So, thinking about teams again: one character I really like is the goofy-but-loyal sidekick who comes through big. Sam Axe from Burn Notice is one of my favorites. And image-searching for pics for this post gave me such a yearning to re-watch the series that I’ve got the pilot playing in the background now. I love every single one of the main characters; it’s interesting to think that I almost quit after the pilot (only stuck with it based on a friend’s recommendation).
This morning I went through the closet in my old room at my parents’ house and pulled out some old toys for my son: some Buffy the Vampire Slayer action figures, a Harley Quinn doll (with two hyenas!), and a very perplexing Jonny Quest figurine (Hadji in… a mech suit? With a machine-gun arm?). The kid is pretty dang into them. And that’s not the only connection between past and future that’s going on today.
I haven’t really written much (any) sci-fi before, but one of my current WIPs is “cli-fi,” aka “climate change fiction.” It’s about as sci-fi-y as The Hunger Games, in that I’m aiming for a world that seems basically like ours only after some kind of disaster, with some technology that’s basically magic and just there for plot reasons (sort of like in Star Wars, only there’s no Force. Yet?).
Obviously even when you’re writing something set in a contemporary world, you have to do worldbuilding: small town? Big city? What details of technology give the setting? Buffy is contemporary to when it aired (and boy do the outfits look hilarious nowadays, except for the ones that are somehow back on-trend) but still has tons of worldbuilding around the magical/supernatural elements.
Something like Burn Notice has a world built up of some real places and organizations (Miami, the CIA, the IRA) and lots of fake people (all of the characters except Sam Axe, because I refuse to live in a world where Sam Axe isn’t real).
Worldbuilding for a world that’s not our own is trickier… but pretty fun.
Well, last night I was so exhausted that I finally broke my streak and failed to post.
But today is a different day! So here I am, ready to dust myself off and start again…
…except that I actually spent the whole evening grading, so now it’s time for bed. OH WELL HERE I GO ANYWAY!
As usual, the end of the month is turning tricky. But at least I got to watch some Leverage while grading! That, of course, was inspired by thinking some more about the “team” posts on Crusie’s blog and my own favorite teams.
I want to make sure that my YA cli-fi WIP involves the development of an interesting team, so I’m hoping that a combination of reading Crusie’s analysis, analyzing some teams on my own, and thinking about my WIP (possibly even just subconsciously, since who has any free time in Nov/Dec??) will help me work past some of the blocks I keep running into.
I’m really loving the posts that Jenny Crusie’s doing about “Story Teams” over on her blog. She’s analyzing why they work (or don’t). She analyzed the teams from Leverage (LOVE it), Person of Interest (tried to like it because she loves it and writes such interesting analysis of it, but…), and Legends of Tomorrow (uhhhhhhh) in preparation for troubleshooting the team she’s building in her WIP.
Reading her posts made me think about some of my favorite TV teams (Burn Notice, Chuck, and Buffy being standouts, and White Collar too, although that’s a duo with support more than a team most of the time, and, of course, the Quest Team/Venture Brothers–Oh, and I guess Archer?).
So I want to analyze these teams the way she’s doing it, mostly for fun but also for comparison to the team I’m trying to build in my Lilly grant novel (YA cli-fi starring Anika, as-yet-untitled). I listed too many, so I might just pick a few from the list.
Of course, that requires me to a)do that analysis and b)figure out what the heck is going on with my team.
And tonight’s not the night for that; I’m going to go to bed and sleep on it, and see what thoughts manage to crawl across my mind in the tryptophan-haze that is post-Thanksgiving relaxation time.
But teams make a pretty satisfying story unit. I’m excited to dig into this more!
So, tonight instead of writing words, I cut about 600 from the draft of the first chapter of the co-written Romantic Suspense WIP. (I need a better name for that. TCWRSWIP? Hmm, not much better, actually… And my writing partner and I definitely agree that I’m not allowed to come up with titles for anything else. Maybe I’ll see if she’s got any ideas.)
Anyway! I sort of can’t believe how much I’ve learned in the two-year fallow period I spent in between bursts of work on TCWRSWIP (for lack of a better title). I’ve been reading a lot about story structure, scene structure, beats, etc. at Jenny Crusie’s side project blog, and that has helped a lot; and, of course, the first version of this scene was sort of a trial balloon that Chel wrote to see if I had any interest in the concept (4 years and 143k+ words later, I think it’s safe to say yes–yes I did). But the story has changed very significantly since then in our minds.
I’m in Cincinnati this weekend for a craft show, my mom’s birthday, my grama’s birthday, to see my aunt who’s visiting from Arizona, my brother, my great-aunt, and assorted other aunts and cousins, and to grade some papers, coordinate Thanksgiving plans with a bunch of people who are currently not texting or emailing me back… and work on not giving in to this cold that I’m not–not, dag-nabbit, I am NOT–catching.
And I definitely meant to write a good entry, but I’ve been running around like crazy since about 5 am and there’s just… there’s just nothing.
I have been thinking about how much better the New Beginning of my co-written novel is going to be once it’s completely rewritten (working on that now) and how much of the old stuff we’re going to have to discard or change completely now that Our Heroine has been completely overhauled. I got about… thirty more seconds into the scene I’m working on??
Today’s Friday, and I’ve had a nice, relaxing evening – play with baby, watch Project Runway with Cam, drink a glass of wine that made me want to go to sleep immediately, etc.
Tomorrow we go to Cincinnati for a craft show, and to visit my family, and we’ll be back Sunday, and then three days of school and then we’re hosting Thanksgiving, and the someting-something-Friendsgiving-idk and then work and then the first weekend in December I’m going on a road trip to Chicago to sell more cutting boards while Cameron goes to do the same in Philly. And then… finals and Christmas!
So… I’m starting to have that glazed-eye look and short fuse that signal it’s mid-November! WATCH OUT, HAHA!
In more cheerful news, my advisory did the #mannequinchallenge:
Wrote another 1,184 words on the Romantic Suspense WIP that I’m writing with my friend Chel. (She wrote about 3,300 so like… dang.)
Spent a long time googling ways to describe faces. IndyScribes buddy Laura recently found out she has some face blindness; based on how long it took me to describe Our Hero, I’m not convinced I don’t have face illiteracy. Like: WHAT EVEN ARE NOSES. 🙁
And one of the major benefits of co-writing with someone with a different skillset is that I can feel free to type in phrases like…
The bar itself was polished, dark wood, and the atmosphere was REAL CLASSY OR WHATEVER PLEASE FIX THIS.
She gets her revenge when I get dialog with comment boxes over it that say things like “This is supposed to be witty flirting. It is terrible. Make it sound cool.” (I do my best.)
And maybe I should’ve put more terrible words in there – I mean, after all, it’s NaNoWriMo – part of my goal is to just keep writing, just keep writing, not to get stuck in an endless rabbit-hole of Google image searches of various types of noses.
And sure, I could’ve just slapped in some filler. I’ve already got Our Heroine responding to him in a way that should tell the reader he’s a looker, and I know that if I get too specific I run the risk of it being like the scene in Pretty in Pink where Andrew McCarthy shows up and I know I’m supposed to think he’s teh hawtness but at the same time I’m actually just like, Uh… him?
But you can definitely go too far the other way. One of my big stumbling blocks tonight was something a little silly, but: I’ve realized that I have a real knee-jerk reaction against anything being described as “perfect.” (This is possibly Twilight-related, as I seem to recall quite a few instances of Edward’s features/face being described as “perfect,” and/or him having ” a perfect nose” etc.)
To the point where I spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out how to describe this very nattily-dressed man’s tie without saying it was “perfect”… I mean, I know a lot of words! My vocabulary is seriously extensive! But… I mean…
It’s a tie.
I only care about it inasmuch as it characterizes Our Hero as someone who dresses very carefully. I don’t even have a color in mind (leaving that up to Chel–the suit is navy, so… not black? IDEK YOU GUYS).
Anyway, I gave up at “the knot on his tie perfectly symmetrical,” but I suspect editing (and/or Chel) will find a way to improve that.
At least, I hope that’s the case…
And I need to figure out how Our Hero thinks about his own hair in the mirror – currently the line (in deep 3rd from his POV) reads,
Running a hand over his perfectly placed hair, he waited to see if Rahul would actually manage to verbalize whatever he was thinking.
So if anybody out there can tell me what a(n admittedly vain) dude in his 30s would think about his own hair in that scenario…
Maybe I’ll ask my husbro.
PS–brief shoutout to myself for breaking 10,000 words for NaNo2016!! By rambling about noses to get this blog post up over 352 words… BUT STILL.