Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Scorpions of Zahir - An Unwanted Character - by Christine Brodien-Jones

When we write books, not all our characters can be warm and fuzzy, and not all of them should be, particularly the villains.  But sometimes a character turns up who's just plain annoying.  This happened in the early days of writing "The Scorpions of Zahir," when a character named Agdz elbowed her way into the story.  Agdz was ageless, appearing at various times as a young girl, a middle-aged woman and an old crone.  In all her guises she was tall and stringy and downright creepy, following Zagora and her brother Duncan around the Casbah in Marrakech, bugging them because she knew they possessed a magical stone that, like Gollum and the ring, she was totally obsessed with.
Illustration by Kelly Murphy

I did the only thing I could think of.  I turned Agdz into a giant scorpion.  Then, in a somewhat comic scene beside an underground river, chubby Duncan slips as he runs away from her, skidding into her vast scorpion body and knocking her into the river, where she sinks beneath the bubbling surface.  But even turning her into a monster didn't do the trick.  In the end I wrote Agdz out of the script, replacing her with two characters: Mina, a fiery young girl from an ancient desert tribe, and a mad scientist named Olivia.  Hopefully that's the last I'll ever see of Agdz: a scorpion-skeleton floating down underground rivers beneath the Sahara. 

Thanks to Kate Hannigan for featuring my book on her very cool blog Author Of.  Kate says:
"Want to take the kids on an exotic adventure, but haven't got the budget? Well there's hope! Christine Brodien-Jones' thrilling fantasy/adventure "The Scorpions of Zahir" is sure to thrill those middle-grade readers!"


  1. Don't you sometimes wish you could turn the annoying people in real life into scorpions?

  2. Hey Holly, sounds like a good idea to me! (only, er, maybe not giant ones!)