clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Friday, July 26, 2013

Permanent Record

At left, my high school language arts department. At least, that's how I remember them.

I was reminded that my search for an original sin yesterday will go down on my permanent record. Let's review that document.

Wrath, greed, sloth, envy, lust, pride, gluttony. In Galations, there is a more extensive list from none other than Saint Paul (met Christ after resurrection - which is a pretty scary thing). These sins, we're taught, are the capital sins in that they are cornerstones from which other major and minor sins flow.

I like to think of them as a keg of bad someone left the tap open on at the party. As I am frequently found near kegs at a party, it's no wonder I've gotten a little of these on me.

Go with your strengths, I've been told.

As Bugsy intones: We're the very best at being bad.

SO, why tonight this discourse on misbehavior?  Flawed characters. Deeply flawed characters.

I find it hard to love a character who is an eagle scout. There it is.

I don't trust the righteous or the clean. If the old man wants to send me a personal message, he knows to not use one of the tall fellows clad in white robes and shiny armor. He'll borrow a day laborer with a dirty bent pitch-folk and have him bring me a note on a greasy do-nut bag written in sharpie. I'd trust one more than the other.

I've made a bunch of flawed characters and put them in an area where I keep ratcheting up the stakes. Some don't make it. So far, I haven't pushed any of them into flows that are "deadly" meaning beyond my meager means to still make you love them despite their vices. 

My judgement on this is suspect - given my permanent record.

I'm going to need a nun as a beta reader I think. I'm going to need someone in the good department who can tell bad right off and who can tell me when my bad has gone too far. If I squeeze the love out of a nun, I've gone too far because believe me I've tried to push them too far before.

I'm almost done plotting. I've figured a lot of the book out this week by telling myself the story over and over from the viewpoint of different characters. This has helped because some characters don't know the whole story and thus this drill of "what do they know" has been self-correcting.

This point feels a bit like coming to a restaurant in the summer when it is way too hot. You go in, sweating and discover your party isn't all here and the restaurant reservation isn't quite ready yet. You hope the food is good because you picked the place and your reputation and ego are all wrapped up in the outcome. Nevertheless, while you can tell yourself the food is great and the evening will be a hit, you're still standing trying to edge into the bar hot, uncomfortable, and a little unsure that it's going to work out. 

I have a little of the discomfort right now. Writing the text ( not just my 3000 and 5000 word trial bits) is going to be a big relief.

I hope you're not hot and sweaty. I'm sure you're full of sin. If you can't say something nice at the party, come sit by me.

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