So after staring into space (along with the fifty other things that had to be done this week) and then losing my computer (I had to run after the dogs and I forgot where I dropped it, so I kept searching the living room which wasn’t a help since it was in the guest room), and getting stung on the bottom of my foot by a wasp (don’t ask), I ended up with an ice pack back in bed, thinking about the antagonist.
At that point, I came to two realizations: Continue reading
May is National Salad Month
I waited until now to tell you so you only had to eat salad for three more days.
The last act of a story has to be lean and mean. The story’s first three acts (or two or four or whatever) have burned away everything but this final push, our protagonist is in the crucible, and there’s only one real mandate: Fight Back.
In a hundred-thousand-word book, my last acts are usually around 15K sometimes less. That’s seven, eight, maybe ten scenes, tops, for my protagonist to pick herself up, get to the antagonist, and end the damn thing one way or another. This isn’t just for pacing purposes, this is for the reader/viewer, too. She’s waited a long time for this, so I don’t stop for anything else isn’t directly related to getting to that climax. This is the top of the roller coaster; don’t slow down on the final drop. Continue reading
Today is an extremely important day in the Argh Universe because it’s Wear the Lilac and Carry Your Towel Day. And this year is especially poignant because we lost the guy who wrote the lilacs, Terry Pratchett, and the guy who voiced the robot who worked for the people who carried the towels, Alan Rickman. Continue reading
I was talking with Mollie today, trying to explain what was going on with the book and the reason I can never say when a book will be finished, if ever, and I explained why sitting out in the yard and crocheting today was actually working.
Because I’m having antagonist problems. Continue reading
Today is Waitresses and Waiters Day.
Tip generously. You would not believe the crap they have to put up with.
One of the things a discovery draft discovers is tone (“the general character or attitude of a place, piece of writing”), which is very close to but not the same as mood (“a distinctive emotional quality or character”). So think of them as attitude and emotion, it you will. The tone of Fast Women is fairly dark, the tone of Bet Me is much lighter and snappier, but I think Bet Me is the more emotional book, and I think Faking It is deeper emotionally than either of them, even though the tone is lighter than both of them. The thing is, I can’t plan tone and mood, they just show up and I have to hope they’re in a good relationship with each other even if they’re very different. Continue reading
So the first move after the crisis is the reset: the protagonist picks herself up and charges back into the fray, changed irrevocably from where she began and now determined to bring down the antagonist and achieve her goal or die trying. (Since this is Person of Interest, “die trying” is not an exaggeration.) And the first three episodes of Season Five did this: the five remaining Gang members (I’m counting Bear) are relatively safe back in their undiscovered subway lair (or in Fusco’s case, the police station), the Machine is relatively back to normal (big asterisk on that one), and the numbers are coming again. So this is the time for the Gang to move from recovery to assault; this is the last act and it has to move swiftly. And with “6741” and “ShotSeeker,” it does. Continue reading
So here’s the problem with last acts: You have to pick up after the splat of the crisis (“Oh, my god, we’ve lost!”) and show how the protagonist charges back into action without stopping to explain too much. My favorite solution to this is one from an old radio series (although this may be apocryphal) about Jack Armstrong who, at the crisis point, falls into a tiger pit and is surrounded by snarling cats who advance on him . . . followed by “Tune in next week!” Then the next week begins, “After Jack Armstrong got out of the tiger pit . . .”
But 2016 has a much pickier audience than the 1930s, so there’s no “after the Machine Gang escaped from the Samaritan forces,” PoI has to show how they did that, which gives us “B.S.O.D.” aka, “The Blue Screen of Death,” which is what you get when a computer (and a big plan to save the world) crashes. Continue reading
So I’ve been thinking about pieces and wholes.