I’ve finally hit the chunk in Rain’s story where we first meet Zig.
I had no idea I’d left him so flat on the page.
Zig is easily one of my most charactery characters, as in “You’re such a character”. As in, he’s a complete goofball. As in, he reminds me more of Scooby Doo or Charlie B. Barkin than a real person. Some people are just like that, ya know?
But I’d left all that silliness of the page. This is the sort of thing you do in first drafts- you just write to get it out. Coming back to him now (and with the help of my lovely live in editor girlfriend), I see how lifeless he is. Flat. Emotionless. Not a goofball at all.
In his own story, Summer Spiders, he shines through like the lovable idiot he is. But Rain was so caught up in her own freakout while we were writing this that Zig never got the chance to speak up. Now that I’m not knee deep in angsty teenager, I can see places where I can let Zig shine a little. Places like this:
She wasn’t prepared for the Vespa.
When Meliki had talked about moving her, and how important it would be to move her quickly, she was expecting an armored car, or a pick-up truck, or hell even a talking, flying eagle. But not a Vespa. And not for the boy under the helmet to be such a total goofball. Sure, he had bright blue hair and was covered in tattoos and piercings, but he smiled like Scooby Doo and was waving like an overly friendly five-year-old. Ceira laughed and kissed his cheek, then turned to go back inside. She stopped and patted Brooke’s shoulder, giving her a little push in biker boy’s direction. Her stomach twisted in knots but she took one step forward, and then another, watching Mr. Never-met-a-stranger for any signs of him growing wings or a second head or anything freaky.
All he did was pass her a helmet and smile more broadly. “Hey! I’m Zig. You’re Rainy, right?” His voice was higher than she’d expected, more like a boy’s than a man’s, but then again, she’d been expecting tough guy, from all the tattoos. His boy-next-door attitude did a lot to relax her, though.
“Yeah, I’m-“ she started to answer, but stopped dead when she met his eyes. They were a clear, icy blue, like a sled-dog, but that’s not what threw her. His right pupil was completely blown, like something had torn it from top to bottom. It looked kinda like a lightening bolt, and she felt herself falling when she looked into it.
“I’m… I’m Bro-”
He cut her off immediately.
“You’re Rain, and I’m Zig. Let’s keep it simple like that, ok?”
He kept his tone light, like he was asking her out for ice cream sometime instead of subtly reminding her she was in constant danger.She had thought they’d said this boy was human, but if he wanted to follow the fey rules, she’d go along with it. She nodded and climbed onto the back of the Vespa, wrapping her arms around Zig and holding on for dear life.
Yeah, those eyes? I’d never mentioned them. NOT ONCE. However, that’s just looks. He didn’t really get any Zigness until here:
“Home sweet home,” he said, cutting the engine. She got off the back, so he could dismount and open the gate. “Hold this open for me? It’s kind of a pain ridin’ solo sometimes.” ,She nodded, and moved to hold the gate, appreciating having a sense of direction. Zig walked the Vespa in and tucked it just inside the fence, then turned and gave her an overly flowery bow. “Grazie, donna, you were wonderful.” She laughed at his cheesy Italian accent. This dude was a complete dork. He pulled the gate shut, making sure to lock it again. “I’ll put it away later, let’s get you inside first.”
But favorite scene of the day is this:
He moved his hands a lot when he talked, making Brook back up to avoid his wildly gesturing swings. He didn’t seem to notice, just kept on thinking out loud.“But it should recognize you, since they gave you some of Meliki’s well water. It’s a distilled form of her power, it should mark you as one of ours. Hmm….”
Zig tapped his chin a minute, thinking. Brooke half expected him to pluck at his little soul patch, like some evil villain. He was just so animated- he seemed more like a cartoon than a person. Especially when he stopped tapping, raised his hand up like pulling a lightbulb chain and said “Click,” with a grin. She could practically see a lightbulb above his head.
“Got it. Let’s try this.” He closed the door again, and reached for her hand. “I’m going to introduce you to the Underground, ok?”
Zig ducked his head, looking sheepish. “Our sithen. We call it the Underground, like from Labyrinth?” She blinked, giving him nothing but wide eyes. “Nevermind,” he said, talking quickly to cover up his obvious disappointment. “Just don’t let go of my hand when I make a fool of myself, ok?”
She nodded and put her hand in his, though she couldn’t imagine what could possibly make this goofball feel like a fool.
Much better Zig. Sure, he’s all big heart and business when someone needs to him to be, the instant he can cut up, he will. Life is better when you’re laughing.