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

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

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

Yep, That Critique Response Is Coming Right Up. But First . . .

So I’m behind. The plan is to get the critique response up on Sunday. There were a lot of comments–you guys do good work–and I’m still sifting through everything.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on a lot of different aspects of the book because as one thing shifts, it shifts the thing next to it, and it becomes like a giant box of gears, turning in all directions. And one of the directions it went in was toward the collages. In the beginning, still under the influence of Lucifer, I used Tom Ellis, the star of that show, as my placeholder for Nick. That wasn’t right–no shade to Mr. Ellis who is very good on the show–because that wasn’t my story and it definitely wasn’t my kind of hero. That collage looked like this:
Continue reading

A Word About Curio

One of my worst habits is taking notes on graph paper (I like graph paper) and then losing the paper. Or making so many changes that the whole thing becomes meaningless. And as the words mount up, so does the paper. Then back in the computer I’m making sticky notes to myself, and long pages of notes that are just words that I never look at again.

This is not efficient. Curio is efficient. Continue reading

Zo's First Story Retcon Collage

So I haven’t put any more words on paper, but I’ve figured out the major problem with the first story/chapter which was two-fold:
1. Zo wasn’t doing anything except trying to escape with the kids. I need a protagonist with a goal. And now I know how to do that in this story/chapter/whatever.
2. The mood was so grim, and I didn’t know how to lighten it because, hello, somebody’s trying to kill her. So I collaged with the elements I knew were in there, searching for period illustrations for the people, and by George, I think I’ve got it. All the people illustrations are Leyendecker except for one Mucha and one Coleman:
Continue reading

The Monday Street Collage: More Progress

Since I posted the beginning of the collage, I thought you might like to see the progress. Actually, I thought, “I need a blog post and I have a picture of the collage,” but seeing the progress is also a factor. Again, this is just visual note-taking to keep me in the book; nothing here is set in stone, it can all change, but the stuff that happens in my brain while I’m doing this is so valuable that I don’t care how much stuff I rip off and move around or how messy it is. Not an artwork, a visual notebook. And here’s where I am now . . . Continue reading