Fiction Writing Made Easy

#101: First Chapter Analysis: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

July 25, 2023 Savannah Gilbo Episode 101
#101: First Chapter Analysis: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Fiction Writing Made Easy
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Fiction Writing Made Easy
#101: First Chapter Analysis: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Jul 25, 2023 Episode 101
Savannah Gilbo

In today’s episode, Abigail K. Perry and I take a deep dive into the first chapter of Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. Here’s a preview of what we talk about:

[05:38] A very quick summary of the first chapter

[13:37] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings


[43:08] A micro analysis of the scene within the chapter using the "5 Commandments of Storytelling" from The Story Grid


[52:50] Final thoughts and episode recap

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"I love the Fiction Writing Made Easy podcast!" ← If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing this show! Your rating and review will help other writers find this podcast, and they're also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here, scroll all the way to the bottom, tap five stars to rate the show, and then select "Write a Review." Be sure to let me know what your favorite part of the episode was, too! 


Also, if you haven't done so already, make sure you're following the podcast! I'll be adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed, and if you're not following the show, there's a good chance you'll miss them. Click here to follow now!


Links mentioned in this episode:

FREE TRAINING: 5 Secrets to Help You Start and Finish Your Novel. Register here for instant access to the free video training!

👋 Interested in becoming a book coach? Click here to learn more about Author Accelerator's Book Coach Certification Program!

👉 Looking for a transcript? If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, scroll down below the episode player until you see the transcript.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In today’s episode, Abigail K. Perry and I take a deep dive into the first chapter of Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. Here’s a preview of what we talk about:

[05:38] A very quick summary of the first chapter

[13:37] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings


[43:08] A micro analysis of the scene within the chapter using the "5 Commandments of Storytelling" from The Story Grid


[52:50] Final thoughts and episode recap

Rate + Review + Follow on Apple Podcasts


"I love the Fiction Writing Made Easy podcast!" ← If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing this show! Your rating and review will help other writers find this podcast, and they're also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here, scroll all the way to the bottom, tap five stars to rate the show, and then select "Write a Review." Be sure to let me know what your favorite part of the episode was, too! 


Also, if you haven't done so already, make sure you're following the podcast! I'll be adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed, and if you're not following the show, there's a good chance you'll miss them. Click here to follow now!


Links mentioned in this episode:

FREE TRAINING: 5 Secrets to Help You Start and Finish Your Novel. Register here for instant access to the free video training!

👋 Interested in becoming a book coach? Click here to learn more about Author Accelerator's Book Coach Certification Program!

👉 Looking for a transcript? If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, scroll down below the episode player until you see the transcript.

Speaker 1:

We talked about the word attitude because it's not what most people would assume. It's just don't let them be neutral, so let them have their biases, their you know, part of the reason why I think the voice works so well here is because Marcellus notices different things, pays attention to different things, and toba is, you know, the one talking about her back popping and things that only tova would say or think about. Welcome to the fiction writing made easy podcast. My name is Savannah Gelbo, and I'm here to help you write a story that works. I wanna prove to you that writing a novel doesn't have to be overwhelming. So each week, I'll bring you a brand new episode with simple, actionable, and step by step strategies that you can implement in your writing right away. Whether you're brand new to writing or more of a seasoned author looking to improve your craft, this podcast is for you. So pick up a pen and let's get started. In today's episode we're diving deep into the opening pages of remarkably bright creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. And I'm so excited to share this episode sewed with you today because we're doing things a little different with our analysis this time. We're still gonna look at the first chapter to see how and why it works. So we want to find out how does it hook our attention and pull us into the story. And we're also going to talk about how it gives us a glimpse at the big picture of the story too. But this time, I'm coming to the analysis from not having read the entire book, so I only read the first chapter, and Abigail has read the entire book. So we thought it would be kind of fun to see how our analysis may or may not change. If we came to the conversation with different amounts context about the overall story. And speaking of Abigail, if you've been listening to this podcast for a while, you know who Abigail is, but just in case you're brand new, Abigail, Hey Perry, is a developmental editor, a book coach, and the host of an amazing podcast called Litmatch, where she helps riders find the best literary agent for their writing and publishing careers. I'm going to link to Abigail's podcast in the show notes well as where you can find her around the Internet if you would like to get in touch with her. Okay. So that's a very quick overview of what we're going to dig into today and you're going to hear more explanation of the tools we're using to do this analysis once we get into the episode. So with all of that being said, let's go ahead and dive right into the conversation.

Speaker 2:

I'm super excited because we love doing analysis together and now we're going into upmarket Terre which is something that I love. And this is a book that I picked and that I've read, but you haven't read. And I've done this with a couple of writers and authors in other book coaches now on how to analyze when someone has read the full book versus when someone hasn't read the book, and it's come out with some really cool accusations and analysis tips. So I'm really excited to do this with you.

Speaker 1:

I'm excited too and it's so fun because this is not necessarily a book I would pick up based on the back cover just because it's not nothing wrong with the book, of course, just because it's not normally the style I'm drawn to, but it was a really fun experience to read the first chapter in kind of mini introduction. I don't know if we're gonna call it a prologue and disguise or what, but we'll get there. But, yeah, it's an interesting feeling coming in not having all of the answers. So we'll see how that goes.

Speaker 2:

But should be really really funny, you know, it was kinda, like, silent for the listeners because when I had proposed this one and you're, like, wait, is it the one worth the woman in the octopus. I was like, yes. That is the one I was talking about. So there's you know, I think just conceptually, I haven't really seen anything like this. I love animal narrators and there is an animal narrator in this and it's done really well. I think you either nail it or you don't. When you have a animal narrator, but I love it in this and it makes it really unique. So you talked about that first, you know, I would probably call it a prologue in the skies if not just like an introduction to Marcellus, the Octopus. Yeah. So we should we should talk about that first because I think that that is a really important part of introducing the story even though it's not what we're going to analyze deeply because I don't think that there's a scene there. Did you think that there was a scene

Speaker 1:

in that I did not. It just feels like we're meeting Marcellus like said and getting a feel for his boys. I did think there were some really cool elements to it. So the the very first line, darkness suits me. I love that. And then he's He's kind of explaining to us that he lives in a tank. He lived in a sea. He was captured and imprisoned. His name's Marcellus, so he's telling us all this, he's normally referred to as that guy by people looking into his tank. And he's basically telling us that he's a pretty smart fella even though he's an octopus. Some other things too. He gets nicknames from humans. He's just kinda giving us the lay of the land, but what I really liked is the end of this. Intro to him. It says, I must advise that our time together may be brief. The plaque states one additional piece of information the average lifespan of a giant Pacific octopus four years. My lifespan four years, one thousand four hundred and sixty days. I was brought here as a juvenile. I shall die here in this tank at the very most one hundred and sixty days remain until my sentence is complete. So that's our intro to Marcellus.

Speaker 2:

Mhmm. Yeah. Definitely picking up on really important pieces of Marcellus' voice, first of all, as well as what he pays attention to. Just step back quickly real quick just to in case peep in case listeners don't know the book, remarkably bright creatures. That is what we're analyzing. So it's remarkably bright creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. And essentially, what the story is about is the main character is going to be tova Sullivan. And She is a seventy year old woman who works as a cleaner at an aquarium. And she had a son Eric who went missing it was, you know, dubbed a suicide, but she never really believed that was fully a suicide. Out, they found his body had fallen off of about years back when he was younger and, you know, like a late teenager and he was an eighteen I think he was eighteen when it happened. So she has this mystery of what happened to her son, and then you're also going to meet another character who is going to come and deploy his name's Cameron, and he's going to wind up in Seattle in search of his parents. So he's looking for his father. He knows who his mother is, but he he doesn't know who his father is. So you have that going on. And then throughout all of this, you have the point of view of Marcellus. And Marcellus will come in and out of his own chapters, but it's really interesting because it creates a lot of dramatic irony later in the story specifically around the midpoint. Marcellus picks up on something really important. And just as, you know, full disclosure to listeners, probably, spoilers will come out in in this analysis because they think it's going to help us see why the opening pages do a really great job at introducing important key concepts of the story as well as the characters. So just as a quick summary of that. So those were the things that you were drawn to from Marcellus' point of view. Did you like his voice overall?

Speaker 1:

I did and I just felt sad the whole time I was reading it basically. I am an animal lover,

Speaker 2:

so I

Speaker 1:

don't think he's in captivity, but also the words that he used, like, I was captured and imprisoned. And then at the end where he says, one hundred and sixty days remain until my sentence is complete. Yeah. So it just feels heavy.

Speaker 2:

It does. Yeah. And what I think is really brilliant about this. In Morris, this is all captured in about a page and a half. If you have the printed version, I don't know what the EVA version would be.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. It's about the same.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So it's about a page and a half. So it's not a full scene like we said. We're not looking for a look we're not looking for a value shift when we are introduced to Marcellus. But when it does an excellent job at is introducing us a key point of view in this story and how it's going to help unravel this mystery, at the same time, it is putting a time clock on the table with that. So it's like, you know, it's not guaranteed that he only has that much time left until his death. But he very much believes that he's going to die in this aquarium. And you learn, like, later in the story that he was rescued after being severely injured by these eels. So you learned that he was injured. They took him in, but then he never went back to the ocean, and he desperately longs for freedom. So he definitely uses numbers as a way of counting down his sentence. Like, that's, like, you can see, like, all the words, all the diction that he's using there. Show his disdain for being trapped in captivity. Right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And it's interesting because he's like talking about the humans. They sometimes share their experience with the visitors and they're like, see him back there. He's a special guy and he's like a special guy indeed. Like, humans, you know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Which is one of my favorite things that I love about him though because this isn't you are reading lessons in chemistry now, which I know. Yeah. So I that another one that I love and six thirty is a point of view in that story and it's a dog's perspective. And I think one thing that I really love when there are animal perspectives dibs and also an animal lover is when people underestimate animals and animals call them out for that. So, you know, this is Marcellus straightforward that, like, he's not he's blunt and weighing on very much, you know, kinda knocking down a a human's ignorance and underestimating his intelligence even though they claim he is a remarkably bright creature.

Speaker 1:

Well, and I think it's cool that he's not neutral. He has a strong opinion and he's got some feelings and he's gonna tell us.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And I think that's really important for the first person, you know, pronouns that we're using here too. Because when you have first person, you need a strong attitude. So he is very observant and does state his opinion. At the same time, one thing that's very interesting about this is he addresses the reader. With you? Like who who am I? You ask? And I haven't seen that a lot. And I think he does this very naturally though because you feel like he's telling you the story directly. Right?

Speaker 1:

Well, and what's also interesting is if we think about him in his tank alone, he probably muses to himself like this Yep. So I can I can totally imagine him just kind of being like who am I you ask? Just because he's bored and he's alone and he's in captivity. So I think Yeah. It's great.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It's awesome. Okay. So that's really cool about just introducing us to Marcellus and how Marcellus is going to be just key narrator in this story and companion, really to Tova, who is going to be the main human protagonist. And that's that we open up with in this first chapter. So, you know, as per our usual first chapter analysis episodes, we won't analyze the opening pages at the story in order to look at the big picture with the seven key first chapter questions as well as the seam structure, which the, I'll call it, now the first chapter does. With the five commitments coming from StoryGrid and Marmake, along with some other, you know, prerequisite questions that we go over in order to understand, like, character want and things that are written in order to see how the key amendments challenge that. So in the first chapter, it's called the silver dollar scar, and that's where we're starting right now. So for me, it starts in page three. And I'm calling that now the official first chapter even though technically it would appear as the second chapter because we don't have Marcellus at this point if you label this prologue, but I'm calling it log in this, guys. Yep. And in this first chapter, the person that we follow is toobasalone. So toobasalone is seven year old woman who I've mentioned works as a cleaner at this aquarium called Puget Sound in Seattle. And She spent her nights cleaning. She has a lot of details where she talks about certain things that she can tell she's very OCD with her cleaning. She's exceptional act. Her job. She brings her own products in, a combination of lemon and oils or things like that because she likes that scent a lot more. You learn some back story like her son who is no longer in her life because he's dead, as well as her husband who you suspect his has passed away from cancer. And one of the reasons why she's carrying this different cleaning product is because of the smell that irritated her in the hospital. So when she comes in, she's cleaning, she admits that this is something to do. And there's really great description that will describe things like her back pops when she comes up, when she stands up at one point and echoes down the hallway. And it's maybe not something that she needs to do you can tell that she's occupying herself. As she's going through the aquarium, she addresses very kindly all of the sea creatures She passes the eos and doesn't really love the eos, but still gives them a courteous smile. But her favorite is Marcellus. And Marcellus is the Octopus. And is blending into his environment. Meanwhile, tova is really focused in and zeroed in on cleaning up this one wad of gum. She's trying to pick up and eventually she sees Marcellus has escaped his his tank and he's stuck behind the vending machine. So she goes over. She helps. She unplugs the cord. She gets Marcellus out from his wedged in corner and gets him back in his tank and he looks a little more peekish than he did before. She finishes up cleaning for the night and heads home. So it's a pretty straightforward chapter with action, but there's a lot of really important setups and details in the description that I think brings us closer to the characters as well as some major plot points that are going to build as you go into the story itself. Yeah. So now what we're going to do is we're going to look at this first chapter and maybe we'll take into consideration Marcellus' opening voice as well as we enter these seven key first chapter questions. And these come from Paul Munez, the writers guide beginnings, and the first of these deals with genre. So the question is what kind of story is it? And just as a reminder, when Savannah and I are talking about genre, we categorize it in two different ways. Content genre, the type of story that this is, you know, in order to satisfy reader expectations, versus commercial genre, how this would be marketed. So what did you think this was, Savannah?

Speaker 1:

Earlier, you had mentioned that we're in upmarket territory, I do agree. As far as content genre, I wasn't quite sure based on the opening, which was a really fun thought exercise for me because I'm like, okay, what do I pick up on? If I'm just an average reader coming to this, I've read the back cover copy. I've read Marcellus's first chapter and I've read Tovas first chapter. Right?

Speaker 2:

Mhmm.

Speaker 1:

So I know from the back cover copy, there's a little bit of a mystery element. I I would say my gut is saying that's not the primary genre of the story. My other thought was there's obviously some death stakes for Marcellus. But I don't know how I would feel about classifying that as action, so I might put that to the side. And then the third place I went was this is kind of a meet cute scene when Toba and Marcellus meet. So I wondered if it was gonna be more about their friendship and kind of framed in more of like a love story genre. And that's kind of where my thought process ended.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So super interesting. Yes. Upmarket is book club fiction is what I would categorize. It says, commercially. You know, it does and when I say upmarket, it's really that baby between literary and commercials. So you can tell on the line level that there is a lot of sophistication occasion with the voice. It's an extremely strong voice for each character. We are in first person for Marcellus which we'll get into with point of view, and then you have third person for for other bits. But, really, the line level is exceptional. And then in addition, there is still plot, though, that is working with characters. So -- Right. -- it's not undervaluing plot in what you're pulling out here, which will get in the plot in the second question. It's interesting to hear what you pulled out as potential options for content genre. I would say that the main content genre for the story first and foremost is probably going to deal more with a world view story. And it's going to be this internal arc, but the internal arc can only work if it is challenged by x internal plot lines. And you really have pulled out the three that I think are the big ones.

Speaker 1:

So Yeah. And that's, you know, interesting. You say worldview because from this I think I could go to avenues. One with Marcellus is maybe he's not the biggest fan of humans, so maybe that's what's going to change. For Tova, I wouldn't know what to say if you ask me what is her starting role view that's going to change.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So what like, what would you say? Is her I think I think really go with WorldView. I think a lot of it is that well, she's an elderly woman who has had to take care of herself for a long time. Right? And also she is grieving because she lost her son all those years ago. So as she goes forward, you'll see that she has a lot of friends and she'll make comments about how her friends have other options in their life because they have children. So, you know, they they can be taken care of eventually by their children. And you'll notice in the first pages, in this first chapter that she does make some sort of reference to, you know, this is this is this how it starts. When she starts to see Marcellus and she's like, you know, she's this hallucinating. So you can tell that age is something that she is conscientious of. Right? And not necessarily allowing it to hold her down in life, but I think she is aware I'm getting older and I'm getting tired.

Speaker 1:

Right. And Which is really interesting comparing that to Marcellus who's like I have a hundred and sixty days left.

Speaker 2:

And and they're both very solid. In their lives. Like, they, you know, they very much do stick to themselves. Yeah. So there is absolutely a friendship and even so a protective friendship between the two of them, especially created based on this scene where she rescues him. Right. So there is that going on. With the world view back to your question, I actually think I would categorize this morris like a worldview revelation arc because what you're going to move towards is the in the climactic moment, she's going to learn the truth. And this is a huge spoiler. You've been warned. Yeah. I was like, this is the climax of the story. So Marcellus is going to help her discover that Cameron, this boy who comes searching for his father in Seattle, is actually her grandson. So she is not alone in the world with family. And I think that a lot of her arc is through this friendship with Marcellus. And because of it, she comes to know the truth that she is not you know, she's not without family that she does have a grandson and they're going to have this life together in the end, which is a really beautiful part. And I think, like, a big part of this is that going through the story, the mystery component is huge. And that's even, like, when you look at the back covered. That's what they're pitching it as. That's -- Right.

Speaker 1:

--

Speaker 2:

a book factor of it. Right? Is that there's this mystery I'll just read it even. Tova Sullivan's husband died. She began working the night shift at the Sewell Bay aquarium, muffing floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she's been doing since her year old son, Eric, mysteriously vanished on a boat in pubic south over thirty years ago. So I think that's really what's being pitched as the huge hook of the story is a friendship between octopus and an elderly woman, but I think that that is the external font line that hooks us.

Speaker 1:

Right? That's fun because where my brain went towards the relationship a little more too, and and I started thinking before you said what the end was gonna be, that maybe they would find meaning in their last days together, but it's more like their I mean, they probably are. Right? But She's also finding meaning through the information he delivers to her --

Speaker 2:

Mhmm.

Speaker 1:

-- who Cameron is. So I could definitely see based on all that, the world view being a big part of it. Yeah. And also there's this spot that says at seventy years old, they don't expect her to do such deep cleaning, but she must at least try. Besides something to do. So, like, clearly, she needs something to have she needs to find some kind of meaning for her existence.

Speaker 2:

She's just buying time. And it's like it's not that she doesn't have friends. She's a very likable person. Yeah. A lot of people like her. Like, I don't think there's anyone really who doesn't like her.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And I think that for her though, she's still lonely. Yeah. So it's, you know, she's lived in the same house all her life and they well, same house with her husband and son, and then even after her son, like, then it was her and her husband. So, you know, that's part of it too. It's like how much longer can she do this on her own. Yeah. And I think that what's when I go to WorldView as the content, it's it's something that I've seen a lot in these upmarket stories. And it's that the thread that holds everything together is really tied to the emotional journey. So emotionally, like, what is the character going through? And how is what she lacking emotionally going to be filled by the end? Yeah. And through that, there's not necessarily even one, although I try to, you know, encourage writers to pick one, dominant external genre. A lot of the times there'll be at least two, if not three, internal threads that continually challenged the internal story. But if I were to plot out what are the major moments in the story maybe one of them, like, in this scene. Right? Like, as an opening image. How are we seeing toba in her opening image? We get senses that she's Right? We get sense that she's old. And what is challenging that is when she's going to start to have this bond with Marcellus, so there's that friendship story. But that friendship story might not necessarily always take precedence in other key scenes.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And, you know, like, the mystery might be more of a storyline. But, realistically, like, Tova isn't looking for what happened to her son. So it's not that heavy of it. We're not on a crime case here. Right? Yeah. She doesn't believe that her son's been a suicide, but she doesn't think it's foul play.

Speaker 1:

Right? And she's probably at the stage where she's like, what am I going to do about this? I can't really do anything.

Speaker 2:

And he died when he was eighteen, you know. It was, like, years and years and years ago. So it's kind of just one of those things where she's been grieving with it. So with all of that, it's this area of the mystery is something that becomes essential to her filling the lack in her life, which I think is loneliness. And feeling like she's, you know, kind of like Marcellus in the sense that we're just counting time down now. Right.

Speaker 1:

Speaking of the loneliness, because I see writers sometimes, like, they'll try to set up their character, whether they're lonely depressed, whatever that kind of more negative feeling vibe is. They do it in a way that's not quite effective. And I think this version of a lonely character is effective, and we see that she's lonely. By the way, she interacts with the animals and what she notices because she notices things that someone who's got a full life is probably not gonna take the time to notice.

Speaker 2:

Yes. Absolutely. And I think that's really important because I do think, especially, I really love stories with grief. I think I gravitate towards those stories more than any other story. And there's a big difference between a character, especially if you're in first person, you can go into the edge of redundant or whiny. And just because we're so focused on the depression. And while that's realistic, it's not driving a plot forward. Right.

Speaker 1:

And and tova, like, I am not seventy. So, you know, immediately, it's not gonna be super easy for me to relate to her, but the way that they've that the author has painted her, I do relate to her. And I don't think she's mopey. I think she's a very likable character that just so happens to be lonely. I relate to her big time because of her love of animals.

Speaker 2:

So I

Speaker 1:

think she'd pulled it off really well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And I Say whiny, I'm not trying to be, like, negative with that either.

Speaker 1:

No. But it is. It it comes off as whiny.

Speaker 2:

Right? Innova's not that way though. Like, she's kind of the opposite in the sense of, well, I'm not gonna allow myself to sit around and mote -- Yeah. -- and she's like, I'm gonna do something about that.

Speaker 1:

And she notices the quest it things that most people don't. And I think that makes her really likable.

Speaker 2:

Yes. I think that her appreciation and treatment the sea creatures in general just makes her a really sympathetic character. Yeah. So that's where I went. I was probably going to prioritize the World View story. And with that, if I were to analyze this and break this down on a, you know, key plot level, which will move into second question, I'd probably be looking for how the three main external journals that you called out, the mystery and, you know, friendship kind of almost love story but not romantic love. And the impending death? Yes. The impending death, the action. And the action is the most subtle of them because it's not action that you're facing any life or death threatening way, it's inevitability of death with age. So -- Yeah. -- that's where it's like it's it's definitely there. It's a steak, but it's not it's not the same, you know, we're not we're not in an Avengers movie here and have a, like, an

Speaker 1:

action Avengers with Octopus.

Speaker 2:

You know,

Speaker 1:

I think it's cool though because like I said, I had no idea other than the first few pages I read in the back cover copy. Mhmm. And through that, I was able to pull out those things that you said are are accurate. Right? So this author has done a great job dropping the clues to what type of story is coming even if we had no context.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, for everything else. And that's what, you know, we don't care for that we don't meet in this first chapter that is another major point of view is Cameron. And his is a world view maturation arc, where he's dealing with a lack of sophistication. He has been someone who really has lacked parental guidance. In his life, he has his aunt who has been there for him and supported him. But in general, his I mean, his his mother is a drug addict out of her out of his life, and he's never even known or heard of his father. He has no idea who his father is. So you see in the very beginning when we meet him, there's a breakup with his girlfriend. And his girlfriend's basically telling him he used to go grow up. And Guy is very likable because he is not someone that you really see as overly immature, but you can see that there's a lack of following through. Maybe in his life. And, you know, can you blame him? He's had no early guidance his entire life. So I think what you like about him is that he's setting out on his journey, he really believes that this guy named Simon is his father. And he's he travels to Seattle. He's trying to find him and ends up getting a job as Tobas replacement cleaner until she heals from an injury that she has. And they start to bond over that. So, really, like, their relationships starts to become something that is, you know, explored and comes to fruition through the plot events, but they're really on their own arcs. In their own way, which is cool.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And it's cool how they both based on what you just said, they feel like they're both untethered or, like, unmoored, whatever word I'm looking for. And then kind of coming together gives them both an answer.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And that's kind of what's re enforcing the second question. So the second question is dealing with plot. The question is, what is the story really about. And I would say this story is really about the friendship between an elderly woman And this octopus at the same time, it's the finding of one another between a grandmother and a strange grandson and story is really about his pursuit of his biological father. Yeah. So you can see, like, something like Cameron's story really is dealing a lot with the mystery arc intentionally. He is pursuing a mystery. Right? Mhmm. And tofa's existing. So toba is she's going through her light her everyday life. I think that she's dealing with questionings of is she getting too old to take care of herself? And dealing with that and at the same time bonding with Marcellus and trying to protect Marcellus, whoever getting too far into trouble because he likes to escape in Rome. And Marcellus, his main arc is dealing with once he figures out that toba and Cameron are related. His goal is try to help toba find out the truth because he told us the only human that he really cares for. And eventually, like in a climactic moment, toba rescues Marcellus from his tank in, you know, getting spoilers. But she rescues him from his take because he his replacement comes in the end because they know that he's dying. And she wants him to breathe the ocean. So she she gets she helps him escape from his tank and she lets him loosen in the ocean for whatever many days he has left.

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh. And I'll tell you it's so funny because I'm I tend to be really sensitive about animals dying when, like, the story is more about them dying than, like, if it's don't know. In a fantasy story, a random horse will die like that's sad, but it's not the

Speaker 2:

main point of the story. Uh-huh.

Speaker 1:

So anyway, I if I read the back cover copy and I got past that and I'm like, okay, I'm gonna open this book and then I read the first page or two where it's like I have a hundred and sixty days left. I might not finish the book because I can't handle that

Speaker 2:

Well, that's what's so beautiful about this is, like, how is Marcellus finding meaning with those days, as well as toba? And something really cool is because toba comes. Really, Cameron's mentor, you know, of course, is helping with cleaning, but she has she has a strong grasp on life and how to live it well. And what is Right. You know, what's acceptable and what's not. And she'll call Cameron out on things and help us really mentor him and guide him on how to be a more adult human being. And that's what he's missed his whole life. So that's really cool. And then within that, you have Marcellus. And one of the things that really bonds tova and Cameron is that Cameron is cleaning, and he learns that Marcellus escapes the tank. And Terry, he's the manager of the aquarium. And toobou finds out that Cameron knows and she's like, you cannot tell Teri. Like these There because she's nervous what Teri will do to Marcellus.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And she's like, you

Speaker 2:

can't tell him we have to protect him. So Cameron and toba have this inside promise to make sure that Marcellus does this thing, but also is kept in secret of what he's doing. That's cute. Yeah. It's super cute. And then you really like Terry at the end though because you learn that Terry has, like, known all along that Marcellus has been crawling around because he eats other animals.

Speaker 1:

Oh my god. Yeah. So he just do his thing?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I mean yeah. He's remarkably bright creature.

Speaker 1:

Right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I think that's really where we're going with the plot. And then the point of view is extremely important. That's the third question. Who is telling the story? I think this is, you know, this is paramount to how the whole story functions. And Marcellus is in this first person. And like you said, like, he does address the reader, but I agree with you, Savannah, when you said that it's almost like he would talk to himself the anyway. It's not like we're addressing in second person.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's not like first person, but this is probably how he talks all the time to himself. A loner. You know?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And I I could just see him kinda make it's like he's like tova, right, making the best of a bad situation.

Speaker 2:

And then when you go into the first chapter, you see that the majority of the novel is third person limited. Yeah. So we're dealing with third person limited with Tova, and then we'll have third person limited with Cameron. So it's interesting. I'm curious what you think about that moving from first person with Mar sell us to third person with TOBA and Cameron. Do you think that that's a strategic move? What did you like or not like about that?

Speaker 1:

I mean, I feel like it probably was strategic because we're grounded in Marcellus first where it's like we see things through his point of view and then we zoom out just a little bit where we're watching the people. Probably like Marcellus is watching the people. Yes. So, yeah, I think it was and it didn't bother me as a reader. It's I

Speaker 2:

liked it. I thought it was pretty natural.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I thought it was too, and I'm just thinking because the other day in in one of my group calls, I said, like, we don't wanna be switching point of view like this. And in that person was asking about in a romance, can I have the one partner be first person and the other person be third person? And I felt like that was too hectic. Because of the equal weight in the story. We're here. It's like Marcellus is not gonna be a big part of the weight. Right? In the He's after part

Speaker 2:

of the dramatic irony, and I think that he gives us a unique factor of the story. But I would say, if I mean, I haven't clocked out percentages, but a heavy percentage of the story is going to be Tova and Cameron. Marcellus is interspersed between those chapters.

Speaker 1:

With short and there's short pages. Right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And they're short. I mean, they're not all the same length, but they are they're going to be scenes. Yeah. It's going to have scenes versus like this first opening is a page and a half. They're gonna be longer than that. Yeah. But I think that the majority of the time were not in an aquarium. Right? The majority of the time were we, of course, are spending in the aquarium, but we're also out of it in exploring toba and Cameron in their lives. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So And something you said made me think of Like, why why something like if you're writing a romance and you wanna just switch for the heck of switching? It's like that's not a deliberate choice. Right? You're doing that because you just think it would be fun or it would, like, you know, make the reading experience fun, where this is done very deliberately to give us a certain experience. So that's, I think, why it works.

Speaker 2:

And this, I think, is a testament to Shelby's writing abilities and that she keeps it third person limited with toba and Karen, but they clearly do have a distinct voice. The narrative voice comes through for each of those characters. As effectively as Marcellus's voice comes through in first person. So that's really cool because one thing with first person limited that I'm always emphasizing is that, you know, the the word they say is attitude. Like, first person needs to have a really strong attitude. And I think that both TOBA and Cameron have their own attitude, but it's just a little bit more distant, although they're person limited in this way because it limits us in their perspective still does feel very much like we're in their head because we are. You know,

Speaker 1:

I mean, we talked I remember in one of our book club meetings, we talked about the word attitude because it's not what most people would assume. It's just don't let them be neutral, so let them have their biases, their you know, part of the reason why I think the voice works so well here is because Marcellus notices different things, pays attention to different things, and tova's, you know, the one talking about her back popping and things that only tova would say or think about. Right? Right. Sure. Cameron's chapters are the same. So it's it's more just like, let that person be that person and lean into it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Very well said. And a perfect lead into the fourth question, which shows with character, which characters should readers care about the most.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, and this is funny because in both of their scenes, they're alone. Right? So -- Mhmm. -- I thought that Marcellus is is a scene, but I obviously really care about Marcellus. Because he's an animal and he's telling us he's dying. Easy. And then in toobas, it's like you just feel bad. Right? You wanna be her friend and you want her to not be lonely. I like toba too.

Speaker 2:

That's where it's like, you know, I I think she's tough. Like, I'm I'm like her. I think that she's someone who if she if I met her, in real life, I would wanna be friends with her. But she has this it factor about her, and I think it's maybe just her I name and she's kind. Right? This a woman who addresses the sea creatures while she's cleaning, yes, I want to be friends with that person. Right?

Speaker 1:

And she doesn't seem to have an ego or like, you know, she's not materialistic, she's really down to earth and having fun.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. She's very grounded. And I think that you can tell that she has been through adversity and she's still standing. So there's there's a lot there's, like, definitely more that meets the eye to her, and I think that that makes me want to learn more about her. For anyone who takes the time to rescue an octopus who's stuck behind the vending machine? Yes. I want to meet you. And even when one of the things that's gonna what happens is Marcellus wraps his tentacles around her and the suction cups put, you know, basically they'd bruise her arm and her friends made comments about that earlier, but she while they heard her, she's even really flinched. Like, she's she almost dropped back, but she wants to help him. So, you know, definitely, there's a reason why Marcellus will tell you this. I don't think it's the next chapter probably. But Marcellus will tell you this that he doesn't really like humans, that he likes toba.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And that's a really unique trick with characters. I mean, not that there are there are many reasons to like tova. But if you do have a character that is unlikable and you have another character that we like like them, that's actually a trick. To get readers to like them. Yeah. Marcellus is just he's just scrappy. I just like him. You know?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Because if we were stuck in a cage, we'd wanna be like Marcellus. Trying to get out and have fun. Mhmm.

Speaker 2:

And just his awareness of things, you know? Like, I I like that he calls it as it is. I like people who are direct, and that's Marcellus' point of view too. So I cared about both of them. For the fifth question, it's about setting. And the question is where and when does the story take place?

Speaker 1:

Yep. So for this scene, we're in the aquarium. Right? Which I always think about, okay, is the location important of the story? Yes. Right? We're gonna see more of this and we already established Marcellus as how Cameron and toba get brought together. So it makes sense that the opening scene would

Speaker 2:

be here. So it's and it's so all be a clearing in which I don't know if they state specifically in the first chapters, but it is in the back cover. And I believe this is in Seattle because Cameron travels to Seattle to find Simon. So we'll find all of that in the story but not in certainly grounded in this, but like exactly what you said, the setting of where they actually are, despite location, is that we are in an aquarium and in the aquarium is where a lot of the relationships that we need to see develop are going to evolve. So that's really important. Also, I think it's important that they're near the sea -- Yep.

Speaker 1:

--

Speaker 2:

they're in a sea that's near the sea and that you know, also pertains to Eric and what happened to him.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I think it's also interesting that there's not like a lead up seen into this. We're we are meeting tova in her everyday life. And it's not like we're meeting her at her house and she's getting ready for work. And, you know, she's like looking at pictures of her kid that's dead and her husband that's no longer here. Right? Or literally just dropped into her everyday life and there's not a lot of lead up.

Speaker 2:

That's what I love about it though because you can tell just even because we are grounded in tova that she thinks of her husband and her son daily

Speaker 1:

all the time. Right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. She they are they are constantly on her mind and in her heart, but she doesn't allow that to stop her. Yeah. Yeah. Like, that, you know, like, that's exactly it. Like, they they think that a lot of writers can go to the place that they wanna ground us in the depression, and I get that. Like in the midnight library, the opening chapter deals with Nora and her house. And I think that you can go there, but what I like so much about toba is that the setting is, again, one of the hook factors. Right? So we're seeing her interact with her environment in her very much who understand who she is as a character by her attitude of, I can't just do nothing.

Speaker 1:

Right. Right. So And, you know, something you said earlier, like, I don't remember if you sent her up. I said it actually, but it was, like, it's an active scene. So we're the advice that writers here all the time is start with action and, like, look at all we're following. She's trying to clean up gum, and she's doing an octopus that gets out of the tank. But for a seventy year old woman, this is not easy. So like for her, this is impactful action and it's exciting because it's well, for multiple reasons, but like it's ex it wouldn't be exciting if it was a seventeen year old boy who could easily maneuver and, like, thought an octopus was super cool and, like, you know, wanted to pick it up. Right? Mhmm.

Speaker 2:

And that's where the description details, that's where that comes back. And this is more maybe backwards a little bit and going more to the point of view. But again, we're really zerud in on what matters to to tova, what her observations are, what Marcellus's observations are, and one thing that we do get heavy describe on because if you're going to spend more details on something, it's probably going to have significance later in the plot. One of the descriptions that we really zero in on is this moment where she is cleaning a Pacific C Lion. So the lion is she processed the Shelia Alcove with its life size bronze statue of a Pacific Sea Lion, a sleek spot son's back, in bald head, worn smooth from decades of being petted and climbed on by children only, and hence its realism. On toba's mantle at home, there's a photo of Eric. Perhaps eleven or twelve at the time, grinning wildly as he straddles the statues back, one hand aloft like he's about to throw a a lasso, a sea cowboy. So what's really cool about that is that this we zero in on this because this is something because it's so worn down. It's emphasized that a lot of people might not pay attention to cleaning instrument, and toba always does. And also it connects again back to what's important to her at home, which does this picture of Eric. So it's connecting the two Later, Marcellus is going to hide a key piece of evidence underneath a thin lion. So so that's something that's really cool. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And then so question number six is with core motion. The question is how should readers feel about what's happening?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. So I felt like heavy and I felt sad for both of these characters. I did have hope though just because I know the story is gonna take me somewhere, but I want them to have happy endings.

Speaker 2:

It's so interesting because I didn't necessarily feel somber, but I did feel I guess, like, I'm trying to figure, like, I did I didn't I don't the feeling of, like, I feel really sad when they read these pages, but I think a lot of that is because of tova's attitude. Yeah. But I do think that I I mean, I don't I don't know if pity is the right word though. Like, I do have sympathy. So maybe I was sad and I just didn't know I was feeling that way? Yeah.

Speaker 1:

It's it's almost like you just want them to have

Speaker 2:

a better scenario. Yeah. You do. I mean, that's where it's like I think I was intrigued. I think that I felt big feels. I guess that's where I'm gonna go. I don't have the right words for what those feelings were, but I felt very much concerned in exactly what you're saying there that I I cared about these characters in the way that I wanted them to have a happy ending because I felt like their life wasn't happy right now.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And I and I wanted it to be better for them. Yeah. You know? Yeah. So yeah. So maybe maybe the word is that that I'm looking for at the point.

Speaker 1:

That with a little hope, I guess, Yeah. But you're also entertained by the way that she kind of man handles the octopus. Right? Like, one, I think that's not

Speaker 2:

maybe that's the thing because the action self of when Marcellus is stepping behind the vending machine. And I think it's, like, eighteen minutes or something that an octopus can actually be out of water. But when he's stuck, that that changes my emotion as well. There's an immediacy to it, been a danger, a sense of danger. But the majority of the time we're sitting in these internal states that are really drawing us close to their emotions. And then in the moment that she's saving him, there's excitement. When she does save him, there's relief and there's hope because of this friendship that seems to be blossoming.

Speaker 1:

And that actually kind of leads us into the next question I'm gonna skip ahead, which is stakes.

Speaker 2:

Why I

Speaker 1:

should care. Right? Right. And we've been given all the ingredients we need to care. If I had to ask what is at stake, I mean, happiness. Right? Or, like, fulfillment whole life?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I think I think well-being. Right? Like, someone's well-being. And then for Marcellus in the first chapter. It's life or death because of what's at stake for him. For Tova, I think it's, you know, purpose maybe. Like, it's it's also, like, kind of, what

Speaker 1:

else? Meaning.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Meaning.

Speaker 1:

I I

Speaker 2:

think it's it's probably that. It's probably what's her what's her sense of meaning in life. Like, what's what's next for her? Right? Right now, it seems like she's just on a pretty sure fired path towards retirement home eventually. Right? And that is where we head in the story.

Speaker 1:

It's the same with Marcellus too, like, because he knows he's only got so many days left, what's he gonna do with them.

Speaker 2:

So Yeah. I think I think meaning would probably be the best day out that I would put on there.

Speaker 1:

Okay. Cool. So I think it's really interesting because I was expecting us to have a lot of different answers because I haven't read it, but it seems like I think this is why we can say the first chapter works because we came to the same conclusions. So that it's just a fun exercise for people who are listening. You know, with beta readers, you can even ask them some of these questions and say, like, what did you come up with for my first chapter? If all six of your beta readers say the same thing, you're probably doing a pretty good job. Yep. So okay. So we'll get into the scene structure now and like Abigail said earlier, we're gonna use the story grid slash Robert McKee five commandments to pick that apart. So, really, we wanna find what's the character's goal, what kind of conflict gets in the way, what tough decision are they going to face and woke in these a little bit more as we get in and then kind of what's the end result or how did things change? So this it's funny because in my head, yesterday, I was thinking like, oh, this will be so fun because I'm probably gonna get the answer wrong. Because I don't know the story, but then when I read it, I'm like, this is actually a pretty straightforward scene. So do you want me to run through what I saw and you can just tell me --

Speaker 2:

Sure.

Speaker 1:

--

Speaker 2:

that sounds good.

Speaker 1:

So the goal for Tova in this scene is she wants to clean for her shift. Right? That's why she's here to do. She wants to do a good job and it's simple, which is a great example of because sometimes writers are like, I don't know what my character's goal is. Look at toba. She's just showing up to her workday trying to clean. And she wants to get this specific piece of gum off the floor.

Speaker 2:

And I think that's where when you get specific, you can really zero in, like, a specific goal ish, not just grinding, but getting this gum, this stubborn gum off. Right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Right when we meet her, this her main thing. So then the inciting incident I saw was when she's in that break room and she sees an octopus behind the vending machine. So then there's conflict where she starts interacting with him and the turning point, which is the moment where it's like the peak moment of conflict that's eventually gonna forced her to face a decision. To me, that was when Marcellus shoves the chair and toobus interprets that as with alarming strength. So at that point, it's kind of like, well, what do I do? Because she's a little bit scared, but she also knows that if she doesn't help him, he's going to die. So that's her crisis. Keep helping or just leave him to his demise. And the climaxes, she helps. And then the resolution, she frees the octopus and sees him in his tank.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So that's really interesting. I love your breakdown. I can see arguments that's interesting that you're in signing instance is when Marcellus is behind the vending machine. Yeah. And the main action act like events happen in that moment. Yeah. So I think when you're when you're deciding what is the main value change, what would do you think the main value change is for this scene?

Speaker 1:

I think that because she saved him, there's, like, a trust built or she's moving closer on the side of, like, I'm okay with her from Marcellus' point of view.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So I think that's one definitely one way that you could go. I could see if people were to argue that the inciting incident would be the gum because if it's this idea of her trying to clean just you know, if she if she's going with a goal, if I just wanna clean. And then the gama's in particular is what she has to spend a lot of time with. And then the turning point could be Marcellus being behind the vending machine and the crisis is, what does she do about that? Does she try to rescue him or not? The climax would be her trying and the resolution could be a a lot about how he actually behaves as she tries to rescue him. So I could see that as an argument. I also see your argument and that's probably where I lean even though the intending incident comes much later in the scene because of that. I would agree with you. I think that it would go towards the vending machine as an instant because this is truly the unexpected disturbance. Like, it's gone big enough of an an expected disturbance? Probably not. Right? Oh, yeah. Go ahead.

Speaker 1:

And I think that's interesting because the I kinda got into the weeds on this with myself yesterday is The first line is tova Sullivan prepares for battle and then a yellow rubber glove sticks up from her back pocket like a canaries plume as she bends over to size up her enemy. Chewing up. So it's kind of like we meet her and she's already pursuing this goal. Yes. So it's how I understood that was that it's not necessarily a surprise then if if we're meeting her as she's doing this --

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

--

Speaker 2:

it's more showing I think what it does is that it establishes toba as someone who doesn't just take okay or decently cleaned as acceptable. She's going she's going to get her gloves on. She's going to get on her knees and she's going to get this in this stubborn piece of gum that even leaves stains like she is going to work on this. And as she's working on that, we're able to see her interacting with the other sea creatures. Right. We also see that Marcellus is in his tank, and then later he's out of his tank. So that is more the like, with the him being behind the vending machine, that truly is a surprise. Right? Because he was there and now he's what? Like, she thinks it's a sweater at first.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Right. So he's fast and also he camouflages with everything. Yep. So when he's stuck behind the vending machine, it's it's this also, like, probably is a testament to Marcellus' intelligence, but it's almost like he waits for her to see him until he goes out. It's like she thought that was here, but now I'm a Yeah. He's always trying to be sneaky, which is fun. So with the inciting incident with him behind the vending machine, I do think that works for the turning point for me. I probably I could see the pushing the chair with it with great strength because it's scary. I think I landed more on when the tentacles wrapped around her arm. And there is a moment of her debating if she continues or not.

Speaker 1:

I was looking for that part because I wanted to see there there's two parts that I think are like that. So I'll I'll read both of them and then we can decide. Here's the part that I saw and then we'll look at the part you saw. So at the sound, the octopus slashes again, shoving one of the chairs with the warming force. The chair skids across the room and ricochet's off the opposite wall. From under the table, the creatures and possibly clear eye gleams determine tova creeps closer trying to steady her shaking hands. How many times has she passed by the plaque under the giant Pacific Octopus tank? She can't recall it stating anything about Octopus as being dangerous to humans. She's but a foot away he seems to be shrinking and his color has become pale. So that could also be a turning point that is she's noticing he's become pale. Then she's thinking does an octopus have teeth? Then she says my friend, she says softly, I'm going to reach around you and plug the cord blah blah blah. So that's that's one option, and I'm gonna look to your option. Okay. So she expects him to slink out along the wall toward the door in the direction he's been straining. But in steady slides closer, like a Tawney snake, one of his arms slithers towards her. In seconds, it winds around her forearm, then twists around her elbow and bicep like a may pull ribbon. She can feel each individual sucker clinging to her. Reflexively, she tries to yank her arm away, but the octopus tightens his grip to the point where it's almost uncomfortable. But as strange eye glints playfully like a naughty child's. Empty takeout cartons misplaced trash, now it makes sense. Then in an instant he releases her, Tova watches incredulous as he stocks out of the break room, suckering along on the thickest part of each of his eight legs. And then she goes after him.

Speaker 2:

And he's nowhere to be seen. But was right. Well, so unlike I think where it went with that part was because also I know that later the bruises on her arm or something that she has to lie about, Yeah. So I think that's where I went with that. But I think the the physical force now wrapped around her, like, what do you do when

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And the sauce is gonna be good or bad.

Speaker 2:

At the same time, though, what you mentioned though a second ago Savannah was she notices the pale color. I think I actually land on that. Over the other two.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And I would just think of that too because it it's kind of like she's that's where she's setting us up to focus. Like, well, now you see, on pale, I really have to do something. Yes. And maybe that's what we'll go with. The cool thing is that no matter which option we just chose, it gets us to the same spot.

Speaker 2:

Yes. And that I think is something that's really important to point out because, again, I like I like to emphasize to writers that this is really great these are great tools for us to use as writers and as book coaches because and as editors, because that helps us defend if there is a change in value in the scene, if something significant happens in the scene that develops characters and advances the plot. But our reader isn't analyzing it from this level. Right? So our things are major complications happening that are challenging the main character to make a crisis decision because I do think the the the combination, the turning point, and the crisis is really what changes the value. So if the turning point is going to cause a crisis in some way about whether or not she's going to continue to pursue saving Marcellus or not, that's ultimately the general idea of this. Right?

Speaker 1:

Right. And that's what causes the value shift like we were saying. It brings them together because this this is about their relationship and how it affects each of their lives. Right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I'm glad I'm glad you pulled out the the pale color change because -- Yeah.

Speaker 1:

--

Speaker 2:

as soon as you said that,

Speaker 1:

I was like, nope. That's that's it. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Point.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And that's it's funny because that speaks to his first chapter, which is like, am I gonna live or die --

Speaker 2:

Exactly. -- sixty days or whatever. Exactly. And what's cool about that is that it's seems like he he understands unlike people who are afraid of death, like he embraces the inevitability of death without concern. It seems like it's just a matter of time. But is he going to live life well during that time? And it stinks if his life is going to be cut short

Speaker 1:

-- Yep. -- dying behind him that time. Right? And the cold thing up. I was just thinking if I were to ask myself questions, I'd be thinking, how does this affect the global stories? We said it brings them together. Right? And earlier we talked about they both need to kind of find meaning in their last days. So by bringing them together, removing them one step closer to being able to have that meaning. And even -- Exactly. -- even tova's night or day, I think it's night when she's cleaning. But her day has gotten meaning by saving Marcellus.

Speaker 2:

Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And it is nighttime. This is something that that they're the only people in the aquarium because -- Yeah.

Speaker 1:

--

Speaker 2:

won't Karen in in toobob because toobob comes to help Karen a lot. The only people in the AppREIM. And that's where they can have these, you know, secret interactions with Marcellus

Speaker 1:

--

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

--

Speaker 2:

which is really cool because it's this chronic decision where that changes Marcellus's opinion about this particular human.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And that that friendship, borns, and through that he's able to make observations that humans often overlook that lead to her new sense of physical and emotional meaning and in, you know, in receptively, she's able to give that back to Marcellus in the end too. It's like a gift for a gift type of thing.

Speaker 1:

Right. Yeah. I think it's pretty cool. Pretty well done.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Yeah. So I loved the story. It will be interesting to me. And if you continue reading the story or not, I loved it. I think I highly recommend it. I gave it five stars. It really hit me on a lot of emotional levels, which is why I think, again, I probably lean towards the world view, but there's a lot of arguments that could be made. I think it's a it's a it's genre blending. But when it comes down to it, they just really love the characters and the storyline and the uniqueness of it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Definitely a fun exercise to, like, having having not read it and We're gonna do a few more episodes like this where one of us hasn't read the book because I think at some point we're gonna find one where the analysis looks very different. But this one just happened to be straightforward, but still fun. And yeah, I wanna say I'm probably not gonna read it just for the same reason I haven't watched like Marley and me, I was very traumatized by things like where the red fur and grows and black beauty when I was little. Oh, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Where the red and grows, and I never will get that out of my head. And, apparently, in me, I finished the climax on an airplane and was balling. Yeah. Absolutely. That is wrong with you.

Speaker 1:

Like, I will not handle stuff like that. So I'm I I already don't wanna know that Marcellus is gonna die. I just well, just know that

Speaker 2:

he is happy before he dies. So

Speaker 1:

But still, I don't know. There's just it's too close to me for some reason.

Speaker 2:

But I understand. Again yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, this this was fun. I'm excited to do more of these. I'd love to hear if any listeners have read this or what their analysis was. Savannah and I always love chatting with our listeners and with you know, other kindred spirit writers. So let us know if you had any different analysis. But until next time, thanks, Savannah. I'd love to be here with you as always.

Speaker 1:

So that's it for today's episode. As always, thank you so much for tuning in and for showing your support. If you wanna check out any of the links I mentioned in this episode, you can find them in the show notes listed in the description of each episode inside your podcast player or at savannah gobo dot com forward slash podcast. If you're an Apple user, I'd really appreciate it if you took a few seconds to leave a rating and a review. Your ratings and reviews tell Apple that this is a podcast that's worth listening to. And in turn, your reviews will help this podcast get in front of more fiction writers just like you. And while you're there, go ahead and hit that follow button because there's going to be another brand new episode next week full of actionable tips, tools, and strategies to help you become a better writer. So I'll see you next week and until then happy writing.

Analyzing Opening Pages of Bright Creatures
Conversation Analysis of "Remarkably Bright Creatures"
Genre and Worldview in the Story
Analyzing Plot and Point of View
Characters and Setting in Romance Story
Analyzing Emotions and Stakes in Art
Analyzing Scene Structure and Character Goals
Podcast Thank You and Call