I’m switching The Office and Book Done Yet around because it makes more sense to follow Craft Wednesdays with talking about the book I’m writing. Also end-of-the-week for office stuff just seems more logical. Or not. Pictures of progress tomorrow; discussion of Nita’s book today.
I’m still not sold on the idea of writing the Nita book, but since it seems to be occupying my mind, I decided to take a hard look at the real problems of writing it. Of course, all of this is more fun than actually finishing a book, so I’m fairly sure I’ll be back to You Again shortly, but still, problem solving . . .
So the problems as I saw them last week:
1. The Devil as hero. I don’t do those swaggering, macho Alpha anti-heroes (see Lucifer the TV show), so just no.
2. The heroine. What kind of idiot would fall in love with the Devil? I personally feel the Devil is responsible for Donald Trump, so no, not attractive.
3. The unequal balance of power between the supernatural king of Hell and my heroine who’s a police detective. Which brings us to
4. I know nothing about police departments.
5. I have neither the time or the interest to research a city to put this in.
Then add to that:
6. Any time you’re dealing with Hell and the Devil, you’re dealing with God and the reward/punishment assumption of an afterlife, which has always struck me as a human construction. (God gives us free will to choose. Then if we choose what he/she doesn’t like, we’re punished in hell for eternity. So much for respect for free will. “You can do anything you like as long as I approve of it.” No.)
7. The thematic implications of this kind of story are cosmic; I tend to write to the personal.
8. This story falls entirely into my TV watching story sphere, which means I’m likely to be derivative even if I’m not trying to be. Lucifer is obviously one, although I’ve gotten so far from the original concept that the only parallels that still remain are the male protagonist is the Devil, the female protagonist is a homicide cop, and there’s a driveby shooting at the beginning. After that, it goes in a different direction completely. (I think. I stopped watching after Episode 3.) But the influences of iZombie and Grimmare clearly in there, too, and that’s a worry.
(I’d also have to research demons and hell and the mythology of the Afterlife, but I love that kind of stuff, so not a drawback.)
So here are my solutions so far.
1. The hero. He’s not the Devil, he’s the Devil which is an office like the President with a term limit of 2000 years. And he’s have a hell of a time because while he’s extremely efficient and has made Hell a much better place to work, he’s not a demon, he’s a dead human, and a large part of Southern Hell is really bigoted about things like that, floating rumors that he’s not really dead.
2. The heroine. She doesn’t fall in love with him, she finds him obvious and obnoxious and overbearing, which he is because he’s been running Hell for five hundred years. It’s not until he’s been taken down several thousand pegs and she really needs his help that she starts to trust him. Also, to counterbalance the ridiculously suave and goodlooking Tom Ellis who would not get out of the way for Matt Ryan (at least, not so far) I found a good avatar for her that gives me a great deadpan starting place for her. Nita Dodd: Not Impressed with Your Flash, Devil-Dog.
3. The imbalance of power. He’s a dead human. She’s has a supernatural power. He’s basically an administrator, she’s an action heroine. The only way they can save the world is if they work together, balancing their strengths. Really, the minute I made him human and dead, the power dynamic balanced on its own.
4. I still know nothing about police departments, so no fix here.
5. I don’t want to research a city, but brainstorming how all of this supernatural stuff came to be gave me the idea of an island city in North America. Maybe in one of the Great Lakes. Using Mackinaw Island and an island city in South Seas (I forget where for the moment) as models to build on. So I ordered books on what a city is and how it’s planned and on Mackinaw in particular to use as a guide, and the whole idea of an island city appeals to me and gave me a logical back story. So that worked.
6. I reject the whole idea of punishment in the Afterlife that’s not of a piece with the idea of a fair and benevolent Creator. But I can deal with idea that the spirit has to go SOMEWHERE, and the idea that the Afterlife is a place that has to be administered which is why getting chosen as The Devil is the same mixed blessing as being elected President. Huge power, itty bitty minds to deal with. So council meetings and speeches and warring factions . . . yes, the election might be influencing things here.
7. The thematic implications come way down once I made an analogy between that and Congress. It’s no longer about the Meaning of Life. Now it’s about the Meaning of Power with a not an insignificant subtext of anti-human/anti-demon bigotry. I can deal with those percolating in the background while I write story.
8. I’m just going to have to be hyper-vigilant not to fall back on the characters and plots of the TV shows I love. I pretty much lifted Nita’s brother from Ravi on iZombie, although I’m sure he’ll become his own person soon, and the whole human/Wesen thing from Grimm is a big influence in the way I’m working out the story. But then the whole human/Wesen thing comes from a basic intolerance theme, which fits nicely into the election story happening now in which one side is flagrantly racist and doesn’t see anything wrong with that and the other side is having a hard time completely wrapping its mind around diversity, too.
All of which means, the book is possible. Maybe. I’ll have to find some kind of quick and dirty source for police department basics, but otherwise, problems solved.
Here: Have a mini-collage: