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Things keep churning slowly


TheZot

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Real Life's been kind of kicking my ass lately, and I've not been getting nearly the sort of writing done that I'd like. The rewrite of the last two chapters of Yankee, any of Carpe Diem (though at least I've got the background research I need done for that one), Wild Life, What Lies Beneath, any of the little interstitials with Justin and Rob... all just sitting there.

 

Not that I've been un-busy -- it's been an eventful month, what with having my dog euthanized, the separation, landing a potential new job (awaiting paperwork) and looking for a potential new apartment (awaiting the aforementioned paperwork before leases are found and signed and all). Plus the current job's kicked into high gear as I make sure things are in a good state for me leaving, and there's the time and effort being spent to make time to spend with the kids and work on some sort of reconcilliation. Fun is. I'm not sure it's necessarily a good thing when the soundtrack to Mirrormask seems really appropriate. But it does, and most of it's been on repeat on the iPod for the past week or two making life all that much more surreal.

 

Anyway (and yeah, it does feel good to just write, even if it is only a rambling blog entry) I've been managing to grab bits of time here and there to throw a couple hundred words at one particular story, Dirty Basement, that Ben and William have been in the middle of for a while. And as I've been working on that I've been finding one of those interesting little things that occasionally you run across when you're writing something that's not entirely standalone -- Important Side Things.

 

You know these, or you've probably seen 'em in series fiction. They're people, places, or events that are Important, and will probably show up later on. They're not really foreshadowing, as such, since there's no real guarantee they'll mean anything, but... you just get that feeling they're more than just the standard setting stuff. I'm not talking here about things that you design in to be important or a regular occurrence. Those are different. Yeah, I've some threads running through all the Ben and William stories; some running jokes, common themes, an ongoing background plot, and places that they either refer to or go to regularly. Those are normal, and as a writer you think about them ahead of time and put them in where you need them for whatever need they satisfy. (Long standing enemies, home bases, allies, or whatever)

 

What I am talking about are those things that you write in as the story progresses because they have an immediate and non-recurring function but as you write 'em in for some reason they don't turn out to be as ephemeral as you thought and instead actually have a life of their own. You don't mean for them to be much but as soon as the words hit the page, or your brain turns over the scene enough to nail that part of the plot, something is oddly... solid about that thing or person or place or event.

 

As a for instance, in Dirty Basement there's an obligatory rescue scene (hey, it's adventure fiction!) and one of the people they rescue's a boy, maybe eight or ten. He wasn't supposed to be anything but window dressing, someone for the heroes to rescue and never show up again. But... he isn't. The kid muscled into the rest of the scene, and now instead of just some semi-random kid I've got a 10 year old who's hero-worshipping Ben, dislikes William a lot, and has enough solidity to him that he's bound to show up again. I have no idea why, or how, or even if, but he's got that feeling. His wife and sister are still shades, as is his father, though Dad at least will probably show up later, but this kid just... exists.

 

Strange. Especially since the only reason the kid, and the whole rescue scene, is in the story is because I needed Ben knighted for something that takes place a year later. It was all supposed to be mostly throwaway. Go figure.

 

Ah, well, three thousand words down, probably another four or five to go, and at least this thing will be done. Then it's off to the editors and other things. Woohoo! :)

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That happens to me all the time. I managed to spin out entire story-arcs based on throw-away lines. In fact, when I am revising, I look for all those little spots that i missed, and either eliminate them entirely, or expand upon them if they haven't taken over already.

 

Can't wait to see the revisions and chapters, and the continuing adventures of Kung-Fu.

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