1867! 1867!

I am done with 1865, which is a relief, as I found it crammed full of crap. A ton of stuff has to happen in 1867, too–the finding of the cave, the death of a dog, the death of a wife, Ben Allen’s 12th birthday. Ha, yes, waiting around for Ben to get old enough to be a character. Sue’s off being married, becoming a widow, getting kissed in the privates by her cousin’s evil husband, rescuing people, commanding ghost armies, getting half-kidnapped by PSTD’d Union soldiers, and on and on. Her future husband is a child.

Ha, not that she’s not. But her future husband is my youngest nephew’s age. He’s all wanting to shoot at things and play football and be Mr. Sassypants. I assume Ben is similar. Sue’s already run into him once, but she was so busy being a medium and flirting with Lee Overton, that she didn’t notice. I plan on sticking him in the cave with her but I imagine he’ll be being a doofus, as my nephew would be if you took him to a magical cave. It will be weird to see them married in 20 years. Even weirder for Lee. Is there a greater age difference in a smaller number of years than the difference between 12 and 17?

This is why you don’t go to the future to pout. Or, shoot, if you do, spend some of that time in the future researching what happened to the people you knew in the past, so that you’re not caught off guard when you get back to the past with your meth-addled killer son. Oh, I guess I should have spoiler alerted that. There’s a meth-addled killer son.

I’m sad because I think the meth-addled killer son is going to have to kill the Macon women, whom I’ve just spent three chapters locating, rescuing, and reuniting. But the murders need to hit very close to home for Sue. So, some of the dead people need to be people Sue and therefore we are invested in. And I’ve got to work in The Thing. It may make its first appearance here in ’67. We’ll see.

“Obviously this Woman Reporter is a Homosexual”

Poor Ron over in the comments at Pith seems to think I have a much more exciting sex life than I do. But the part that gets me is this:

In case someone didnt educate you, the tongue is for taste and talking. The human rear is for body waste to be removed. The penis naturally fits in one place. Can you figure out where?

I’ve known a lot of dudes. Never have I met one who would publicly admit to being opposed to blowjobs and French kissing.

Until Ron.

Things Get Strange When You’re Writing

There are times when I’m working on the Sue Allen piece when I wonder about an MFA. Not because I necessarily want one. I don’t want to end up writing things that feel too workshopped or too un-stranged. But because the more I write this first draft the more I am daunted about the second. I feel like I’m going to need some real help not just beta reading–though I have always been lucky to have great beta readers–but I’m not sure I know how to flip the thing over and make sure all the working parts are in order, that things are paced right, that minor characters aren’t just brought on stage, given their lines, and hurried off again.

Maybe I’m still not sure this is even a first draft. It may just be tens of thousands of words of notes.

So, take for instance, last night. In my outline, it’s basically “Sue goes to get the Widow’s mother and brings her to the Widow. The Widow then gives Sue the information she needs to remove the curse and the Widow and her mother go north.” But already, Sue isn’t alone and I’m not sure she’s really cursed. Her sister, Sarah, is with her. And then, weirdly, when they get to where the Widow’s mother lives, she’s waiting for them. So, they head back to Nashville and run into the proto-Klan (it still being the middle of ’65). Not in my outline. They want the Widow’s mother. Not in my outline. And so Sue has to scare them off. Not in my outline. And she does in a way that ends up tying in nicely with the scene I’ll get to next, where the Widow and her mother are reunited, and that also plays nicely off her first encounter with Lee Overton, when he tries to show her how to switch from seeing ghosts to commanding them. Not in my outline.

So, that’s great. It’s some good stuff, I think. And my writing should be a lot more fleshed out than my outline. But these are some major scenes and some major thematic doohickeys just inserting themselves into the text. So, I feel like I’m not really going to know what’s in the book until this draft/thingy is done. Then I can go back and make sure it all sits in there how it should.

But it’s weird. Maybe there’s always the story you think you’re going to tell and the story you end up telling.