The first half of this chapter didn’t change much during the revision process, except for the alteration of having Buttersby stay on her farm–just move to a different part of it. But I addressed this in the commentary for chapter two, and I don’t have more to say about it. However, this chapter is most notable for the entrance of Ozzy.
I’m really not sure where Ozzy came from, or why he showed up here. Well, that’s not completely true. Right before I first agreed to write Buttersby, I went to a Harry Potter murder mystery party hosted and written by Brandon Sanderson. It was just a gathering of friends, and we all dressed up like characters from the book. (My wife and I were Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson (or whatever her last name is)). In fact, maybe I’ll include some pictures I took of the event.
Denisa and I in costume
The whole group. Heather’s the one in the pink top, and Brandon (for all you Brandon stalkers out there) is Dumbledore, behind her. No. That isn’t his real beard. For some reason, Harry and Ginny showed up ultra casual–that’s Harry in the shorts on the left, with his arm around Ginny.
In any case, at the party, Heather–Brandon’s then girl friend–came as Professor Trelawney, the kooky divination teacher at Hogwarts. Her version of Trelawney was so over the top, it stayed with me for quite some time. (Great job, Heather–in case you’re reading this.)
Anyway, after my writing group read the first draft of Buttersby, they commented on how it would be more interesting if there were more of a supernatural slant on it from the beginning. In the first draft, the mystical elements don’t show up until the Tale and the alpaca dance. I tried to think of a way to inject more oomph and get things rolling faster, as well, so that the book had more of a cohesive feel to it. I came up with the idea of having a prophet show up and warn Buttersby of what was coming. But it couldn’t just be any prophet.
I don’t know why I chose a mouse. I have a thing for rodents–I think they’re funny. In fact, they usually show up in one way or another in each of my books. The Adventures of Barboyhas the main character turn into a squirrel, and Weaver of Dreams has flying chipmunks of death. So maybe it felt natural to me to fall back on a rodent. Then, when I was trying to think of how a mouse prophet would behave, Heather’s performance came to mind. Having that much energy and confidence packed into a body about two inches tall appealed to me. Ozzy was born, and he has since become a favorite of many who have read the book. (If you want a laugh, you should convince Janci to do her Ozzy impersonation some time.) I think Ozzy added a lot to the book, and I’m thankful to my writing group for suggesting that I add more mystical elements. The book is much better for it.
On another note, there’s one other item of interest concerning this chapter. Shawn originally wanted to use the picture of Ozzy prophesying for the cover. His first choice to illustrate this chapter was a picture of Swogger the foul-mouthed pig.
However, when Gwen (the owner of Diamond Triple C Ranch and the funder of the book) saw the sketch of Swogger, she was not amused. Pigs are her favorite animal, and she just couldn’t bear to have them represented so poorly. Her suggestion was to make Swogger more appealing in the picture, but I didn’t want to rewrite his character. I liked him; he’s sort of the anti-Wilbur (from Charlotte’s Web). So instead we went with the picture of Ozzy as it appears in the book now.
That’s it for this commentary. As always, if you have any comments or questions of your own, don’t hesitate to email me at email@example.com Thanks for reading!