Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Once Upon Stilettos Reread -- Chapters Nine and Ten

I got up early this morning and am on target for a productive day, so before I go into a frenzy of packing, I leave you with more of the Once Upon Stilettos reread, with chapters nine and ten.

We start with the scene in Times Square in which Katie has just realized that her mom may be magically immune. I had way too much fun writing that. Times Square is actually my least-favorite spot in New York. It's too noisy, crowded, and flashy. But it's also very familiar because I've been to numerous conferences in hotels on or around Times Square, and the headquarters for the company I used to work for was on Times Square (in the same building where Good Morning America has their studio), so when I visited the New York office, that's where I was. The only good thing about that area, to me, is the fact that this is where the theaters are. It can actually be quite entertaining to people watch there and see the tourists reacting to things. This scene in the book is somewhat based on spoofing things I observed from tourists, with the added layer of someone who's reacting to the magical stuff that's also there. But because of the oddities in that area, it's easy for someone not in the know to think that this person is just reacting to the "normal" oddities.

Then we had to run into a gnome digging around in the park because how could I resist the chance to have a real garden gnome in a scene? Sometimes I can't help myself.

The scene in which Katie buys the red shoes is pretty similar to my own experience buying my Infamous Red Stilettos, though I got mine at Nordstrom in Dallas rather than Bloomingdale's in New York (they did carry them there -- I checked, and sold a pair for them while I was there). It really was like they had magical powers that I was sometimes able to resist. I went back and forth on whether to buy them, and then was still trying to justify them to myself when I got them home. I only wear them a few times a year and for special occasions because they're not super comfortable, and they're kind of hard to coordinate with outfits unless I'm using them as a pop of color against all black. But they are rather stunning, and I have walked a red carpet in them (when I went to the Hollywood premiere of Serenity). I still hold out hope that I'll get to wear them at a red-carpet event for a movie or show based on my books.

To be honest, I go through the same justification exercise for almost everything even remotely splurgy that I buy. That part of Katie is heavily based on me.

The deli scene in which Idris is messing with Katie and her mom was meant as the big comic set piece of this book. I guess you could say it's my own version of the infamous When Harry Met Sally deli scene. I was trying to start with something that's maybe a little odd that may or may not be magical and ramp up from there. I remember the first time I had matzo ball soup at a New York deli, and it wasn't quite what I imagined it would be. And then I escalated from there. I've been to one of those restaurants with singing waiters doing show tunes, and I can imagine it would seem really odd if you didn't know that was likely to happen. On the other hand, if you've seen a lot of musicals, maybe you halfway expect everyone in New York to suddenly burst into spontaneous musical numbers. I'm pretty sure I wrote this before the movie Enchanted came out, in which the "normal" guy expresses amazement about everyone just falling into the musical number and knowing the song, but that's the kind of thing that appears to be happening here, and poor Katie is stuck being the "normal" one trying to explain it to her mother. This was usually the scene I read from when I had convention readings related to this book.

We end on the big midpoint twist -- Katie's realization that her magical immunity is on the fritz. I don't know if it's still the exact middle of the book, but it was the precise middle of the initial draft. Since the fact that Katie didn't react to Rod the same way everyone around her did was one of the first clues that she was magically immune, it's only fitting that seeing his illusion rather than his real self was the clue that her immunity wasn't working anymore. She's been wanting "normal" through the whole book, and now she's got it. Spoiler: I don't think she's going to like it.

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