Thursday, July 02, 2009

Return of the Flag People

My city has a quirky July 4 tradition: A couple of days before the Fourth, little American flags mysteriously appear up and down the sides of the city's main street (not the official Main Street, which is now a minor street in the old part of downtown, but rather the major north-south thoroughfare that runs through the entire city and along which are a lot of the major city facilities). It's unofficial, done entirely through private funding and with volunteers, but with unspoken permission from the city (they don't get arrested for littering, and city crews leave the flags alone). I've lived in this city for nearly 19 years, and I've lived in a house where my upstairs windows face this street for 11 years -- and that would be my office window, where I stare at that street for much of the day -- and I've never seen the Flag People in action. The flags just somehow appear, like there's a squad of patriotic elves at work. But the other night when I was coming home from ballet class, I caught some of the Flag People setting out flags a few blocks from my house. They hadn't quite reached my block, so I kept watching. The flags still weren't on my block yesterday morning, nor in the afternoon. Then suddenly yesterday evening, there they were.

It's such a little thing, but it makes me strangely happy to see the miles and miles of flags. It's so cheerful.

I've now reached the really hard part of rewriting this ending -- a crowd scene that requires extensive choreography and keeping track of where everyone is, what they're doing and why they're doing it. It's that last part that's a big reason why I'm having to rewrite it. I hadn't thought through what one group would really be doing based on their goals. Yesterday I was doing the kind of thinking that required a lot of pacing, a lot of going up and down the stairs and even some random, mindless TV watching (I watched a true crime show, which I never do). I think I'm going to have to start from scratch on this scene and just write what should be happening instead of trying to fix what I've already written.

It doesn't help matters that the misty idea has picked now to really take shape and become solid. I now know my main character's name, who she is and what she looks like. I've also discovered a secondary character, though he's still pretty misty, and I think I've resolved my narrative issue. It looks like it will be a secondary character narrating in first person, but with the omniscient storyteller voice, since she's someone who would be able to know what everyone's thinking. I even know the first scene and have the narrative for much of the opening of the book. It's nice to have it shaping up like that, but it's a real pain when I'm trying to write something else because every time I try to sit still and think about the book I'm working on, the narrator for the misty idea pops up and starts telling that story. Thus the pacing and TV watching because I have to distract the part of the brain that interrupts me to try to write this story when I need to be working on something else. I think I'm going to have to write down what she's said to get it out of my head so I can get back to what I should be doing.

1 comment:

Carradee said...

"she's someone who would be able to know what everyone's thinking"

*perks up* A telepath? I like telepaths.

And as a narrator! :-D Sounds fun!