Friday, August 17, 2007

Organic writing and structure

Ok, now I know I'm back to roughing out a wip, because all of a sudden I can see other people's mistakes again. Not that I couldn't with my edits, but things tended to blur because I was so damned tired. I'm having a hard time reading the new Brockmann. Other than that it's a re-run of the Bobby Taylor story (loved that one, especially the part where Wes kicks the holy bejezus out of Bobby in the parking garage), I keep seeing the writer behind the writing. I think I'm going to put it down for awhile. It's supposed to be a treat, not a research project.

I missed two paragraphs in what I thought was my polished ms. Thank God for my last post. I was going to post the finished scene, went back in to look for it, and said, "er...I thought I WROTE the joint between the two segments" and that's what I get for writing in segments. So I had to send off my stuff again. (and I'm very grateful to Laura for being so understanding. She's a good sport)

So anyway, got to thinking about growth. Y'know, of manuscripts. How they grow and look for a plot even when you don't have one. I never have one when I start out. I just have this idea. Sort of like with my current book (*wait* gotta savor it. I'm such a stickler on word useage. *book* I have a book!!)

It all started with my life-long fascination with The Pele Defense Fund and the Kapoho Geothermal Well. When I was a kid growing up on the Big Island of Hawaii, my dad would drive us out to view the eruptions. Back then the Chain of Craters road was still open, and we'd drive down through Kalapana, stop at the police roadblock, get out and watch the lava pour past. Little bits would fly through the air and solidify and become "Pele's tears" (little teardrop shaped iridescent balls the size of peanuts) and "Pele's Hair" would fall from the sky in drifts of black silk that looked a lot like Pink Panther fiberglass insulation. It always amazed me that lava fresh out of the volcano was so shiny, like Depression-era carnival glass.

For a good while the State of Hawaii actually thought about an Interisland Geothermal Linkage, but the cost was prohibitive, and while it would work, it wouldn't work enough to make it worth their while.

And now with Kill Velocity, it's this nugget of "runaways, youth rescue missions, and the uber-rich Stalling clan." Because when we moved to Honolulu and I got my first, working at Dole Pineapple with the rest of the sixteen year old's desperate for money, I rode the bus through the Honolulu transit terminal at midnight because I wanted the shift differential.

Lots of kids. Lots of homeless. Not so bad as it is now, but even then--there were a lot of poor kids with nowhere to go and no place to sleep except in the parking garages and under the stairs. They hadn't cleaned up Hotel Street yet, it's better now, but not by much--and it was total Red-light City. Hookers, strippers, pimps, you name it, it was there. The City Market is still there, and I remember taking my husband to get something at the butcher's when we first got married. I thought he was going to faint. He had some kind of major flashback to Vietnam. Yeah--like a little piece of third world Asia only with tourists ala Lilo and Stitch.

But like I said, the story grows and needs structure, and at that point, it can be fitted into Mckee's structural method of acts and Dixon's GMC, although I think GMC is a little too fine a point, not every instance needs a GMC. There does need to be forward linear motion which has to work within the body of the greater work. And for that, I think three act structure works a lot better.

urgh...lightning storm. Need to go because I think my roof is leaking. Stupid roofers. The roof worked great until we got a new one. Sometimes old is better.


Jennifer McK said...

Wow!!! I know my books morph! I'm a total panster and that creates a lot of difficulties. Even I recognize that part of my growth as an author is to learn to plot.
I will. I promise. Someday.

HipFunkyJive said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HipFunkyJive said...

Keep writing!! Keep writing!! (whip cracking overhead) One down many to go. This is just like Shawshank, except Red got out first this time. Guess I gotta make my break later, probably through raw sewage as well. Forward momentum! [spacecowboy]

jodi said...

Hey, Jen, plotting isn't so bad. :)

YOU!!! Cowboy...thanks for saying something, man. I'm damned glad you stopped by and hope you find you little carving tool soon. You know you have friends. Don't get all depressed and maudlin, right?