By now, it’s obvious to anybody who reads this blog that I am not a natural plotter. Some people think in plots. Those people would be Bob and Krissie. Normally these would be aim-for-them-when-I-drive people, but they are important to my life, so I just have to put up them. Meanwhile, I make tables and conflict boxes and mind-maps and act diagrams and scream a lot. Really, I just want to write people having snarky conversations; a reason for those conversations seems a lot to ask.
Take Lily and Anna, for example. I don’t think Lily is ever going to have a plot. At most, I’m guessing it might be a novella. It’s just a bunch of people I like sitting around eating food I like and flirting. There is nothing wrong with this as long as I don’t show it to anybody (well, except for you guys, you’ll read anything). So I really don’t think Lily is ever going to be a book. But Anna . . .
Anna has been weird. That first 6000 words/Chapter One just wrote itself. I’ve tweaked it since, but it’s essentially the same as the first draft. The second 5000+ was a little harder, but not much, and again, I’ve tweaked it, but it’s pretty much the same, too. This is new for me. Usually I’m slashing the beginning or at least rewriting it severely (Remember Mort? No? That’s because he’s gone) but the first 12,000 or so words are pretty much what they’re going to be, I think. (I could regret saying this.).
But once I got into the third chunk of narrative, I had to start making some plot decisions. As in “Get one.” I had the romance plot and the art fraud plot and one of them had to get first position, and that was the romance. Which is when Bob said, “Forget the art fraud for now, you can put that in later, concentrate on your main plot.” Which is really good advice. So now there’s all this stuff happening (Fairfax, anybody?) that I’m not sure about but that complicates the romance nicely. I’m sure the Girls have a plan that I cannot see yet, so I’ll just write down whatever they send up on the crime subplot and just concentrate on the journey that is Nate and Anna.
Of course, that leads me down some possibly blind alleys. Like the scene in the grocery store (in Chapter 4, which you haven’t seen yet). What the hell that’s doing in there I don’t know, but I remember thinking the same thing about the softball scene in Welcome to Temptation and that turned out to be crucial. And then I did a cast list table with one column for the romance plot and a second column for the crime subplot and realized that the romance plot was Anna, Nate, and Anna’s mom, which is not enough for a developed plot, I think. But there was the grocery scene, with three other characters who were only romance plot. So the Girls probably know what they’re doing.
What I’m thinking is that there are two or three subplots and Anna and Nate have to untangle them. The reason I’m thinking this is that I was rereading Leave It To Psmith, and that has one of the twistiest plots ever (it’s a farce that the Marx Brothers would be in awe of) and I thought, “That would be fun,” so now I have two subplots, one for money laundering and one for an old crime of Grandpa’s, and I’m thinking some kind of art fraud would be good for the third one. I have no idea what any of these plots are. Yes, absolutely come here for writing advice.
In other news, I just made a floor plan for the museum. It’s in an old Victorian, three floors and a basement, and while I was figuring out what and who went where, a lot more information bubbled up from the Girls. They LOVE floorplans and maps.
So I am working. I have no idea what I’m doing, but by god, I’m doing it.