Friday, December 09, 2005

Constructive Blog Surfing

So, here’s the dilemma I’ve been facing with regard to my current WIP (which is titled “Leftovers” by the way). First, a little backstory.

You guys who’ve been reading my blog for awhile know that in the past I’ve been more of a “pantser”, i.e., I write by the seat of my pants. Then I took a plotting workshop and decided for this manuscript (my third, but who’s counting) I’d make a serious effort to see whether I’m really a “plotter” in disguise. So I did a bunch of prep work before starting to write, including a 10-page synopsis and an Excel spreadsheet that lays out most of the scenes and an estimate of their corresponding page length.

Well, guess what? It turns out that when you hone down “Rose moves in with Sam and his daughters” to the actual scene, stuff happens. Bad stuff.

Like who ARE these daughters? What do they look like? What are their issues? How do they fit in? I mean, really. They were supposed to be minor characters, not integral to the plot.

Okay, so as reported in an earlier post, thanks to Jenny Crusie’s blog, I got a handle on the daughters and I continued to move forward.

Then, BAM. The creative door closed.

It took a couple weeks before I realized these damn daughters are to blame. I didn’t set out to write a book populated by children, and despite their new role in my heroine’s character arc, I find writing them tedious. I keep wanting to scream, “Get out of the way—go haunt someone’s YA (young adult) novel!” even though I’ve come up with the semi-creative idea of making them oddly stepford-like.

For about a week, I deliberated ditching them altogether. Yep. I considered tossing ALREADY WRITTEN PAGES and rewriting loads of scenes, just to get rid of these bitches. I’d find ANOTHER way to bring Sam and Rose together, minus the kids.

Thank God, I’m a regular reader of Miss Snark’s fabulous blog. The other day, a post of hers touched on a lesson I’d learned but forgotten. (Damn memory—see, this is why I re-read craft books all the time.) Anyway, while answering a Snarkling’s question about freshness, she used the following illustration:

"blonde bombshell"
"evil banker"
"snarkolicious poodle"

You want evil blonde, bombshell poodle and a snarkolicious banker.

That’s when I had an AHA moment. What if I flip the concept of stepford children so that they’re only that way when Dad is around? Hmmm…and write them as the children from hell when he’s not?

Now, THAT could stir up loads of trouble for my heroine and make the kids a lot more fun to write about.


Charity said...

I think you are on to something my dear! Love Miss Snark btw!

If there is no conflict with the kids you happen to not like it would be very hard to write about them...wtg!

Carol B. said...

I'm loving it! I remember that Snarkolicious post, too. Good luck with the Jekyll/Hyde kiddies.