Friday, April 24, 2009

7. Madison and her plot

What am I reading? Mary Robeson, One DOA, One on the Way. Calling this woman the queen of snark is only half the truth. She's also an amazing short story writer. When she writes a novel, look out. The world is on fire.

The trouble with Harry. Harry Turtledove is still sitting on the floor next to my bed, under Sherlock Holmes, volumes one and two, next to the complete Lovecraft. No, I haven't finished it yet!

Madison. Grrr. While my life is grinding to a halt around Madison and her perils of Pauline existence, let me show this photo of my daily load. The pale yellow one wards off the toaster oven people, but all the rest are to keep me vibrating at a lower level. And believe me, Madison and I really need it.

I'm editing ahead of this blog, probably as far as page 250. At page 200, I had a Big Plot Reveal. I was sweating the rewrites because the entire novel hangs on the BPR. If it didn't work, nothing was going to work. Genre fiction isn't given to unpredictability and this BPR is bughouse nuts. Readers were going to love it or hate it. No middle ground.

The BPR seemed to work! My critique group, Yolawriters, didn't offer to rip up the pages and light them on fire. I was bemused, becalmed, behooved. And okay, a little bewitched by my own awesome plotting ability. It's a gift. Some people are just born with it.

So, being awesome, I pushed off other plot problems to a later time. You know, like page 250? That's where I am today, stuck in a vortex of indecision, having rewritten the Big Romantic Reveal every day this week. When I write it the new way, the BRR is a knife plunged in the heart. It's operatic. It's staggering and heartbreaking. When I rewrite it the old way, it works okay, kinda slow but okay, and the rest of the novel follows the outline like well-trained soldiers. But the novel feels. . . joyless. There, I said it, yeah people. When I follow the outline, the novel is a joyless, post-apocalyptic wasteland.

While I start a massive rewrite of the last 50 pages, let's remember Madison from a simpler time.

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