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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Location, location, location…

It’s everything in real estate, right? Right.

Apparently, it also has a lot to do with writing, too. Mine at least. Of course not only mine... but, I’ve been thinking (ye-gads!) about story elements with respect to a current project. Trying to figure out exactly why things were a little on the sticky side in the process... and my thinking went a little like this:

**mutter mutter**
Got plot? Check. Well – sort of. Not an outline or anything – not yet. But the basics? Yeah - check.

Got characters? Check. Uh – see above. It’s a fresh project, okay?

Got setting? Che—uhh... yeeesss....

You do?

Sure. There’s that city. You know – the one were setting the story in?

Are we sure that’s were we want it?

Yes. No. Well... there might be other places, too. ’Cause there was that cool thing about that place in that other country that we just discovered in our research that uncannily ties into something as trivial as a character’s name and which just might hold the key to the entire plot – wait... what’s that noise?

What noise?

THAT noise. The one that sounds vaguely like some sort of heavenly choir?...And then it occurs to me that I have, once again, pinned some potentially very KEY PLOT POINTS on a piece of geography.

And this happens to me all the time. In weird, sometimes vaguely eerie, ways.

Take, for example, the YA project that I mentioned in an earlier post. I needed a piece of, well, a pretty specific piece of not even just geography but topography. I figured that I was going to have to make it up.

Okay. Cool. I can do that – ’cause see? I have a hat that says ‘writer’ on it (I really don’t – but, y’know, now that you mention it...) and I can do stuff like that. But first... some research. You know – throw on a little Googley music, limber up the digits, have at it. Except that it was really all just a gesture of good faith to appease my brain which is all rarin’ to do this on its own.
Because, you see, I knew this thing didn’t exist. There was NO REASON why it should. I was going to have to make this thing up.

And then I didn’t.

And it was better than anything, in fact, that I could have made up. This place was real. And the reality of it solved problems that I hadn’t even written myself into yet, but would have. It was like conjuring! It was a place that was – up until that very moment – purely a construct of my ADDLED BRAIN that I needed to hang an outlandish bit of fiction on. Except that... it wasn’t.

Not so outlandish now, eh, Brain? I sez, all gloaty. (Shut up, sez Brain, pouting.)

It was a ‘whoa’ moment. It has happened more than once. It gives me the weebies and makes me giggly with eureka-glee at the same time. (If this sort of thing happens to you, I recommend a cold-compress.) And, see, I know that these kinds of things happen to writers all the time. The underpinnings of our conscious minds are always savagely mulching things up in a thunderous, churning contraption that spits out correlations and connections and strings together ‘coincidence’ and ‘happenstance’ into puzzles wherein dots are connected and plots are strung.
I just find it weird that, in four separate novel-length projects – two finished, two in progress (and, oh wait, that’s pretty much all of them – all of the serious ones, so far, at least) – that this has been the case. With settings.

Nutty, huh?

Like Miss Tessmocker said to Lex Luthor: “What is it with you and real estate? It’s always ‘land, land, land’.”

Does that make me an Evil Genius? Cool.
(And yeah – that picture up there? That’s one of ’em. You betcha. The first one, in fact.)


Doug A Scott said...

So I read this long, interesting post about the writing process, and the question that most comes to my mind is... "Googley music"?


adrienne said...

You are a freak of nature.

End of.