak was supposed to be the villain of the fifth Marla novel – and I was kind of foreshadowing that throughout the whole series – but back when Marla first got it, she was still blinded by its potential for power. A potential that will be unleashed in the next chapter, when she meets Rondeau for the first time.

Back to Chapter 10

T.A. Pratt lives in Oakland, CA, and works as an editor for a trade publishing magazine.