Major disturbance in the novella corner: opened my Hummingbird Chapter 6 file to work tonight and there was only gibberish and garble ala...omg...I went to open it and cut and paste some garble and it has miraculously reappeared in my broken English. Here I was thinking I'd have to rewrite the whole thing from mammary uh memory and had surrendered to the idea, being powerless over my Word documents and my life being unmanageable and, by God (to coin a phrase), the text returneth to me. I am humbled to be the recipient of such no doubt angel inflicted largess.
I boweth, knee deep in gratitude as this is a very complex chapter and I doubt I'd remember every word - why sure enough, I'd forgotten that it opened at McElroy's bungalow with him still talking to his cat, Bruno.
"Sunday as a day of rest was shot to shit. Hauling my aching carcass to the closet I managed to dress myself while Bruno emphatically discussed his plans for the afternoon. Apparently there was a hot date involved because he shot out the front door like his tail was on fire. I hoped he had a good time because I wasn’t going to; at least one of us should be happy."
I'm about a third of the way into this chapter. At this point McElroy has an appt with his dry cleaner Mrs.Chung to fool an ancient Chinese puzzle solver to open the Chinese box; a lunch date with Mike's dad, Ed, to chitchat about Harry; Tiny told him that the manager of the boxing arena over in Bean Town might know who The Assassin is and Brad called with the news that the Coast Guard found Harry's skiff with a stiff in it that isn't Harry. (McElroy's been busy this morning). We also found out M's first name is Jack. (I know! I was completely surprised myself!).
I don't know who the dead guy is yet. We (me and the boys) need to go out to the crime scene and 'have a look-see'. (I'm only a voyeur in the writing process; the characters drag me along; I just report the fact.)
Yes, I've heard about these writers that make detailed outlines of their entire book/story/screenplay/plot, handwritten on lined yellow paper or chalk boards, but tell me, where is the fun in that? Oh, I tried, earnestly (and I abhor earnestness above all things, except for maybe religious fanaticism and the Bush administration but if we leave politics and world disorder out of things, earnestness is pretty much at the top of my Ick List) with my Screenplay-That-Shall-Not-Speak-Its-Name. Did the entire Hero's Journey outline in Excel; wrote out the basic Twelve Scene plot line; wrote a Premise (and what a pinched premise it is!) otherwise known as the Elevator Pitch (trapped in an elevator with a Studio Head/Director/Honcho With A Big Cigar you blurt out a two sentence synopsis - yeah RIGHT!) and by the time I got done, my joie de vivre had left and taken up residence in smirking blog posts and spy/detective/hurricane/missing persons novellas.
My theory is that, if I let, my characters take their course, they naturally carry the story to its rightful destination without any interference by me or well meaning control freaks that think brilliance comes about through diligent attention to 'craft'. I'm sorry? Please go see "Inglourious Bastards" and tell me Quentin sat there with a copy of "The Screenwriters Bible" on his lap and carefully wrote that dialog by adhering to the 'structure' (You VILL keep das screenplay to 120 pages or you Vill risk annihilation!). It is perfectly crafted because the ability to write thusly is IN HIS BONES. He ‘just knows’ (like those homicidal little Eve twins from ‘The X-Files’)
Anyway, maybe this is a defensive excuse on my part, a pitch for being 'unique' and not like other people, a sad testimony to my inability to 'get with the program" and if it is, so fucking what? I can't imagine what entertainment value (mine, predominently, unless one of you out there takes a shine to tale and wants to pay me substantial wads of cash to make it available to the meandering hoards.) there could be in figuring out characters in advance or deciding what's inside the red Chinese box before the ancient Chinaman opens it or who the stiff in the skiff will be before we investigate. I didn't even know there was going to be a stiff until Brad told McElroy over the phone.
Pause while breathing returns to normal.
Nope - I do not want to know what's going to happen until I get there. Otherwise, the narrative gets all constipated because I'm trying to make stuff culminate at a certain point with a specific result - trying don't work for me, dudes; I simply have to run with it.
Down with rules.
Word to your Mother, yo.