Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weather update and Plot Engine Drama

The storms have eased back ofter the mid-week catastrophe which was very considerate and allowed folks to start clearing away the stinky muck that flooded their houses, pushed over fences, and basically terrorised the place. I didn't know what a big news story I was living inside of until friends rang to check I was alive (thank you!), and then I started to notice how many choppers were buzzing around the place. I decided not to participate in watching the news, the mild hysteria at work was (perhaps uncharacteristically) enough sensationalism for me. Today is blustery (yay for laundry!!) and hot. Expectations about the storm du Soir (? am I making that up?) are mixed, some say just thunder and lightening, some say a bit of rain and wind. I say, it's poker night, and unless someone can get a clue, we'll all be heading off shortly (well, not Rumi, he cares nothing for cards) to get a swim and a good spot at the table. Once we're there, we'll take any storm as it may (or may not) come.

My attention is really on Edwina, Lady Kenthurst and the agonisingly slow process of getting her into a lot of trouble with Soames. I've put them on a boat, I've removed the protective male figure from her life (mouldering in a Belfast cell awaiting his death by hanging) and I've got 10 600 words and still they haven't met!! ARGH!! Although it turns out the Captain of the ship might be up for some trouble too. Saucy types, those captains! I hope it turns out this is great tension, but of course from inside the plot engine it feels like we've lost power to the main thrusters and are dropping away from our target minor climatic peak. It's hot in the engine room where my oiled men in loincloths are shovelling coal into the furnace as hard and as fast as their lithe bodies possibly can, but there's something gumming up the cogs and we can't seem to translate this sexy raw power into plot traction. The editor is screaming down the tubes at me "DEADLINE AHEAD! More words!" the inner critic from the bowels of the engine is heard, "I *told* you the beginning of the story was shit, and now look where it's lead us. We're fucked, and I *told* you so from the start."
"Keel-haul that traitor!" I scream and two idea monkeys shoot out to drag the bastard off. Fuck I've been wanting to do that for years. The last thing I need in a crisis like this is sedition within the engine room. I also make a note in my day book to check the correct formation and usage of keel-haul for use in the third act.
It's hot in here, I can't think straight. Why can't we turn away from the deadline? I wonder, but that's not my decision. I have an idea.
"Let's try mixing it up - where'd we store the typewriter?" The men give a cheer, and in lifting their arms in encouragement, inadvertently flex and tense their abdominal muscles. I'm swooning from the heat and the sight of so many hot fictional bodies. I can barely spell, but taken on a wave of hope and pheremones, we bolt the typewriter into place, re-route the production crank and set the ribbon in place. This could just save us...
The words start to come, the ribbon spools, the cogs begin to inch forward, the little bell tings and the carriage return shoots back. Yes! We're still in with a chance.

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