So I’ve been thinking about pieces and wholes.
Take this house. It has too much stuff in it. I know exactly what I want it to be as a whole–a warm, colorful cottage–but the only way to do that is to fix the pieces, clear out each room, finish painting, clean the place, and bake cupcakes (okay, the last one is just to make me feel whole). It’s just that it’s overwhelming. So today I’m going to try fifteen minutes in each room. I think that’s a Fly Lady thing. Just some progress, that’s all I ask.
Then there’s the book I’m not writing. I e-mailed with Lani and Krissie this week, trying to figure out where the book will start, and Lani rightly said, “Okay, who’s the protagonist, who’s the antagonist, what are the goals . . .” The thing that really surprised me is that she thought Nick was the protagonist because he’s the one with the clearest goal. Nita is the protagonist, but because I gave her a negative goal, she has a blah first scene and no drive. (When I will learn to stop with the depressed heroines with negative goals? Seems like I fight this battle with myself in every book.) So I looked through some of the later scenes in the book to see what Nita’s like when she’s not suffering from poisoned doughnuts and ennui, and realized that she’s very take-charge and driven to protect the people on what she considers her island.
Which made me think about islands. If you’re a control freak cop, an island with only two ways in or out is paradise. And anything new that enters that paradise would be seen as a serpent unti it’s folded into the general concept of “my island.” Nita’s problem is that she sees the island as a whole, a thing she knows and understands completely, and then realizies there’s a lot more to it. She missed that part because she didn’t understand the pieces. Nick understands the pieces, but he keeps finding more pieces. He can handle each piece, but he has a harder time seeing the whole. Nita has a firm grasp on the whole, but she can’t see the pieces. So that’s one thing to move toward: Nick toward seeing the whole and Nita finally seeing the pieces she’s missed. Except that’s backward. Nick is the admin of Hell. He’d be a big picture guy, delegating pieces. Nita would be working with people on a one-to-one basis. Must cogitate on this.
Sort of like writing a book. I don’t write in chronological order, so I see pieces. Then at some point, I have to put them all together to get an idea of the whole. I think trying to get the beginning right is impossible without knowing the whole, but I also think that for myself, I have to get Nita’s opening at least close to right. She’s My Girl, I need her entering stage left with fury and purpose, not bitching and moaning. Nick’s wrong in that first scene with her, too; Lani pointed out that he reminded her of Lucifer from the TV show, which isn’t surprising since that’s where I started, but he’s not like that at all. Looking at them from later in the book is a big help, but mostly I just need to get a grip on who they are in the middle of the book so I can get a better grip on who they are at the beginning.
In other news, my internet is wonky today, so it’s taking forever to post anything. If I disappear for while, that may be why. Grrrr.
And now back to the middle of the book so I can rewrite the beginning. Chronology is for wimps. (Kidding.) (Kind of.) (Really going to make cupcakes now.)