Monday, December 7, 2009

Foreblogging the comment

Sierra Godfrey said...

I think this is a really important post because of how subtle these things are.

My question though: in your scene outline, you have "4. She gets mad at him for waiting to tell her, and they talk it out."

If you rearrange the elements to that he tells her his news AFTER the loving and affirming, she's still going to get mad, and they still need to talk it out. What did I miss? It still ends on resolution. What did you do to solve that?

Blogger Edittorrent said...

Sierra, good question-- I think the chapter should end with what he tells her about the death, and maybe her immediate mad reaction. She can end with "Why didn't you tell me first?"

Or something else-- "This is just like you, refusing to tell me until you got what you wanted." So the chapter ends on conflict.

Then the next chapter, they can have the argument and she can decide that he is who he is... but then something else happens, and so her decision is not at the end of the scene, and so isn't an ending, and so there's no sense that this is the actual resolution. I can have a lingering sense from her that this still bothers her. But soon the bad guy is going to find them, so the lingering disquiet will be somewhat underground.

Thanks for helping me think this through!

On Further Thought:
Chapter One:
1. Re-meet, dancing, a bit of romance.
2. They make love and re-affirm their affection.
3. He sings (he's a musician) a song that's just for her, and she realizes she still loves him, not just as a friend.
4. He tells her why he has found her, what he has to tell her (that another in their group has committed suicide, apparently because he can't deal with the anxiety of the constant threat of the bad guys).
5. She gets mad at him for waiting to tell her, maybe says some angry stuff. (This might be better starting the next chapter?)

Chapter Two:

1. They argue.
2. She gives in because she does love him, and he is who he is, etc.
3. They discuss it, and realize there's something weird about this suicide.

Chapter Three:
1. Start investigating?
2. Attempt on their lives?


See 2 #3-- because they make up, they're able to talk through the death details, and realize something's weird. That's causal, and I like to do that, the accumulation-- they have to make up at least a bit to collaborate on the discussion, and that leads to the investigation, which leads to the attempt on their lives.



Jami Gold said...

Hi Alicia,

I'll repeat my comment from the other post here...

Who needs a crit group when you've got us as a sounding board? :)

And yes, I like that sequence.

Jami G.

Riley Murphy said...

Hi Alicia!

I see this playing out differently. Anyone else in for switching 4 with 3 and having her secretly more angry with herself for falling for him again after he sings to her? The stakes are higher - and he’s still living in the moment because she’s mad and he grabs the opportunity to sing to her :) I’d fall for that. Switching it up this way would give you a two prong emotional front to work with going into the next chapter. Yeah, the reader understands the guy is a shit for waiting until after he made love to her tell her about the suicide - but, now she has an internal struggle that she has to deal with - her attraction to him despite that. Wouldn't you get more believable milage out of the internal battle - by being able to have her shift her anger on to the external by blaming him for not telling her when he could have? When really the reader is privy to the fact that deep down inside this is not the basis for her unreasonable anger? (You know? The only time I REALLY get mad is when secretly it’s my own fault or problem). In the case of this story - it isn’t that the heroine is truly upset that she slept with him before he told her about their friend - it’s that he made her love him again. So, my question is, would she have loved him again if he had told her up front about the friend and they cried over it and then made love? If the answer is yes then this way would work.

I do like the idea of the guy getting into her pants before he spills the beans, don’t get me wrong, (sorry guys - but that’s reality), but I think there’s more to work with emotionally, if you let her secretly shoulder 50% of the responsibility of falling for him. She needs to take some ownership and if she doesn’t - as in - he waits to tell her until everything happens and she doesn’t own anything? Then it becomes one dimensional. Everything has happened to her.

Now, if she reconnects with him, he tells her the bad news, she gets mad that he used her, but then he sings to her and she’s hooked again? She has a reason for being really mad - his appeal. Even when she knows he’s been a shit and could have told her before he physically connected with her, she can’t blame him. Everything is on the table.

Then going into the next chapter there would be more meat to sink into, right? You say chapter two they argue? Well if it played out like: they reconnect - get physical - he tells her the news - she’s furious, then sings to her and she realizes that she still wants him anyway - then you have a lot of anger to work through -the misguided anger she directs at him for not saying anything up front, the anger she has at herself for not really caring about that because she still loves him, and finally the resentment she feels toward the two of them combined, for getting into this mess all over again. So they argue, but finally come to a resolve, because there is an equal ownership in their complicated relationship - that’s what makes it work. They can accept this - I’m thinking they have before (could be wrong, but if they share bad guys in common there’s a good possibility that this holds true) so now they can work together to figure out the weirdness of the suicide. In the other version where 4 and 3 weren’t switched - how is she going to reconcile her anger over his thoughtless behavior if she doesn’t have something to appreciate him for? (Like singing to her, as only he can?)*sigh* I need a guy like like that! :D

Just my thoughts tonight...

Murphy :D

Leona said...

I like both scenarios presented here. Not knowing the characters, it's hard to say which way is better. I do like the way it's listed here, but **IWMS here, her taking part of the blame seems like a good idea... Would love to see how it works out :)

I had a thought. What if in the middle of the argument, one of them says something that clues them in to their subconcious idea that something is wrong with the suicide scenario? It could be what diffuses the situation enough for them to look past their immediate emotions (anger/defense) and into their discussion.

Idk. I have lots of ideas. They are swimming in my brain waiting for times like NaNoWriMo when it is given supremacy to be let out :P

em said...

I can see this either way. Murphy's idea has good emotional tension. I do like the shared responsibility aspect. If the characters are grown up enough this would be the way to go IMO.:)

This really does show you how to examine events in scenes. It's made me rethink one of mine! Thanks guys!

Riley Murphy said...

Okay, so last night after I wrote that comment, my daughter came into the room and read it over my shoulder. She frequently does this - I think she thinks I'm doing something much more interesting than blogging on edittorrent. (insert eye roll here). She gets to the end and says, “Mama!” I ignored her like I usually do, but my honey enters the room and foolishly asks.
“Mom says that she needs a guy to sing to her.”
Honey grunts and says, “Interesting.”
I turn off my computer, let the pooch out and then get ready to call it a night. By the time I climb into bed I’m offering incense up to Illgnats the god of sleepdom. I slip between the cool sheets with a happy sigh of contentment, prepared to enjoy the peace and tranquility. When from beside me in the darkness, my honey starts singing Puff the Magic Dragon in this pathetically gentle voice. I can honestly say that I laughed so hard I nearly wet the bed! Moral of this story? You can fall hard for a guy who sexily sings to you, or, you can completely collapse - laughing you’re ass - off for a guy who can’t... :D

Jami Gold said...


LOL! As soon as I saw your last line in your first post, I knew you'd get in trouble for it. :)

I like your thoughts for the sequence too. (What was your degree in? :) Man, your family doesn't stand a chance with your ability to psychoanalyze them like that! LOL!) It's more convoluted, but if you could make it flow well, the payoff would be deeper.

Alicia, Okay, I take my first comment back. Maybe you're going to be sorry you ever asked. ;)

Jami G.

Dave Shaw said...

Puff the Magic Dragon? Huh! I woulda gone for Dire Straits' Romeo and Juliet - a lot easier to hit the notes, and a better fit. "You and me, babe - how 'bout it?" Hehe.

But that makes me very curious about how Alicia is introducing the song into the scene. This is one of those things that can't look forced or it will ruin the scene. I'm sure Alicia has it covered, but I've seen similar cases (even in published works) that just didn't go. I'm almost paranoid about it.

Sierra Godfrey said...

Thanks for addressing my question from yesterday! I was hoping this would be your answer.

If you wanted, I suppose, you could draw that tension out through the whole story until she forgives him at the end as either the major resolution or a subplot resolution. Tension is good.

Edittorrent said...

Murph, my guy sings "Jenny Kissed Me" (her name is Jenny) which is a poem written by Leigh Hunt, and ends:
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad;
Say that health and wealth have miss'd me;
Say I'm growing old, but add-
Jenny kiss'd me.

I mean, that's romantic (and also connects with a major theme).

But "Puff" could work. :)

I like your thought that she naturally swoons with the song, but the anger nags at her. That works, because I think I'm going to have her meet her just-ex boyfriend, and he's going to want to get back together, and it's got to be plausible that she would consider someone other than this totally hunky Irish guitarist who sings "Jenny Kissed Me" to her. (Really, is there any plausibility that she'd choose some other guy?)

Thanks, all. I'm not really sure where I'm going, but they're going to defeat the bad guys, I assume, and end up together. I think his dilatoriness in telling her is a symbol of how wrong he is, except that, you know, singing that song to her sure makes up for a lot of wrongness.

Riley Murphy said...

(Really, is there any plausibility that she'd choose some other guy?)

No way! And believe me when I say, that Puff The Magic Dragon - SO couldn't work! Well, unless you were going for her to feel sorry for the guy. :D


em said...

Alicia, about Puff NOT working for the song? I have to put my: I'm with Murphy stamp here.:)