Friday, July 21, 2017

Interpersonal Relationships

I meant to spend the morning writing, but I got distracted by a genealogy search. All because I wanted to know how old the little desk in my living room is. Answer: about a hundred years old. Maybe a hundred and ten, depending on what age boys start carving their names in things.

I saw an episode of Pawn Stars yesterday, and now I'm on a history kick. Of course, if you know me, you'd know my whole life is a history kick.

Anyway, then I got distracted and traced my family back 1,000 years. What does that have to do with today's post? Not a damn thing, probably, but it's part of the reason it's up so late.

I haven't actually worked on my Camp NaNo story since last Saturday. Terrible, I know, but I tend to write it in big chunks on the weekend instead of little pieces every day. Of course, that's a terrible habit. One, because it leaves me with nothing to blog about, and two, because if I'm going to be a real writer I need to be more consistent than that. I need to sit down and write every day. If it's want I want to do for a living, I need to treat it like a job.

I'm still trying to outline this damn thing, and I think it has to have a romance arc as well as the plot arc. "Wouldn't they be the same?" you might ask. Well, maybe, if the romance was the plot, but it isn't. It's like… half the plot.

Now, we've established that I'm super bad at getting all of my "beats" in the right places. Is this a plot point or a pinch point? Is this the inciting incident? I don't know why, I just can't seem to grasp it. So what I did when I plotted "My Soul To Take" was that I went with a more visual approach. The peak of the arc is the climax, where all the shit goes down. Everything else is either leading up to or following from that. It's basic, but it makes sense to me.

On this one, which still doesn't have a name (surprise, surprise), the climax is some epic showdown with the Low Dwellers (the carnivorous beasties who enjoy the taste of research assistants). It's the most exciting thing that happens. Now, it seems to me that the romance arc should peak before that. It should hit a high-ish point, at least. They should come together (emotionally, not… physically. We don't have time for that) and use their combined strength or whatever to overcome the challenge. Which sounds dumb when I say it. This is why I usually just kill everyone. I'm not really big on "the power of love."

The problem I'm faced with right now is that they are about to encounter the Low Dwellers, and they only marginally even like each other. They need to spend a lot more time together, which is kind of hard when they're in a hurry, but I guess they can only walk so fast. But then what? Do they just… talk the whole time? I've been trying so hard to get away from my dialogue heavy style. They need to do something that will help them connect, and I think they need to reveal something about themselves, even if they don't realize it.

Hey, that actually helps. Thanks readers, you're the best! Seriously, most of the time when I can't figure something out, I just try to explain the problem to someone. Usually it leads me to some kind of answer. I just need someone to sit there and listen for a bit.

I'll see you Tuesday, when maybe I'll have something more exciting to share.


  1. Dialogue is good when it comes to relationships. Even if they don't even like each other yet - they can demonstrate "chemistry" by their communication... A good example to me is (nerding out now) Mal and Inara in Firefly. You could even use Leia and Han. They don't spend their time gushing, but verbally sparring and often angry because they effect each other on an emotional level. They are drawn into arguments with each other like angry magnets but don't resolve it quickly usually due to plot.

    If "Love" is the climax - it's the One Ring being thrown into Mount Doom - then the romantic plot is about the obstacles and conflict on the way there. We all knew Sam and Frodo were going to make it, but it's what they overcame that's the clincher. A friendship arc isn't so different from a romantic arc.

    The peak of the romantic plot is a tricky thing. It should almost peak twice and sandwich the story climax. The couple (1st peak) emotionally connect/accept that those feels are real, thus underscoring what they stand to lose during the climactic endgame. Maybe they even seem to lose - but then they finally unite/resolve (second peak) after the main story arc as a payoff for the reader.

    For a crazy genre mash, you seem to be doing quite well.