So the only way this check-in-every-Friday-on-the-book’s-progress works is if I’m completely honest, so I’m going to be completely honest.
But I swear to god, anybody who laughs is going to get barred from commenting. IT’S NOT FUNNY.
Okay, it’s kinda funny.
Remember those posts I did on Lucifer?
(STOP LAUGHING RIGHT NOW.)
Yeah, that story was completely unwrite-able. (Yes, that’s a word. I just made it up.)
First of all, the Devil as a romance hero makes no sense; how can an immortal avatar of punishment form a viable committed relationship? No, make that second of all. First of all is that I’d have to define what the Devil actually is and what he’d be doing on Earth–the whole I’m-taking-a-vacation-in-a-club has no motivation–and then what Hell is, and what’s happening down there since Dad left, and I have no desire to write a story with scenes in Hell, especially a Hell I’ll have to figure out.
Then a romance between the Devil and a mortal woman doesn’t work for me; it’s like a boss and employee or a professor and a student; the power dynamic is too unbalanced. This is not 1950, I’m not writing a supernatural nurse/doctor romance. And yes, I was going to rip off Pratchet and do the granddaughter of Death thing, but while that works beautifully in the fantasy satire of Discworld, it’s not going to work in the real world I’d want this in because Death is not a character like the Devil, it’s a state of being. The only way having Death works in my story world is if Life is there, too, probably dressed in white and riding a unicorn, and that’s not happening.
So the hero and the heroine and the relationship of that idea are not workable. It was just a game I was playing here because I was so annoyed by the pilot of Lucifer (and then the second episode and then the third episode and then I gave up, Tom Ellis and Rachael Harris notwithstanding). That was it. It was a dumb game.
So I went back to work on You Again, but these damn people kept talking in my head. I mean, they would not shut up. I’ve been here before, my hard drive is littered with pieces of stories from characters who just had to get one scene out of their systems, and once I wrote it down they left and never came back. That’s clearly what I had to do here.
So I wrote the first scene, Nita’s scene, showing up at the crime scene where two people got sprayed with bullets and one walked away unscathed, but the only people she talked to in that scene were her new partner (she’s a homicide detective) and her brother, the Medical Examiner. I really loved her brother–big iZombie influence there–and the partner had potential, if only as a foil.
But I still had the devil character in my head, so I kept going and wrote the second scene where the devil is telling Vinnie, the bar owner (clubs are not good places to develop community, so in my world it’s a bar) that he’s taking half ownership and in return he’s going to transform the place. The bar is called Hell right now, and it’s full of flames and pitchforks, and the devil explains that it’s an insult to a very fine, very old institution and then Nita walks in and he is not instantly attracted to her but he is curious . . .
It’s a slippery slope. Because then I couldn’t quite get Nita right in my head, and Tom Ellis kept showing up as Lucifer, except I’ll be damned if I call him Lucifer, that’s just too pretentious, and there was nothing else to call him, plus all of the character problems I described above, so no. I closed the file. That was done.
Then I made the mistake of going to work in earnest on my office, which meant a lot of painting and moving furniture and sorting books and hauling trash and none of that occupies my mind. So it wanders. It would have been so nice if it had wandered to that ghost-and-murderer-filled house on the Ohio River, but no, it went back to that damn Nita story and by the time the bookcase and the library table were swapped and the trash was out, I had solved the character problems. And the what’s-happening-in-hell problem. And I had an avatar of Nita that when matched with the Ellis avatar gave me a great oh-no-not-you couple. So I got out Acorn and made a mini collage, and while I was moving images around, my mind was soaked in the story and I started to see the shape of it.
By Tuesday I had the turning points in the relationship and I had Nick’s antagonist (as in Old Nick) and his turning points. They were just there.
Then Nita’s mother showed up in my head, and I realized I had to get all those details out, so I opened VooDooPad and started a wiki to keep everything straight. Four pages: Characters, Plot, The Real World, The Underworld. Nineteen characters so far. Two main plots (romance and mystery with probably romance coming out on top as the final main plot) four subplots.
So I have fifteen thousand words of rough draft, plus several versions of digital collage in Curio (if I start a scissor-and-glue collage, it’s all over) and a VooDoo Pad Wiki. It’s all neatly organized in one folder that’s going in Dropbox so I can get back to You Again which is actually publishable, or will be if I ever finish it, which I will do as soon as I get all these damn demons out of my head, which could take awhile because I just ordered four books on demons from Amazon.
I don’t want to hear about how this is the book I should be working on. Honestly, I do not, so don’t start with that because it’s just annoying. I don’t even want to write this book, the problems I’d still have to solve would be huge–I still don’t know a damn thing about police departments or bars and I’d have to make up a city because I’m not researching one–I just need to get it out of my head. It’s fun to write, but that’s just because it’s an early draft–they’re always fun–and once the heavy lifting started, this story would make writing You Again seem like writing Dick and Jane Have a Cookie. I can’t keep doing the fun part of writing, the beginning, and then wandering off to start something new. That’s how I ended up with six freaking books in progress.
So that’s why I didn’t make progress on You Again this week. But I wrote a lot, so I’m counting it.
[One thing still nagging at me before I can stick this on my hard drive and lose it forever: a title. Something that says love story with demons. The working title is Nick and Nita: A Love Story with Demons, but that seems too on-the-nose. Not that it matters because I am not writing this story.]