Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Kissing Frogs

Picking up where I left off on my Enchanted, Inc. reread, I think we're getting to the really fun part of the story. Not only has the plot kicked in, but this is the part where I got to do what Save the Cat author Blake Snyder called "the promise of the premise" or the "fun and games" part of the story. In Hero's Journey terms, we're in Tests, Enemies, and Allies. Our heroine is in a new world, and she's getting to experience what that entails. It's a book about a "normal" person working for a magical company, so we're getting to see more of what that's like.

So in chapter eleven we get to see how a spell might be tested, with the help of a magical immune who can read it without carrying it out. In my magical corporation metaphor, I was thinking of spells as being kind of like software. They're bits of code that allow things to happen. If I read raw code out loud, nothing would happen, but if you make a computer read it, it does something. So a magical person reading a spell might make something happen (depending on the spell), but someone with no magic is safe. This is why these people are so valuable to the company.

Then we get to one of my favorite parts of the book and the scene I usually read when I'm doing a reading at conventions: the girls' night out scene. I have to give my agent credit for how this worked out. In my original draft, the gang just went out for drinks and talked. I thought it was clever that the magical people thought that kissing frogs was actually a viable way of meeting men, because it would be in their world. When I first signed on with my agent and she gave me some revision suggestions before she submitted the book, she said they shouldn't just talk about it. They needed to actually go to the park and look for frogs. That kicked off a bunch of other things, including introducing some new characters who got woven into the story.

And now I think I can see the problem with what I'm writing now. They're talking about things, and I need to find a way for them to do them. Then again, that's what revision is for. You get the idea from the dialogue, then you mine your dialogue for things you can turn into action. But it's nice to be able to spot this as you write so you don't have to rewrite.

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