Sunday, January 16, 2005

On the con side, yesterday I was busier than I thought I’d be and didn’t get any writing done. Today is writing day!

On the pro side, yesterday, in a very public acknowledgement that I am no longer 29—as I’ve claimed for the past mumblemumble years—I got a facial done. Not the homemade ones you see in Cosmo (‘Have your lover lick off this yummy egg white, crushed pistachio and marmalade mask! Scientists recently discovered that the aroused male’s saliva contains a vital chemical-- sexmahcsudum-- which increases the suppleness of skin.’) Those are for the ‘real’ 29 year olds. I had a professional do me. (Not that I’d be adverse to trying the Cosmo-style beauty treatment, but without the egg whites et al. I think I have a dry patch on my upper thigh… Way up. Come here, lover…. )

All in all the facial was worth it. I'll definitely be doing it again.

Now on to the subject of writing.

I didn’t even get to the 3 questions for Odil. Zoë stumped me. Those questions are a lot harder than they seem. For ‘Who am I?'—I came up with: “I am lost” or “I am a wanderer”. For 'What do I want?' —I came up with: “I want to belong” or “I want to have a strong enough reason to stay”. 'What’s the worst you can do to me?' “Make me leave.” “Reject me before I reject you.” “Make me care then walk away.”

Well. D’uh. I hate shite like this. It’s all so nebulous. I wanted something concrete: I am a cop. I want to protect. Make me do something dishonorable.

Yet, I know I can’t reject it out of hand. I know, from experience, that the first thought—when answering questions like these about character— is usually the right one. All the others that come after it, are ones you as the writer are ‘crafting’ to suit your own writing/story purposes. It’s better to go with the initial gut reaction and dig, dig, dig deeper. One of the things I lit upon, soon after I started analyzing Zoë’s answers was this paragraph:

She stared into Zane’s boyish face. Fine lines fanned his eyes, while deeper ones bracketed his mouth. Some people would attribute those marks to his devil-may-care, laugh-a-minute, public persona. But she knew better. She understood the very real demons he lived with. They both did. Zachariah Fortune hadn’t just given his name and monogram to his offspring, he’d passed on his recklessness, in one way or the other.

I wrote it off the cuff, but at second glance it’s loaded with a lot of clues. Zarchariah was very important in his childrens’ lives. I don’t think Zoë always thought of him as ‘reckless’ but instead as a wonderful father, and their family (of 3) life was close and full of laughter. His consequent absence (death? disappearance?) deeply affected both Zoë and her twin Zane. There’s obviously a hint of resentment now, at least on Zoë’s part. Does she even realize it? I felt very strongly, from day one, Zoë was impulsive. This whole relationship with her brother and father is at the root of her answers to those 3 questions. It’ll be interesting to see how the hero impacts on those answers.

I’ll have to think about Odil’s 3 questions today.
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Linda Winfree said...

Oooh. I gotta try these questions. I also like these from Fiction First Aid:

My mother always . . .
My father never . . .

Lots of great family background for your characters that way (and why do mine always have Daddy issues?).

And since you're admitting your age, maybe I'll admit my milestone b-day next month. Sigh.

Jaye said...

Hmmm. I like the mother/father statements; but I think those would fall into one those organic pathways for me. I have noticed that in all my books the H/h's parent(s) are involved to some degree and feature prominently in a subplot. So these are definitely statements I'll file away for later use. Thanks for sharing them Linda. And thanks for dropping by. :-)

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