This morning my nearly perfect – but wishing he identified more with murderous, sociopathic tendencies – husband was making my coffee.
He was a little heavy on the cream and I asked him to put some more coffee in the cup because I like it just a little more Valley Forge Brown, rather than the Lenox Tan he was going for (Moore, Benjamin).
So I was….
What do you mean, ‘what do you mean?”
The ‘murderous sociopathic…?
Yes. He is wishing he identified more with lunatic serial killers.
Mainly because that’s been his side of our task for the ten-years-plus since he and I proclaimed, ‘hey we can write a book like this!” over a second bottle of wine, during a weekend away without the kids in Gloucester (pronounced, Glaw-stah, not Glow-ses-ter (just helping out).
I think I mentioned that before, when I wrote about Shelly the African Spur-Thighed Tortoise, and told you that we were writing a thriller and I was writing the good guys and he was writing the bad guy and it was hard to sleep next to someone who was amassing a rather disturbing library on abnormal psychiatry and the world’s most notorious murderers.
Geez, people. Keep up.
Anyway, my nearly perfect husband can actually focus on something for longer than, like, 34 seconds. So when we decided to write the book, he made me sit down with him and then he mapped out the entire story based on our (his) very technical, business consulting style story timeline that looks something like this (I am keeping details purposefully vague so as not to give away plot details):
1. A thing happens.
2. A thing happens because of the aforementioned thing.
3. Someone finds out that something happened, but it isn’t really what happened, because this is where we introduce a red herring (if we are going to do that).
4. Someone discovers the red herring is, in fact, a red herring.
5. A crime is solved.
6. There may or may not be romance in this (ask Lis).
Okay, see. That is all kinds of logical and he follows a very linear path through the progression of a story.
Here was mine:
Antique House. Small Town. She moves there. Let’s name the guy something good. Last name? Throw in a fish (a red one…. what’s the name of that type of fish? I can look it up later). I hate writing in longhand. No Google. This is taking way too long. Is that dog hair on the couch? I need to vacuum. And dust. Gawd, do they have to wipe their noses all over the windows? That is so gross. I’ll just go get the Windex. I love that father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding that uses Windex for everything. I could be Greek.
And you sort of get the picture.
And when I give it to him, my nearly perfect husband just laughs and looks at me exactly the same way he always has (with rolled eyes).
Which is a big reason why I love him.
So, off and on for ten years, my nearly perfect husband has gently guided me back to the nice, linear story progression every time I get my attention challenged hands on the manuscript.
And then I have this awesome – and I mean awesome idea and I make a change in one little scene and it all gets blown to smithereens.
We have tossed out hundreds and hundreds of pages due to this issue.
But, in my defense, my nearly perfect husband (after he sighs a lot and sometimes growls (and once, I swear, he grew fangs)) acknowledges my brilliance and says that my idea was a good one and then he sits down and writes more based on the new linear progression he has created based on the new idea that I can’t tell you about here because it could wreck the ending of the current book.
Which could change.
But don’t tell him that.
So now we have exactly (because I just asked him and he just told me and now he is looking fearfully at me, wondering what I am writing about.
Now he is yelling at me to ‘stoppit’ and telling me I cannot take his picture for this part of the blog post…
So anyway, now we have exactly 350 pages of the book and he has ingeniously decided to feed me a single chapter at a time to go over. And then he will look at what I did to it. And if it changes stuff further down the road, he will sit me down and we might have to have a chat about focus.
But it’s good to have dreams. And we are lucky, because for all we know we have passed our mid lives and we did it without a crisis. So now I’m thinking about the Wizard of Oz and how Dorothy went through that whole hallucinogenic-themed scary adventure with the Wicked Witch played by Margaret-Hamilton-who-used-to-vacation-on-Southport-Island-where-we-have-a house-in-Maine. And the whole thing – including the incidents with the flying monkeys and opium poppies – ended up with her concluding that she could have found what she was looking for in her own back yard.
I think I can do that too. I mean, I’m not sure that I’m looking for anything in particular, but I think I can find many spiritually uplifting things in my own back yard.
Probably mostly things like wooly bear caterpillars and dog poo, but still. I can work with that.
Especially since a scarecrow, tin man, and cowardly lion are highly unlikely to visit, and if they did they would be temporarily halted at the gate as Marshal Dillon Dingle puffs and postures and looks desperately behind him for backup. Also, I don’t have any oil right now and it’s almost the end of fall and I hear winter is big-time rusting season for wayward tin men.
What was that about focus?
Thanks for readin’
p.s., As always, come on over and comment or hang out or whistle a happy tune on Just Ponderin’s facebook page. See you there!