Great blog entry on plot and character arc on <a target="_blank" href="http://crusiemayer.com/blog/">the Crusie/Mayer blog</a> this morning. 100,000 words does not a novel make. I'm always aware of where I am in the 3 Act structure. "I have to set this up and introduce this, so that it can build in Act 2..." doesn't matter the length of the story, you have to set up the story in Act 1, build in Act 2, have it all fall apart and come together in Act 3.
Novels where you just follow a character around leave me frustrated as a reader because that isn't plot. Characterization is great, but I want things to happen and I want the things that happen to matter. I want story. I want both, actually, character and plot, because a bright shiny explosive plot with nobody to care about isn't satisfying either. Crusie and Mayer do it right, and I'm glad they're willing to cut those lovely pieces of writing that don't serve the story. It makes for a better book.
Just finished reading a book that forgot about story and plot and wandered around in character, and not the arcing kind, either. So I found that craft entry very refreshing today and I will buy <a target="_blank" href="http://crusiemayer.com/agnes.htm">the next Crusie/Mayer hardcover</a> the minute it hits the shelves.
Now reading <a target="_blank" href="http://www.samhainpublishing.com/thewayhome.shtml">The Way Home</a> by <a target="_blank" href="http://www.njwalters.com/">NJ Walters</a>. She does it right, too. Love, love, love her books. If you want a twelve-hanky romance, buy this book immediately.
Some <a target="_blank" href="http://www.fireworks.com/interactive/fireworks_show/default.asp">virtual fireworks</a> to light up your desktop. They're lighting up mine, in between writing sessions. Hit "the end" on one project before lunch, now pushing for the next. July is a busy month this year, but I have a lot of freedom and I do celebrate that.
There are books I love for the language, the sheer power of the words. One book that bowled me over with prose is <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0553562614/104-7057161-4378312?v=glance&n=283155">Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash</a>. (Contact patches like a fat lady's thighs...) The description of the baddest guy on the planet with the tattoo "Poor impulse control" on his forehead just killed me.
Here's a snippet from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009N5AOO/qid=1151958160/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-7057161-4378312?s=books&v=glance&n=551440">Dangerous Games</a> that I love. (Okay, I love the whole book but I really love this scene.)
Her breath caught. She could feel his pheromones infecting her central nervous system, hot-wiring her cerebral cortex and there was no telling what they might drive her to do. It didn’t disturb her. If he didn’t like whatever rash act biology drove her to, he was certainly able to defend himself. But she hoped he wouldn’t want to.
It's the hot-wiring that does it for me, I think. Yes, this is lazy blogging. I'm up to my eyeballs in pages. But sometimes it's nice to step back from BOOK and look at words. Sentences. Language.
The hero of novella #2 looks like this...love the smile. Doesn't he look like he's Ready To Play?<a title="chet" class="imagelink" href="http://charleneteglia.com/charliwp/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/imageFolio2.cgi1.jpeg"><img width="115" height="96" align="left" alt="chet" id="image694" src="http://charleneteglia.com/charliwp/wp-content/uploads/2006/07/imageFolio2.cgi1.jpeg" /></a>
One of the fun and funny unplanned thing about my 3-novella anthology is that each one has a symbol. In the first, it's the boots I've already shown here. In the second, it's a butterfly tattoo. It's kind of neat to have a visual representation of an important point in the story.
I use my theme songs to get in the groove for the writing day (theme song for novella #2 is Sin Wagon by the Dixie Chicks), but I find the symbol gives me another "hook" for the story. Hey, whatever works to fix the story in your head and get it on the page, that's what I say! Bring on the music, the boots and the butterflies. It works.
This 3 novella anthology has been a very interesting experience. I'm really trying not to say much about Wild Wild West for a couple of reasons. A., no telling how much will change by the time all edits are done and B. it's so far ahead of release that it's not really a good time to post excerpts and so on.
But I really like the people in this book. Each couple sets the tone for their novella and they all have a different mood. Romantic, playful, and the deeper emotions. I'm having a lot of fun with them and I like the way they surprise me. I like the overall arc of the thing, how each mood flows into the next. Wish July 07 wasn't so far away!
There are too many people in my head right now and the only effective form of excorcism is to Finish The Book. I'll be delivering a bunch of projects in a row, thank God, so that should ease the pressure up there.
Had an awful moment yesterday when I remembered a line I'd written recently and COULD NOT REMEMBER which bloody book it was in. (Miss Lonely Hearts, it turns out) Head is too full when I can't keep things straight. Of course, this is why I have files of notes and scenes and potential scenes alongside the story, synopsis and blurb. Because I don't trust my brain to hold it all.
If I start sounding a little incoherent as I approach the finish point (and then again and again), you'll all know why. All these people need to go live someplace else!