Food and Fiction

I’ve been thinking about food a lot.  About how we think about it, talk about it, choose it, prepare it, enjoy it or feel guilty about it, but mostly how it works in story.   I’ve always said that setting is time, place, and people.  Now I’m thinking it’s time, place, people, and food.   Continue reading

Nita Dodd: Mammon and Max (and Button)

Mammon and Max are fun characters for me because they’re amoral (not because they’re demons, but because they’re just made that way) and not particularly venal.  Mammon hangs out with those who should be stepped on like bugs, but he really only needs slapped down every now and then, or at least have somebody pull him to one side and say, “If you do that, that would be stupid,” to be a fun if occasionally treacherous person to know.

 Enter Max. Continue reading

Act One, Part One: Parallel Scenes for the Beginning

The opening scene of any story should be (if I’m writing it, your mileage may differ) the transition from the stable world into the unstable. That doesn’t mean that everything is hunky dory at the beginning of the scene, there can be a lot of trouble, but it’s the usual trouble, nothing new, the protagonist’s world is still working the way he or she expects it to. And then Something Happens that turns the stable world into an unstable one. Continue reading

The Joy of Socks

I’ve been thinking about socks lately because one of my fave online shopping places has new designs in, and I’ve been buying one design I love–“Fight Like A Girl”–for everybody. And at roughly the same time I’ve started sinking into who Nita is.

I know she wears all black because she’s so driven that she doesn’t have time for clothes, and because it absorbs heat, and because it fits her mood most of the time. Also, if everything’s black, it all matches. But I thought she’d have a secret lust for color, and that her big sister would know about it, and she’d buy her something that was wildly colorful that she could keep hidden. My first thought was underwear, but I’d done scenes with Liz and her t-shirts and underwear and it didn’t feel right.

And then I saw the “Fight Like a Girl” socks, and I remembered that when I’d gone in for the eye surgery, the nurse looked at my feet and said, “You win best socks of the week” (different socks, same store), and I thought, “That’s it. Socks.” And then I started searching for the Socks That Nita Would Wear.

They’re fabulous. Continue reading

So Let’s Talk About the Romantic Moment

It’s Valentine’s Day, which for me is the day that the cinnamon jelly hearts go on sale. Not that I’m allowed to have any, but still, I know they’re out there. It’s also the day I’m doing a romance pass on Nita’s first act. Huh. I just realized that “romance pass” may not be the best term for the rewrite in which I go through and try to remember that I’m setting up a romance-to-come. Which is also probably not a good term to use. Uh, rewrite to foreshadow a future romance? Not as catchy, but then not snicker-worthy, either. Which reminds me, the Snickers in the pink foil wrappers are on sale today, too. Continue reading

So, About Bodies . . .

How’s by all of you? We’re having a blizzard here. The power went out for two hours, but I was already in bed typing, so I just put Mona and Milton under the blankets with me–Veronica has issues and so does not burrow–and we stayed fairly cosy. It was wonderful when the lights came back on, though, along with the heat. I love electricity. And now back to work.

Which is figuring out Nick’s body issues. Continue reading

Setting and Placeholders

Sooner or later, I need pictures of my settings. This can be difficult because I’m making stuff up, so I end up doing really sloppy photoshop work. As with all the collages I use, the setting pictures aren’t art work, they’re brainstorming exercises (while I’m working on them) and touchstones (while I’m writing.) The best thing about them is the process: searching for things that feel like the setting (instead of look like the setting), thinking about what the picture needs, the details that my characters would see, the way the environment around it looks . . . all of that helps me get past “It’s a bar on a rainy cobblestone street.”

The book got far enough this week that I really needed the exterior of Hell Bar. Continue reading

Logical Supernatural

I’m not sure why it’s so hard to get the protagonist right. After all, she’s the character the story’s built on, she should be the no-brainer in the bunch. But possibly because I’m so closely connected to her–she’s my best friend while I’m writing the book–and because I don’t want to hurt her–throw rocks at that woman, Jenny–or because I’m viewing the plot so closely through her PoV, I have a heck of a time getting any distance on her. Which means that common sense is my friend. That is, I look at what she’s doing and ask myself, “Is this what a normally intelligent person would do in this situation?” Then I look at the pressures of the situation–a normally intelligent person does not rush into a burning building, but my protagonist would to save her dog–and at her character arc and try to go from there. What I’m trying to figure out now is how long it would take Nita, an intelligent cop, to accept that the supernatural is real. Continue reading