Tidbits from Dance With A Spider

Spoilers ahead…

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The full story of Dance With A Spider is on Reddit’s r/nosleep: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Last chance, go read the story first!

In accordance to the r/nosleep rules, I’m not posting that story here or anywhere else but Reddit. However…

However, I always like to do a post-reveal of just a few things related to the writing. This is either stuff that didn’t make the cut, stuff that happens in the background, some regrets, things that I was in the fence about and some things that were too long to include or explain.

  • It’s not a murder-mystery but I still had to plan every move that Nydia makes beforehand. So although it’s never explained, I know exactly what happens the night that Julie dies. In a real detective story, everything has to make sense at the end. In this one, there’s a few things that don’t fit leaving the impression that it was a less than perfect execution.
  • Nydia and Richard (in trance) pack up Julie in cardboard and packing material from Richard’s move. Some of that material is supposedly left behind at Julie’s house. That was supposed to be something to use later on a trial scene, but since that never happened it was pointless to include it.
  • Julie’s packaged body is stored in the trunk in Richard’s car before Nydia learns Bobby is in the apartment. This is done this way because I didn’t want Bobby to see her mother being killed or packaged. See, I am not a complete monster.
  • I regret that I never got to write a scene with Nydia using an old-style hypodermic needle to sedate Julie or to keep Richard’s subconscious suggestible. Nydia does use one but she obviously erased all those scenes.
  • Bobby figures Julie has taped the conversation and gets the phone out of her purse while Nydia and Richard are taking Julie’s body to the car. Bobby must be the one that leaves Richard’s apartment last because he leaves the phone on the counter and the phrase on the blackboard for his father to find. I figure he made up a last-minute excuse to go back alone.
  • When Nydia drives Richard to drop off Bobby and stops before the turn, everyone changes seats and Nydia tells Bobby to help his father start the car after she’s gone. This is supposedly when Nydia takes Julie’s packaged body out of the car and drags her away to later cut her throat and bury her in the woods behind her own house. This is why there is no blood in Richard’s apartment or car.
  • The whole point of Nydia killing Julie in the woods before burying her is to establish the time of death while Richard is driving Bobby to Julie’s house. Yes, I know times of death are not as precise. Again, stuff for a trial scene that was never used. This would also reveal that Nydia always planned to have Bobby as a patient as well.
  • Roger is written as a douche on purpose. I wanted to write a scene in which Nydia comes at him with a needle, but it just felt a little too cliche. Sorry to have deprived you of that. Instead we hear that he was killed while in holding, however we never know who did it. Perhaps it was Nydia after all.
  • At some point it was going to be Richard who was going to be detained and go to trial for Julie’s murder. Nydia was supposed to make a grand entrance as the star witness, but I couldn’t make my mind up if she would appear for the prosecution or the defense.
  • I did thought of a few ways to get to the trial scene, but none of them were interesting enough. Also, the trial scene seemed like a lot of exposition without a payoff. I wanted that to happen naturally. Besides, I didn’t want this to become Law & Order. Dun dun.
  • I did pick a lake outside Chicago to be “Tranquility Lake”. I’d rather not tell you where it is. I picked the name after the Sea of Tranquility in the Moon. Madness used to be believed to be caused by the Moon, hence the term “lunatic”. The idea was that Richard has to lose his mind (go to the Moon) to win it back.
  • Nydia shoots Will immediately so he doesn’t tell Richard that it’s not a police car. The idea was that Nydia wanted Richard to believe it was a hopeless case to try to alert anybody they ran into, specially if it was the cops.
  • During the highway scene, there was a moment in which a patrol car chases after Nydia and Richard. Nydia is supposed to use her mental powers and get them to crash but at that point I felt I was writing a scene of the X-Men so I trashed the whole idea.
  • If Will’s body was in Richard’s trunk, the only way it would fall into Tranquility Lake was if Richard threw it in there. Richard infers this, but never quite admits it. That’s one loose end that he has to deal with himself.
  • Although I allude to it many times, we never do see Nydia turn into a spider. That little scene in which Richard sees something that looks like a spider walk away is intentionally left unexplained.
  • Richard was supposed to break free from Nydia in the highway to recover Julie’s phone. Then he would go after Nydia because Bobby was a in danger. Big confrontation scene. Doesn’t work, too many transitions in a row. The solution was obvious. When Nydia reveals she wants to control Bobby’s memories too is the exact time that Richard deals with the situation.
  • There’s a phrase that Nydia says in the first part: “That’s not a luxury you can take, Richard.” Detective Monroe says something very similar in the last scene: “I don’t have that luxury, Richard.” It’s an unused angle.
  • When Richard finally gains back control, he doesn’t improve as a person. He just finally accepts he is a flawed individual. He does become faster at making decisions than before because he’s really attuned with his subconscious. That’s why he seems to be answering all the Detective’s questions in rapid-fire style.
  • In an earlier draft, Nydia was going to turn out to be a figment of Richard’s imagination. It’s been done way too many times.
  • Nydia’s nature and motivation are never explained but there’s clues. She’s making Richard’s darkest wishes come true: Julie killed, Roger imprisoned, becoming Bobby’s custodial parent, etc. There’s one allusion from her to be Richard’s “goddamn fairy godmother” and another one to have chosen him because of his dark dreams about killing: “you indulged in one too many or I wouldn’t be here.” No, she’s not the devil.
  • Nydia has money and influence to get a dangerous plant across borders and set up renting two non-traceable cars. She also tends to do things old style. I was trying to make it seem she has existed for a long time. She’s not a vampire, but she may be eternal.
  • Richard trips and falls as he walks on the pier because Nydia loses control of him. That’s because he’s above water. Nydia has something against living bodies of water (meaning water with natural life on it, a pool wouldn’t count). This is something akin to the myth that to destroy a witch you had to drown her. Nydia is not a witch per se, but the myth of witches might have been born due to someone running into Nydia in the past. Nydia gets Richard to check the car just so he gets back to solid ground.

That will do for now.

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