Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Eight Goes All The Way To The Top

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I currently have the current ms-in-polish-mode open, picking at it with metaphorical surgical tweezers...and I couldn't be happier. Call me odd, but I love this phase. It's like one of those small plastic travel puzzles I used to have as a kid. Once the spacer was removed, the pieces could be moved around to form a picture or series of numbers that had to be put in the right order. It generally took a lot of shuffling around to obtain the desired effect, but it kept me out of trouble and brought a sense of satisfaction that I still remember. It's like that now, but with stories.

 One could argue that this is actually editing, and one would likely be right,  but there's a different feeling to this process for me.  More like getting to know a good friend on a deeper level. Only in this instance, it involves climbing inside their head.

This is the time to hear the dialog in my head. Does it sound in my head the way it does on the page? Or does the conversation take a different turn? Time for a gut check on my viewpoint character (heroine, in this case) and not only see how they feel, but how they feel about how they feel. Knee-knocking terror masked by a brave front? Or a brave but foolhardy one, but (expletive deleted) they've committed to this course of action and they are going to see it through. No matter the fallout, and there will be fallout.

That sound was my fiendish cackle. I may need to send my heroine cookie basket for putting her through this, but she's tough; she'll make it. She needs this scene. So does the book. So do I. I've called this scene "Son of the Scene From Hell" before, but somewhere, it did a turnaround, and that's one of the real happy places of writing, when something that seemed stuck suddenly unsticks. The mist clears, I get the right image in my head, and then it's obvious. Like with the travel puzzles, the eight has to go all the way to the top so that the two can go into the empty space, down two, over one, bring the eight back and that puts the twelve in the right place, et voila. Sure, this may require a pathetic pounding of the fifteen in the bottom left corner for an embarrassingly long amount of time, but when it clicks, it clicks.

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