Asshat as Signifier

Two things converged in my brain today: I’m reworking Act One of Nita and remembered that somebody here objected to the word “asshat” which is used repeatedly throughout the book, and I found this AV video on the etymology of the word.

BUT it put some people off.  So I should just cut it.  But I need a signifier for Nita, something that’s as sharp and as out of bounds as she is without being off-putting, and I like “asshat” for that because it: Continue reading

Nita’s Punch List

When a contractor gets the big stuff done on a job, she or he and the homeowner makes a punch list: a list of all the little stuff needed to completely finish the job.  Technically it’s anything that did not conform to specifications, but it’s the little stuff, too, that just got lost in the big tasks.  It’s about this time in a book that I do a punch list for all the things that I’ve forgotten or let drop, changed in one place but not another, forgot to layer in, details that are important but not addressed yet, etc.  I have a much more complex list of big issues to solve for character, plot, and theme, but the punch list is little stuff that’s still important.  Such as . . .

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Writing an Alpha Hero in the Age of the Dickhead

I have a problem with the Alpha hero and it just got a lot worse.

You may not have noticed this, but there are a lot of powerful creeps out there–Weinstein, Rose, Moore, Franken (break my heart, you bastard)–and a lot of people pointing out that “good-old-boy” does not mean “molests women and children” (and men, just ask Terry Crews).  So of course  now is when I wander into Alpha hero territory, and I’m trying to figure out how to do this because “Alpha hero” often means “Dickhead,” especially the ones from seventies who did a lot of “Whoops, sorry, I though you were a whore and that’s why I raped you” stuff.   Sarah Wendell, quoted here, says of Alpha heroes, “Not only are they super powerful, controlling, authoritative — and also often shirtless — they take care of everything.”   I can go with that definition, it’s the “let me force myself upon you because your body is something I deserve” that makes me want to kill them all.   Yeah, if you touched her without a go-ahead, you’re a Dickhead.

And now I’ve written myself into a situation where I have to write  a Dickhead an Alpha hero. Continue reading

To Chapter or Not to Chapter

My distaste for chapters is well-known, but I always comply.  This time I’m thinking maybe not.  Nita takes place from Tuesday very early morning to Sunday morning.  I was thinking about going with Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday as headings to break up the book because that would help keep people oriented to the passage of time, especially since it’s a timelock plot (Nick has to become the Devil at midnight on April 2).   One problem, “Tuesday” would be 52,000 words. (It’s a long book.).   Sunday will be about 2000, so it’ll even up a little, but still, that’s a long first section, over 200 pages.   What do you think?

Nita’s Soundtrack, Revised Nov. 2017

One good thing about finally knowing the whole book, I also know the soundtrack, not just the songs that sound like they belong, but the songs that actually inform the different acts and plot moments.   Taken together, they make an odd playlist, but as background music for the book, they’re a help to me for  mood and character. They’re basically the aural version of collage, a tool that helps me stay on track with the world and the people in it that I’ve created, not meant to be a work of art. Continue reading

Nita Research: The Lemmon McMansion

Pictures can help me write a thousand words, so I do a lot of google-search.  This time it lead me to Kate Wagner’s McMansion Hell, an outstanding blog about the infernal large builder-designed houses that are too big, too ugly, and too poorly built to deserve anything but Wagner’s biting criticism (Zillow once tried to shut down the blog because it was too truthful. They failed.)

I started my search because I had this line in the book: Continue reading

Visual Discovery Drafting

Krissie and Toni and I talked about the future and the Monday Street books last weekend, and that sent me back to the VooDooPad wiki we’d set up for the entire world of that series.  I hadn’t been back there for three years, so a lot of it was out of date, including the diagrams.  And since in my story, Cat lives in the church, I went back in and redid the church diagram I’d done to show Toni the layout since her Keely was going to be moving through the different levels, too.   And just like that, I was back in the story and I remembered how important those visuals are to me.

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Avoiding Annoying Titles

So I wrote most of the Zo stories and called it Zo White and the Five Orphants.  Then Toni and I started on Monday Street about three years ago, and since Monday Street follows Zo, I thought maybe they should be place names, so I changed Zo to Paradise Park, which is the park across from the house they take over.   Only now we’ve got three books and the place names are not working, unless we do Monday Street: Catarina, Monday Street: Sophronia, and Monday Street: Keely.  Is that annoying?  If feels kind of annoying.

What’s your pet peeve about titles?  What should a title do?  Feedback, please.   We’re only going to be working on this for the next couple of years so . . . uh, no rush.