Chapter 7–what a critical chapter for Capacitance! Here we finally learn a bit more about Mara’s project is, and we peer a little more into the secrets of her world. Hopefully suspense has been building for you as a reader up until this point as you wondered what Mara was working on in her lab. Chapter 7 gives the plot and the stakes of the story a little more of a foothold.The slight release and building of tension is what keeps a reader a happy and engaged one instead of a frustrated one. By giving a little, but not all, away in this chapter, readers remain invested in the story.
As I wrote this chapter and got more into the details of the story–especially the scientific details–I found myself having to take some more time away from the Word document and more time on the web and on scratch paper, hashing out ideas. The name for Meditrinum was created by looking up names of ancient gods and goddesses. I wanted the name of the drug to be smart, but rooted in tradition (creating another subtle facet of world building). Thus came a search of all these gods and goddesses and lo and behold I found Meditrina–goddess of health, longevity and healing. This was perfect for Meditrinum as the drug repairs DNA. So I found the goddess, added the -um suffix to make it sound more pharmaceutical, and there you have it. Creating names for things and people in a story all my own has been rather a challenge, but a thrilling one. For some characters, such as Runey, I knew what his name would be, innately. For others, such as Travers, I vacillated back and forth on what to call them, and I am still not entirely sure that the name was the right choice. However, I did enjoy naming Meditrinum; looking deeper into the development of the name and putting some research behind it was something I felt very strongly about. I love seeing other authors implementing this sort of word play with their made up words (I’m thinking J.K. Rowling here!) as it gives the older or more discerning reader a little more food for thought, or at least the delight of an intellectual discovery.
Another important aspect of this chapter is that it shows a different side of Mara. We see her get overwhelmed with stress in her lab; although we haven’t known her that long, we know as readers that Mara stepping away from a problem is not typical behavior for her! This shows readers (hopefully) that she isn’t just a workaholic. Faced with a potentially enormous problem that will affect not just her world, but her life as well, we see that even Mara doesn’t remain cool under all kinds of pressure. More importantly, this chapter shows a more humanistic side of Mara. Her meeting with Professor Travers shows her letting her hair down a bit and engaging in friendly socialization. Throughout the process of others reading Capacitance, some of the feedback I have heard is that Mara is not likable. Hopefully this chapter starts to diffuse that conception. Reading and writing styles are so subjective, but I love hearing people’s opinions–is Mara a likable character? Do characters necessarily have to be likable from the first instant they’re introduced?