I started it by adding some shapes where I wanted deformation, I added some helpers and constrained them using position constraints and look-at constraints. I liked how it was moving, and then I walked away and slept on how I was going to hook all that up to some kind of interface that would make it easier for an animator to work with. The next day, yesterday, I got back to work on it, and had the brilliant idea of using a Position List with multiple XYZ Positions instead of using a ton of helper nodes. That in and of itself made the rig much smaller, with much fewer nodes.
If you're interested in more details about how I did this, some of it is similar to the tutorial I posted earlier, or just drop me a line.