Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Decker and MarLo

I finished Chapter 4 last night. It was my fourth consecutive night of staying up until about 4am to write instead of sleeping, and I've come to the decision that it's just not worth staying awake until I'm delirious with sleep deprivation because it impairs the functioning of my brain to the point that anything I write is utter rubbish. I was feeling pretty good about the chapter until I read what I'd written last night while on my lunch break this afternoon. I was shocked at how poorly constructed the sentences were. So, yes, I finished Chapter 4, but I'm going to be re-writing the last fourth of it tonight. Only I won't stay up past 2:30, no matter what.

I tweaked my outline today by reordering some of the events that dictate the relational dynamics between MarLo, Claire, Decker and an as-yet-unnamed young woman who Claire mentors through a young adult bible study ministry. I've decided to delay the revelation (to Claire) of Decker and MarLo's relationship and push the introduction of Claire's mother and younger sister to an earlier chapter...which means I have to locate the paper upon which I jotted the names I'd chosen for them. I still have no idea when to add Claire's father into the mix. He won't be an actual character, but I'll have to mention him at some point as he figures into Claire's choices in the final chapters. I still want the Halloween party to be near the front end of the book, when David and Claire's relationship is still brand new, but I keep adding plot before it.

I also discovered the mechanics of how MarLo and Decker get together. Now, the whole idea of MarLo and Decker being sexual partners was not a case of me deciding on it and then writing it that way. I simply created two people who have a lot of common interests, but who have completely different but complementary ways of expressing their interests. The characters themselves informed the nature of their relationship. When the idea came upon to me, it was a complete surprise, but also made so much sense that I allowed it to be what it was without raising any objections. Oh, MarLo and Decker get together. Of course they do. He's so passive and she's so assertive. It would have seemed contrived if they hadn't become intimate. The only thing I got to decide is when to reveal their relationship to Claire. I chose to get it all out in the open right away because I needed something to drive the story before David and Claire actually meet. Now all I have to do is to sit back and record Claire's reactions and thoughts. Easy. The easiest, most organic thing I've written thus far because it 'wrote itself', so to speak. And it's actually written itself three times. I have recorded three variations of the 'reveal' scene. None of them exceed 500 words. One is nothing but dialog. One is two short lines of dialog in the midst of a larger and more important plot driver. One is hilarious simply for the sake of being hilarious. I'm going with option 2.

Oh, but I was saying that last night I discovered the catalyst for Decker and MarLo''s first encounter. I had written into Chapter 4 that Decker had bought carry-out bags for The Deck's first catering delivery, and that he'd had stickers with The Deck's logo printed to put on the bags as advertisement. (Of course I would write that into the story, that's what I do for a living! I work in the art department of a company that prints labels.) But that's how Decker and MarLo get together before my narrative even begins. Claire sends Decker to the copy shop where MarLo works to have them printed. Whether Decker expresses his immense anxiety over starting up the catering aspect of his business or MarLo infers it from his body language, we'll never know, but when Decker comes in to pick up the stickers the day before my story begins, MarLo offers to take him out for drinks to settle his nerves. And, of course, in true MarLo fashion, she gets him drunk and takes advantage of him!

Also, I still don't have any dialog for Decker yet. I've been toying with the idea of having him always in a scene, but never actually say anything. He shouldn't have to say anything because any scene that Decker's in is a Claire scene and I made him the strong silent type on purpose to display Claire's ability to read people. Of course, I wouldn't write the words out of him. If he needs to say something, he will. But it would be fun if he never needed to say anything. And now that he and MarLo are in an intimate relationship, she can speak for him in some instances.

No comments: