Wed. June 1, 2016: Diagramming a Series for Structure

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend, but not with a lot to show for it.

Saturday was my Saturday “off” from the library. I ran around doing errands, and got the terraced back area mowed. It desperately needed it! Sunday, I worked on the meadow, but only got about ¼ of it done.

Sunday afternoon, I was lucky enough to see the amazing Neil McGarry in MY NAME IS ASHER LEV at Cape Rep in Brewster. It was a beautiful space, and a wonderfully done show. The entire cast was terrific, and the direction was superb. It was easily the best thing I’ve seen since I lived on Cape.

Monday and Tuesday rained, so I couldn’t work outside. I wasn’t feeling well, so I didn’t get as much done inside as I would have liked, either. My lunch date was cancelled yesterday, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since I felt so bad, and I missed both the Mermaid Ball meeting and the Artist HobNob.

I did a lot of mental work on the rewrite of what’s been THE CHARISMA KILLINGS, but will shortly have a new title. I figured out the new opening, and how that affects the rest of the plot and red herrings and incorporates the other suggestions. I didn’t get a lot of words on paper, but I’ve got a good sense of direction for this revision. It didn’t LOOK like a lot of work got done, but it’s the part of the process that, unless you are an artist or writer, you don’t really understand, and it’s difficult to explain. I ran the response ideas past my agent and she liked them, and we’re working on both a new series title and new book titles.

I also worked on ideas for CHOLERIC’s revision. The contrast between the two series is interesting. Although they are both mysteries, the tone is very different for each. I broke down some of Philip Craig’s Martha’s Vineyard mysteries, because they are closer in tone to what I’m going for that something in CHARISMA’S subgenre. I was surprised by several things: the conservative tone of the books, which I hadn’t really noticed when I originally read them in the 90s and which I do not like now; and the number of characters, which I like A LOT.

I dislike books with too few characters. Even in a small community, you run into a lot of people, and keep crossing paths with people. If a writer doesn’t differentiate characters well enough, that’s one thing, or substitutes character quirks for actual character. Neither of those work for me. But if a reader’s too stupid to keep track of more than six characters, well, that’s not the reader for whom I’m writing, period. And I’m a little tired of all these content producers, across different mediums, claiming they want “diverse” characters, when in reality, they want the mention of different skin tones, but they want the characters to act like white people.

The exercise is very illuminating. I’m also doing it with Jane Langton’s Homer Kelly books.

I also took the opportunity of not feeling well and having little left over energy to re-read Sharon Shinn’s entire TWELVE HOUSES series. I’m nearly done with all five books. I love them more each time I re-read them. MYSTIC AND RIDER is still one of the books in my Top Ten list, and I still think it’s one of the best opening chapters I’ve ever read. I still sob at portions of THE THIRTEENTH HOUSE. I liked DARK MOON DEFENDER better this time around, and still love READER AND RAELYNX. I’m about half way through FORTUNE AND FATE.

I have to respect her decision to end the series when she feels she should, but I would love more in this world. I love all these characters a lot.

Back to work today; will be a long day, and then I have to tackle actually getting words on the page. I have a feeling, over the next few months, I’ll be writing both first thing in the morning, and adding another session at night.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Devon

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