Friday, October 09, 2009

Crossing the Threshold

We reversed yesterday's weather pattern for today. Last night when I went to bed it was hot and muggy. During the night, I had to pull up more covers, and this morning it's cold and rainy. Should be a good writing day.

Which yesterday wasn't. I was still wrestling with that scene because while I knew what the emotional undercurrents needed to be, I wasn't so sure what was actually happening, event-wise. That made me wonder what the purpose was. I knew there was a conversation in there that I really liked, but was the scene necessary? And that was when I realized that the scene was actually rather pivotal, as it was the build-up to the Crossing the Threshold moment for the secondary protagonist. Or, in Star Wars terms, it was the transition from "I'll take you to Anchorhead, and from there you're on your own" to "I want to come with you to fight the Empire."

Except in this case the scene gets trickier because the Obi-Wan of this scene isn't saying, "Come with me and fulfill your destiny and save the galaxy from the bad people." She's saying, "Oh, it's okay, you've done enough, I don't need help and I don't want to be a bother." And she really means it because she thinks he'll only get in the way, that he'll think he's helping, but he won't be, even if it does make him feel better about the situation. Only, she can't tell him why she doesn't want him involved (and the scene is from his point of view), so she has to resort to the "I don't want to be a bother" objection.

So that means I have to come up with some motivation for him that makes him overcome her objections, and I can't exactly kill some Jawas and burn the house down (which always struck me as a rather weak way to get the hero into the story -- he goes off to save the galaxy because he doesn't have anything better to do at the time and his home and family are gone, and it's not even a decision on his part, as his hand is rather forced). To some extent, the house and Jawas were burned in the past, and this has become relevant all over again, but that doesn't give me any action for the scene. So now I have to find a way to get someone who's really not up for this physically or emotionally and who is being told not to bother to decide to take on the quest. I know what the trigger is, but I have to find a way to get there, and I'd like to do it with something other than just thinking about it.

Meanwhile, I'm finding out that the world seems to be passing me by, as references I try to make turn out to be outdated. I needed to reference a magazine that would be read by film buffs who aren't really celebrity watchers -- talking more about the art and craft, less about the business and not much at all about the actors' personal antics, so I thought Premiere would be ideal. Turns out, that stopped publication a couple of years ago. Then I was thinking of how quirkily ironic it was that I was writing the kind of urban fantasy heroine who would wear Laura Ashley, and thought maybe that was how another character would describe her, as a terror in Laura Ashley. Laura Ashley clothes were kind of iconic when I was in my teens and twenties. Those long, floaty, floral quasi-Victorian dresses were pretty much the uniform of University of Texas sorority girls in the late 80s. Then in my 20s I discovered the Laura Ashley store in one of the malls, and it was a "weekend at the grand English country estate" style that appealed to my raging Anglophilia (too bad the clothes weren't cut to fit my body type -- they were making clothes to fit Princess Diana: tall, skinny women with long legs, not short, curvy women with long torsos, so the waistlines always hit me mid-chest and still hung loose if I wanted to fit my bust and hips, and the hemlines dragged the floor). But now it turns out they've closed the stores and there's just licensed merchandise sold through other retailers that bears no resemblance to what I was thinking of. I can't think of a single designer or brand name that fits the look I'm aiming for that well. "Terror in pastel florals" doesn't bring up quite the same image as "terror in Laura Ashley," but I guess if the stores are gone and the brand has mostly faded away, people who weren't subjected to 1980s sorority girls wouldn't get the reference anyway.

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