The Unknowable Patience of Readers

 

 I’m looking at Nita’s book in big picture mode now, and frankly, the fun stuff starts in the second act.  Well, it always does because first acts are slow because you have to do some set-up, and you have to tell the story while you’re doing the set-up, and the set-up becomes a weight penalty for the story.  And right now my first act is over 35,000 words.  Since I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to come out over 100,000 words, that’s not the end of the world, but I do worry that’s too long before the Good Stuff starts.  

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Nita Question: Mom

Okay, here’s something that’s been bothering me: Nita’s mom.  I was swinging really wide in the first drafts, which is what you’re supposed to do, but I think I may have swung too wide on her.  For those of you who remember Mitzi, was she a deal-breaker in believability?  I need her nuts and lethal, but . . .  

Bookending Nita

I’ve often said that you can’t write a first scene until you’ve written the last scene, at least not a final write.  You have to know where you’re going to know where to start from, know what happens in the final scene to introduce it in the first scene.  So now that I’ve written the final scene (not finished the book, I just wrote that scene), I can go back to the first scene and do some of the massive cutting and shaping it needs.  I’m looking at it in several ways, but the one that’s most crucial, I think, is seeing how it  bookends..  

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Taking Over the Island

First, thank you all very much, you gave me a LOT to think about.

One of the best ways to focus an idea is to argue with somebody about it.  I’d read through your comments and think, “No, not that,” and then think, “Wait, why not that?”  Some of the time there was a good reason, but just as often I had to stretch my plot to discover that there was a good reason to include that.  My background plots suddenly got a lot deeper not just because you all had good ideas, but because I had to think about them all.  All of which is to say, thank you very much.:

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Listening to Nita

Or in this case, Nita’s soundtrack.

I do soundtracks for my books for the same reason I do collages: to look at the story in a different way.  I start by making a playlist of any song that seems right–Chesney’s and Imagine Dragons’ “Demons” songs were a no-brainer–and trying to find new things–that would be Lenka’s “Trouble is a Friend” recommended by CateM here–and then putting them in a rough order.  Then the soundtrack usually sits for awhile as I write.  

(Image/Poster is by James Gulliver Hancock.) Continue reading

Telling Myself the Story

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. Continue reading

Staring Into Space While Cleaning

I’m getting company this afternoon (YAY) so I’m cleaning, which in this house means getting a backhoe.  The thing about cleaning is, it’s pretty mindless except for the “Why is that in here?” moments and the “I should just get a box of garbage bags and put everything into them” moments.  That means that I am now productive while staring into space, which is what I’ve been doing for much of June because Discovery Draft sometimes comes with a side order of “Why would that happens?” (Because the Girls want it to.)  And “How could that happen?”  And What does that mean? (Who care, write the damn book.)

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