A bit of “Devil’s Revenge” and about writing.


“D’accord, mes ami….you want to know what happened?

That silly Bess was almost dead in the clutches of  the devil Obadiah and how can she give a full account of it?

You want to know the full truth of the matter, oui?  I, Madame Gormosy, will  tell you.

I was almost dead in the bushes, but you can’t kill a devil named Gormosy by crude means, and Obadiah  forgot.   I was playing opposum just to see what would happen next, but as I have told Bess over and over, these devils are stupid.  Not only they do not hold a good  hand at faro, they can’t kill right, either. Well, most of them…

But to give this Devil his due, our friend Obadiah was a bit preoccupied.  He had, as they say, too many irons in the fire.

But is it the truth I was playing opposum? Non, and I will tell you what happened. You must remember that I am still a tricky devil and I will lie to you.

Just for amusement and to see what happens, non?

That stupid Bess thought she saw me in the bushes with my feet sticking straight up like a watered witch, but she was not seeing the truth. I was no where there, at least then, no, not I, Madame Gormosy. Bess was seeing a little troublesome piece of magic of that demon Obadiah. Oui, she was seeing him cast a spell, or conjure a trick of a pile of stones. Hah! That demon has little imagination. He made those field stones look like moi. See? No imagination.

No, he was trying, (and he succeeded) to lure that stupid girl downstairs and out of the house. And it worked. Even though that girl knew she would be in danger, I am touched to the heart. That I, Madame Gormosy, should inspire such affection  she would put her own life and limb in danger to run to her friend, well.

I am touched. But I am not pleased. The story would not have ended in such a way IF she would have listened to both her demon’s advice, commands actually, and my wiser advice.

Mais….she did not. She got ahead of herself and ran downstairs and out that door and into the garden where M. le Demon Obadiah was waiting with a gun and she fell into his trap.”

—From “Devil’s Revenge”, not exactly finished yet.

At the end of 2006, I had finished my first novel, which I ditched because it was something I had started in 1990 and my tastes had changed.  It was too long, dull, ponderous and I just hated it in the end.  But I loved a few of the characters and couldn’t kill them off.

What to do? Write another book, with these same characters and expand them.  Before they were Dutch colonialists in the early 19th century (probably part of the dullness…) so now what?

I made them demons….or most of them.  The narrator was a woman who wasn’t, but she was still dull to my senses.  The demons were much more interesting, and this character, Madame Gormosy was the most interesting of all.

She came from Hell, on a camel, she was the Demon of Lust,  and she was either female or male depending upon her whims and circumstance. She cheated at cards (faro) but overall she had so much the human about her that she won my heart.

I wondered about that.  In a culture where women are still second class citizens, perhaps being both male and female is a good trick.  Madame Gormosy became Louis Gormosy with a shake of a powdered head and a rise in the front of her dress (she wore court clothes of the 1770’s).  She would stand second in a duel, she could teach etiquette to a fumbling girl,  decipher the outlandish behavior of other devils.  She was a good devil to hide behind in a fight.

Writing stretches the imagination, but it also can be frustrating, complex, tedious, all this trying to bring to life a character.  Madame Gormosy must have been waiting in the wings, because she popped into life with all the bloom of a devil who has been listening for her clues and frankly, she took over the book.  Well, she was there when the plot got bogged or trouble was brewing and she came forth with common sense and some outrageous opinion.

I became enchanted with her.  I found she naturally fit into a couple of short stories, “The Devil in Paris” for one, and she also pushed “Devil’s Revenge” onward.  In fact, towards the end of this novel, where there is a long stretch of her not there….the book was not settled, was in alien territory.  Madame Gormosy’s hand was desperately needed.  Her lack of presence, her wit, her charm, her wisdom was missed.  At least by me the writer.

Rereading this part, which is probably 10 chapters, I started to realize that Madame Gormosy was essential to the novel.  So much needed her leavening wit and her controlling hand.  I have decided to ditch those 10 chapters and I hope that Madame Gormosy is pleased:  Mostly she doesn’t rattle me because she stays ‘female’ and I can relate somewhat to her antics.  But I have come to admire, even had affection for her, and she is one of the best characters I have created since I  started to think of myself a writer.

We will see.  Madame Gormosy is up against some terrible devils.  But as she repeatedly tells me, demons are stupid.  Perhaps she is right.

Lady Nyo

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