Friday, December 12, 2014

Enchanted, Inc. -- Chapters 5 and 6

In talking about choir yesterday, I forgot to mention that just as I'd started wishing for more performance opportunities, there was a request for backstage backup singers for the youth musical this spring. Our church puts on a Broadway-style musical that's open to participation throughout the community (our people run it and it's in our performance space, but anyone can try out, whether or not they attend the church), and this year they're doing Mary Poppins. There was a bit of a hiatus for the past few years, so this is a rebuilding year and the cast is perhaps not as strong as they'd like (a lot of junior high kids), so for some numbers they'll want some of the adult choir members singing the chorus part backstage to give it a little more oomph, especially for the parts where the kids onstage will be dancing. That could be fun. They've said there will be minimal rehearsal time for the adults, just enough to learn the music, and then probably a dress rehearsal and the performances. It sort of fits into my dream of performing in musical theater, but without the time commitment, and I imagine I can spend a lot of time just sitting backstage and knitting. And since I have a YA book coming out soon, something that makes me part of a youth event could even be considered promotional activity for work. My editor took me to see this show on Broadway when it was in previews, so I've seen the original cast, and it'll be fun to see what the kids do with it.

Supposedly, today was going to be the day Random House started a two-week promotional price drop of the e-book version of Enchanted, Inc., but it doesn't seem to have propagated through the system yet. Of course, if you're reading this, you probably already have this book.

But it seems like a good occasion to get back to my re-read commentary.

Chapter Five was my big moment of Mimi catharsis. Wow, I must have been working out a lot of frustrations there. Mimi was kind of a combination of everyone I've ever worked for or with and hated, and it was a fantasy quitting moment. I have had a couple of chances to quit a job I was really unhappy with, and turning in that letter feels so good, though I never made a public scene like that. I certainly fantasized about it. I came up with the idea for this book at a time when I was really unhappy at work and dealing with a supervisor who seemed threatened by me, so the wonderful job offer was a big fantasy at the time, then I wrote it a little more than a year after I got laid off from that job because the supervisor who was threatened by me lost us our biggest client (funny, she got to stick around -- though the client ended up hiring me as a freelancer). I seem to recall enjoying writing that scene.

The group blind date was loosely based on a real date I once went on. I'd been introduced to him at a group outing, and he seemed pretty cool then. It was when we went out one-on-one that things got weird because he just didn't talk. I'm a slow eater anyway, and if I'm having to carry 100 percent of the conversation, I'll never finish my meal. I tried asking him questions, but he didn't seem to have any interests that got him passionate enough to say more than a sentence. I felt like I was interrogating him and needed to get out the torture implements. I finally told him that if he ever wanted me to finish my meal so we could leave the restaurant, he would have to say something. Instead, he got up and went to the bathroom. At least I got to eat.

So I guess I was working out frustrations there, but most of it was to introduce Ethan. It was also one of the "chick lit" elements I was fitting in as I both blended the genres and spoofed the genre. In later books I didn't really worry about that so much, but with the first book, I thought my best bet for selling it would be to sell it as chick lit, so I was consciously including those elements.

In Chapter Six I was introducing the magical company, and I can tell looking back that I was trying really, really hard to make it Magical! There's a lot of stuff I threw in that I practically forgot to use later because it no longer seemed quite so important to highlight the magical nature of things. Like those crystal balls. I think that came out of the idea of what magical people would use for intra-office communication or something like the Internet. I had to keep remembering that they were supposed to be there in later books.

We also meet Jake, Owen's assistant, in that chapter. He was basically human scenery, but little details about him just seemed to come out as I wrote that made him come to life (and I didn't plan most of it). I don't think there was enough to him to ever make him a focus, but he was fun in the background, and I did later enjoy giving him a bit of a hero moment in book 7.

And now I think today is going to be a Great Day of Cleaning because the state of my house is being a distraction. That's a good way to think and let my subconscious get to work, and I think that having things neat and organized will help me get through the crazy weekend. At least the hiking trip got cancelled because everyone else was busy.

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