Trudy 9: Prying My Mind Open and 12000 words.

Bob pointed out earlier this evening that I am rejecting all his help on Trudy without even considering it. He’s right. I look at everything he says and think, “Background story, not Trudy’s,” without considering that what’s in the background might illuminate Trudy. And in fact, it did, although Trudy’s starting to turn into the Expostion Fairy. It’s like that scene in Gremlins where Phoebe Cates talks about how her father dressed up like Santa and got stuck in the chimney and died and that’s why she hates Christmas. Funny as hell in the movie, but not quite what I was going for here.

Maybe it’s a tone problem.

But the problem Bob and I are struggling over is one plot move that I think is essential and that he keeps pointing out, rightly, makes the rest of the story very difficult to motivate. So I’m creating my own problem here because I’m clinging to this plot point and I can’t really tell him why. Well, I can, but as he pointed out, rationally and cogently, I can accomplish the same things in other ways that won’t make my plot ridiculous.

So I should try to plot this by taking out that point and approaching it the way he suggests. Except that approach knocks the plot off, I think. It just feels wrong. And while it is true that I am stubborn as a pig (he did not put it that way), I think when I hold onto something this instinctively, it’s because it’s important. I can completely understand why my pig-stubborn insistence on that plot point while asking him for help is making him want to drive six hundred miles with a shovel (he didn’t write that, either), but I think when you know something is right, you just go with it. Even when your professional better half e-mails you and says, “YOU’RE WRONG.” (He did write that.)

But then, of course, you solve your own problems since you’ve driven your writing partner to ALL CAPS in his frustration with you. And then pray he’ll forgive you when you come back later and say, “Could you look at this action stuff to see how lame it is because I really am bad at this and you’re great at it.” Fortunately, he’s a very patient and forgiving soul. So I have my hopes.

You know, it’s always hard, but every time it seems worse.

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11 thoughts on “Trudy 9: Prying My Mind Open and 12000 words.

  1. My god! But the end product! You always make it look so effortless and carefree and cheerful! And they *just* *keep* *getting* *better*. Maybe you fulfill all those 60s sitcom artists — (cue faux accent) “a true artiste must suffair for her art.” Whatever you’re doing, you’ve certainly gotten results before, and I have no doubt you’ll get ’em again. Love your books, and thanks for sharing the process in your blog!
    M. Haller Yamada

  2. I have really enjoyed “suffering” along with you. Very funny stuff at times…and situations any writer (struggling or not) identifies with.
    thanks

  3. Jenny, you are right when you say that clinging to something when it seems to be wrong probably means that it’s important and should be kept. I’m not a writer, but I have had the same sort of thing happen to me when making a decision. The decision is wrong, everyone suggests changing it, I keep saying no, I know it’s wrong, but….
    Sometimes, I do have to change the decision, but other times the gut instinct is the right way to go.

    Try flipping a coin about whether or not to make the change. Heads, don’t change it. Tails, change it. Try it and see what your gut says about the result. Then go with your gut.

    And we would all read your grocery list so don’t worry so much -)
    Mary

  4. LOL. Ruffling Bob’s feathers is a good thing occassionally. You must be on to something if it drives him crazy because surely the hero would also be driven crazy? You haven’t mentioned the hero much BTW!!

    So glad I’m not the only writer suffering, just wish I could measure up in other ways 🙂

  5. I’m a fan but most definitely not a writer so I have no clue about the process. All I can say is that I love your stuff and I’m sure that Trudy will be great, sooner or later.

    Anyway, my only thought is put a dachshund into the story. I got hooked when I read Fast Women; Marlene was such great comic relief and was real enough to make everything else (plot, characters, etc.) seem “real.” I then read everything else of yours that I could get my hands on. Fabulous-modern Georgette Heyer!!!

  6. Is there a 3rd option you haven’t considered???
    BTW I absolutely love your characters…your women are REAL.
    real neurosis, real sarcastic just laugh out loud funny.
    Thank you for writing!!
    i have specific scenes in every book that are my favorites!!!
    so whatever you decide on this plot we will buy and read so don’t beat your head in the wall (so much) -formerly from NE columbus, OH

  7. It really doesn’t make any difference what kind of toy it is…the value of the toy is in the heart of the child receiving it.

    What is Trudy’s motivation for hanging onto the point you’re sticking to? Turn it around, look at it backwards. Turn your shadow box at an angle and look again. Just because it’s making everything difficult is no excuse for leaving it. My god, no one would stay married if we all went that road!

    If you’re up until 2:00 in the morning doing this, maybe you should walk away a little and de-stress. Paint a target on a tree and throw reject slips at it. Hard to do unless you tape them to rocks. Very satisfying when they go ‘thunk’, rip, shred (heh, heh).

  8. Regarding Diane’s suggestion for inserting a dachshund in the story, I have one I’d be willing to loan this week…I’d probably want him back, though, ’cause, despite my current frustration with him, he really is a sweetie.

  9. I agree with the feeling of it being important, then in the end, it probably is. I have no doubt you’ll figure it out and the result will be as smashing as always.

    Bob, don’t yell. What’s worse than a frustrating woman? A frustrating woman that’s crying. Hmmph.

  10. Ok- Jenny is right most of the time. As the cover issue today for Don’t Look Down has showed. The best course often comes in a direction not expected from the conflict of disagreement.
    So I think the tactical nuclear weapon I have now suggested she put in her Christmas story will work quite well.

  11. Nuclear weapons and Santa Claus all in one short story—now isn’t THAT a warm fuzzy! Now I see why Jenny is so adamant about keeping HER plot point (though the addition of a dachsund has some appeal to me also, I don’t think that this story is going to be long enough to develop another Marlene!) The nuclear weapon would be handy if Trudy was looking to destroy all the commercialism that Christmas seems to be about any more. What ever happened to the TRUE meaning of the holiday any way? Joy to the world, Peace on earth, yada yada yada. Hmmmm–does that nuclear weapon come in pink?

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