Normally by now I’d have figured out what the hell was going on at the museum, but since this isn’t going to be a book, I can just keep noodling around. Why can’t you just noodle around for a book? Because one of the many reasons people read fiction is to get a tidier version of reality. A book that just meanders, listening to people talk, gets annoying very quickly. This stuff is starting to annoy, especially since every scene with Seb in it has the same damn dialogue–Structure Rule #47 You Cannot Arc What You Do Not Know–but I’m getting the impression that you’re reading these more as short stories than pieces of a novel, so that’s good.
Still, I am feeling the need to put some grit in the oyster, so to speak, so when a new character showed up out of nowhere, I noodled. Continue reading
Wow. Seven weeks we’ve been working on this. Still no clear conflict, and I have no idea what the hell Seb is up to. Except it’s about that ax.
Here. Have some romance.
So remember that brilliant idea (really more of a realization) I had going to McD’s for a Big Mac? It’s this:
Lily has a Five Man Band: Lily, Fin, Bjorn, Van, and Cheryl.
(For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Five Man Band concept, it’s on TV Tropes, but
WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING
That site is a trap, you will be drawn into its infinite links and it will take you hours to escape. I mean, you’ll have a really good time, but the damn thing will suck out your brains and steal a huge chunk of your life. You have been warned. Continue reading
I got so hungry for normal yesterday that I went out for a Big Mac. I’m not a huge fan of Big Macs, but I just wanted to go through a drive-through and get a burger and fries like a normal small-town person who was too lazy to cook. Which meant I had to get in the car and drive into town, and it was a gorgeous day, really stunning with the sun and all the new green and balmy breezes, just Edenic. And because I was driving and happy and about to go face down in fat and protein, I relaxed and my mind wandered back to Lily and scenes started going through my head, bits and pieces, so much fun and then something occurred to me and I almost drove off the road. (I’ll talk about it on Friday in the Lily 6 notes.). I was so enthused I put a chocolate shake on the McD’s order, which knocked me off my socks–not supposed to have that much sugar–and I fell into a really deep sleep and had this incredibly detailed dream that gave me the end of Lily. None of the details or the hard work, you understand, I just know what happens at the end. It even fits in the whole “taking care” theme. I’m pretty sure the Girls ordered that milkshake. Also, I may be a genius.
So this week I worked by going to McDonald’s. What did you do?
Six weeks into Lily and I still don’t know what the central conflict is. I know some of Lily’s troubles, but trouble is not conflict.
That’s okay, this isn’t a book. Continue reading
One of the things that’s really hard about discovery drafts is that they’re what Anne Lamott called “shitty first drafts.” The first time I write a scene, it’s lousy. That’s because I don’t know what it’s about until I see it. I can recognize that its repetitive, that there’s no conflict arc, that the characters don’t change, but I can’t fix it until I write it, almost always badly. Nora Roberts said that she can fix a bad page, but she can’t fix a blank page, and that’s where the discovery draft comes in.
Of course with Lily, there’s no pressure because I’m just writing what interests me, not trying to make a whole book. I do love these characters and that diner, but I have no idea what this is about, and I’ll never have to know because it’s just for Argh. So when I left the Seb-fights-with-Lily scene as boring as it was, I did that because there was nothing fun in it, it was just me exploring that relationship and giving Cheryl a cleaver. I love Cheryl with the cleaver. Seb, not so much.
What did interest me was the Fin-ordering-Lily-outside scene. I really liked that for several reasons. Continue reading
I had a moment of panic–one of many this week on a variety of topics–when I looked at this non-book and thought, “There’s no there there!” Some of you may remember I had a similar moment with Nita. Several in fact. One of the hardest parts of doing a discovery draft is that you’re dancing on air. Remember Wile E. Coyote running off the cliff, doing just fine until he looked down, and then he fell like a rock and usually got run over by a truck when he hit the ground? That’s why you never look down during a discovery draft. If the fall doesn’t kill you, the truck will.
However, five weeks into this I do have to do some cautious looking down. Continue reading
I was re-reading Thief of Time and found this:
“And if you want the story, remember that the story does not unwind. It weaves. Events that start in different places and different times all bear down on that one tiny point in space time, which is the perfect moment.”
That whole page is a great musing on story in general (it’s page 5 in iBooks edition), but that idea that everything rests on that one point, the perfect moment, the obligatory scene (in my interpretation) when the whole story universe completes itself, that, I think, is the key to fiction. (And Thief of Time does ends on the perfect moment.) The problem is that I don’t know what that moment is until I get there. Well, I know it for Nita, but not for Lily. I’ll never have to know it for Lily (not a book), but I kinda want to anyway.
And that means I really need an antagonist in here. Because the obligatory scene/climax needs an antagonist. And then maybe a resolution for an even more perfect moment, but still, an antagonist is key. Continue reading
It’s April 15 but taxes aren’t due. So much for the whole death-and-taxes rule. I have been throwing things out with a vengeance (not yarn or dogs of course) and scrubbing with less enthusiasm, and my yard is starting to not look so much like a blasted heath, so, hey, progress. Also more work on Nita (see proof below) and Lily, this time on the collage (more about that after the jump).
First, what did you do this week?
I know I have to figure out what Sebastian is doing in the plot, but I still have no idea what the plot is here. The characters are shaping up nicely in my brain, but they’re just milling around, serving and eating pie and burgers that I haven’t described yet, vaguely waving their hands in the air. So this week, I decided, Lily had to get a goal. (I did write scenes with Seb, but they’re awful because I don’t know what his problem is. So he just whines a lot. Not good.). Lily’s in some kind of conflict, and she needs to talk to somebody about that so the Girls have a chance to send up some story fodder. She doesn’t know Fin well enough yet, and anyway we already have a Lily/Fin infodump scene. Van and Cheryl know her life. It’s gonna have to be Nadia.