So I’m back in Discovery Draft for the rest of the book, and it’s terrible. I look at it and think, “Explanation, chat, more chat, something happens!, explanation, more chat . . .” And here’s the really bad part: no antagonist action. It’s just Nita and Nick trying to sort out the aftermath.
But then, it’s Discovery Draft.
The good thing about having worked through the first act is that I know it’ll be fine. That’ll be four thousand drafts from now, but it will be fine. There’s some comfort in that. Nora said once (paraphrasing here) that she could fix a bad page but she couldn’t fix a blank page. The discovery draft is just the first part of the journey, putting the colors on the page, so I’m settling in to admire all the bright, fun scenery as I wander through my story (there’s a dog!). My mind is actually a fun place to be.
So I’ll get serious later and remember I have antagonists after I’ve written my next twenty pages of Rab explaining to Nita how Hell works.
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
Part of the discovery process for me is finding images that evoke character. They don’t have to look like the character although that’s always helpful, but the pictures I use as placeholders have to capture the attitude and personality of that character. When I thought about the Demon Island Historical Society, I thought of this Grant Wood painting:
Okay, before you read the rest of this post, what color are demons? Not in Nita’s book, in real life. When you think of demons, cartoon demons, movie demons, whatever, what color are they?
Decide before you read the rest of this.
Setting is really important to me, both in fiction and in real life, and Atlas Obscura sent me a link to the perfect Crusie house this morning. I’ll never be able to use it in a book because it would take 30,000 words to describe it. The short article points out some of the phallic shapes, but completely misses the vaginal window and the fallopian tube front door. And the Eve figure is fantastic, pretty much what I’m hoping every Crusie heroine feels like at the end of the story. Continue reading
The process of moving from a discovery draft (which is just writing to see what the story’s about) to a truck draft (which is an early draft that isn’t great but is probably good enough to publish if I get hit by a truck) is mostly about deconstructing a scene by beats to see what the hell is in there, and revising that to what’s supposed to be in there, once I’ve gotten a good overview of the act or entire book. I’ve done about a zillion drafts of the first breakfast scene, but they were all discovery drafts. It’s time to get serious about this sucker. For one thing, this scene over 3900 words and for another, it goes nowhere. it’s an overwritten, wandering, bloviating mess.
Here’s the rewrite analysis:
So this week, I cogitated. My first act was too long and too wordy. My fourth PoV was introduced too late. The threads of the main plot and the subplots weren’t coherent. The book didn’t know what it wanted to be.
So I opened my Nita Curio file and did some mapping. Story mapping for me (not necessarily for anybody else) is taking the essence of a scene–Protagonist and Goal, Antagonist and Goal, who wins, what plot does it move?–and reducing it down to a Curio card, and then arranging the cards in chronological order in columns that identify the setting. My curio cards look like this: Continue reading