So I have now accumulated enough Nita plot that it’s all over the place. Think putting together Ikea or any multi-part kit: You have all the pieces but they’re all spread out; you know how to put them together, but you keep checking the directions; you’ve counted the connectors and you’re pretty sure you’re short a couple, except you’re doing it all in your mind, which cuts down on losing the screws, but ups the screw-up level. It’s time to take a step back and consider the big picture.
That’s when I tell myself the story.
“This story is about Nita who loves the island she lives on and the people who share it with her and who is determined to protect it and them. Then one day, a friend of hers is killed, and as she investigates she gets a new partner and meets a man who’s not real and two guys who are green . . .”
And then I just keep going, trying to mention everything I’ve already written and how it fits in. It’s not a synopsis; those are much shorter and much more efficient. This is me, telling myself the story so I can get a feel for the shape of it. I’ll go back and change things as I remember them, fill in details as I think of them, find the big plot holes and put asterisks on them, all just trying to get the shape of the story in my head.
And along the way, miracles occur. For example, I now know what Nick found when he was going through that desk in the nightclub. (Remember the nightclub scene? I posted it ages ago.) I backed into it when I was thinking about another problem: “Wait, how do they find out about X?” It’s in the desk in the nightclub, of course. I’ve solved problems I didn’t know I had, too, like how does everybody know Nick’s the Devil when he consistently says he isn’t (yet)? Because when he got to town, somebody recognized him and told a key character who passed it on to Witherspoon, who assumes it’s a joke and mentions it to Mort, who calls Nita . . . . I mean, sometimes the Girls are just geniuses, that’s all there is to it.
Something else odd happened while I was half asleep, waking up this morning, and thinking this through: I called Nita “Sophie.” (Not to be confused with the Sophie from WTT.) It’s always been one of my favorite names, but she was so much softer in my mind this morning because of the name change that I seriously considered it. Then I woke up the rest of the way. I’m not sure I want Nita softer. More likable, maybe, but not softer. The woman is going to be sleeping with the Devil, she’s going to need all steel she can muster.
So I’m still telling myself the story, smoothing it out. The climax is a little long–lotta stuff to wrap up there–and the beginning runs way long, but there’s definitely a book here, if I can keep all those plots in the air without dropping one. It’s getting closer. I’ll probably only have to tell myself this story another dozen times until it makes sense in my head. Hey, it could be worse.
I could have a job that required me to put on underwear.