Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Dinner Scene.

Well folks, this past weekend I got to write another one of the scenes I've been looking forward to since I started this book: a formal dinner scene which contains a protracted, uncomfortable conversation between one of my protagonists (a working-class Joe or Jane) and a snobbish, upper-class type.  This isn't meant to be a "One Percenters are Evil!" allegory, nor any other kind of sociopolitical commentary.  In my opinion, I've had so many heavy and serious moments in the book that I liked adding in this feel-good "standing up for the little guy" moment.  I'd like to think it's a little bit like Matt Damon stopping the aggressive snobby student in Good Will Hunting from hitting on Minnie Driver, or even - dare I say it - Leonardo DiCaprio holding his own at dinner with Billy Zane and the other rich folk in Titanic.

I think the pacing of the book really allows for - and needs - this bit to happen, especially at the moment it does.  From the beginning of the murder mystery on Triton, Leon Adler and Iris have been traveling on foreign colossi that are populated by a wildly eclectic cast of characters, or they've been on layovers between stops.  Finally reaching this fifth titan, where the trail leads to its big climax and resolution, really demands a breather - a resting point - before the rest of the shit hits the fan.  The reader gets the feel that "we've made it, now we just gotta catch the crook," and so the protagonists have the opportunity to rest and recover before barreling down the home stretch.  Another great thing about this dinner scene is that when I envisioned it, it was only going to have three, maybe four characters, but I managed to balance dialogue between eight characters, which was a first for me.  I hope you folks like it when you get to it.  I'm really proud of how it came out.

Sadly, the next thing I'm writing is pretty spoiler-tastic so I'll have to keep it on the down-low and talk about something different next week.  On the upside, in addition to adding 3,100 words to the manuscript this past week (including but not limited to that dinner scene), I also rewrote a lot of the chapter that preceded it.  That chapter is called "September" and although I was good with the events in it, I got the feeling I'd made it a lot harder on myself than I needed to.  A bad guy was kind of helping the good guys but kind of trying to kill them; the good guys' motivations and relationship in "September" kept going back and forth and so on.  So I took a good, long look at the whole chapter and cut and rewrote a couple thousand words from it.  In the end, it didn't get much longer or shorter, but damn did it get stronger.

The current chapter is called "The Seafarers" and it's the tenth chapter in the book.  "So what?" I hear you asking yourself.  Well, I think the book is only going to have 11 or 12 chapters, so I'm likely within a month of finishing the manuscript and well on time for my projected Fall 2016 release window.  Until next time, faithful readers!

Total Word Count:  71,229

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