Bob and I are having a discussion.
At the moment, we have solved it with this:
“I’m a ghostwriter. I go where my clients are.”
“And your current client is here?”
“Anemone? No, she’s in Chicago, which is why I must go there as soon as possible.”
“Who again?” he said.
“Anemone Patterson.” There was no recognition on his face, so I went on. “Anemone. Ah nem oh knee. Very famous woman.”
“It’s a very beautiful flower,” I said in her defense. “And also a predatory sea creature. She’s very aptly named.”
He let that one go. “So what are you doing back here?”
I thought it wasn’t necessary to put the pronunciation in there, but he had no idea how to say it. And it does matter that readers know how to pronounce it in their minds.
So do we need that in there?
We are now at 85,000 words on Rest in Pink, looking at being done with the first draft by the end of July. Yes, we’re stunned by the speed of that, too. Also I
browbeat convinced Bob into picking a name for the last book which is now One in Vermillion.
In other news, the NYT did an essay on revising books that have already been published, and while I drifted during some of it, it made some really good points. For the record, I updated a couple of my novels and ended up regretting it. But that’s just me.
Rest in Pink
One in Vermillion
It’s a plan.
We may be getting a little testy with each other about now.
Think of this as the free play post you asked for. Talk about anything. Except apostrophes.
Two moments from today’s collaboration:
So we’re both taking naps. It seems like the right thing to do.
We’re at 60,000 words now. Dealing with the nitty gritty. Like road names:
And then much later:
Those of you who’ve been around for awhile are familiar with Jane and Richard from my writing lesson examples. I believe at the moment, Richard is buried somewhere in Jane’s boss’s backyard while she enjoys her promotion. Anyway, Anemone and Liz are writing a romance novel in Rest in Pink, which has led to many meta moments like this one:
Anemone picked up the folder she’d brought to the breakfast table. It was pink, so I already had an idea of what was in it. “She’s a thirty-three-year-old writer—”
“No,” I said.
“—of romance novels. Why not?”
“Writers writing about writers is not good. It’s like grad students writing short stories about grad students. Very meta and self-serving.”
“Write what you know, Liz.”
“Also writers lead very boring lives, sitting around in t-shirts and pajama pants, drinking Diet Coke and googling for minutiae. You can’t get a story out of that.”
But then Bob, who has no respect for my creative process, pointed out that Richard and Jane were actually Dick and Jane. So I had Liz tell Anemone that, and then they googled for Dick and Jane so they could steal the plots–yes, by then I was way past the book we were writing–and, well, here’s Liz and Anemone talking about the book they’re going to write about Jane and Richard. I’m pretty sure none of this except for the first one will appear in Rest in Pink, but you never know. Also every story cited below is real, including the one with Dora.
So I got my part of Act One done on Rest In Pink, and now I’m looking back at Lavender. In particular at the Act One there which is sloooooooooow. The first act of Pink is 35,321, which is also too long, but this is rough draft, so close enough for now. The finished Lavender Act One? 38,579. Attention must be paid.
A quick look down the scene list with the scene word counts pretty much shows me that Bob is not the problem. Bob’s writing is compact, almost terse. No, I’m the problem. Five thousand words out of my stuff, not his.
So the first thing to do is update the scene list with word counts of the scenes. That’ll show me where I lost my grip. And sure enough there are four scenes where I went over 2500 words. That’s not a magic number for scenes, but for me that’s where readers get tied of reading.
But it’s not just word count. Bob is doing the heavy lifting on the mystery so I’m doing the romance. And to make that work, I need Liz and Vince together as often as possible. And there are six scenes in Act One where they’re together, sometimes only in passing. Three scenes when they’re together for the whole time and focused on each other. How many scenes are there in Act One? Twenty-two. Three scenes out of twenty-two to sell my romance. No.
But there’s also the story to consider. There are a lot of subplots here and Liz’s romance plot interacts with Vince’s mystery plot; I can’t just jettison everything but Liz and Vince (tempting, but no).
So to figure out how to fix this, I need to condense what I’ve written down into sections/scene sequences.
So Scene Sequences for Lavender’s Blue, Act One. It reads like a synopsis but there are no spoilers beyond the first act.
My power cord betrayed me again and I have been unable to log on until now.
In that time you have posted 250 comments. Do you even need me here? Yes, to put up posts. Here, have another one.
In other news, Bob and I have reached 48000 words on Rest in Pink, which I just gave back to him, even though he turns into a pumpkin about eight which is further exacerbated by muscle relaxants because he hurt his back. That’s what he gets for doing things other than writing.
I am now going to read comments and cut the hell out of the beginning of Lavender’s Blue because Rest in Pink starts fast and is very good. You all talk amongst yourselves in the comments (like you need me to tell you that).
Oh, and here’s the beginning of Rest in Pink. I know you haven’t read Lavender’s Blue yet, but Pink is supposed to stand alone. The X’s are the parts where I took out spoilers. I do not count the fact that Vince and Liz are lovers as a spoiler. You all knew that was coming after you read the first scene in Lavender.
So there’s a biker gang in the Liz trilogy that needs a name. Bob suggested “Bad Crusies.” I suggested we ask you for suggestions. So this is a Rust Belt biker gang, headed by a sociopath and being used by bad guys to threaten local businesses. So not a good biker gang, not like Jill’s biker gang.
Suggestions in comments, please. Bob will probably choose the name since this is part of his plot. (You sort of knew it was his plot already, didn’t you? Not much snappy patter in vicious biker gangs.)