Monday, March 21, 2011

Choices, Choices.

I once thought writing was fun.  I used to enjoy telling people about my current project (when they asked) and figuring out ways to drop it into conversations (when they didn’t.) 

I like to call that my naive period.
Because holy crap.  The last couple of months (say, four...) have been rough.  It’s not that the words haven’t been good, because they have.  In fact, that’s kind of been the problem.  I’ve really liked everything I was writing.  So much, that I was having a difficult time deciding where the story went.  Sure, I had a synopsis and an outline (laughter here), but the world I was working in seemed so... big.  The characters had a lot to say.  I’d look up after a night of writing and realize, crap, maybe they didn’t need to go to that Romance Novelist Convention... even if it was a genius bit of comedy writing. (Think: teenager boys dancing on a stage in front of hundreds of mom-aged romance writers.)

Ultimately, this new novel is about choices.  It’s also about excitement and adventure and how the main character craves not these things.  It’s about a teenager struggling with who he is, and what that means.  (He is not a werewolf.  Or a vampire.  Or a fallen angel. He is a teenage boy, and that’s difficult enough.)

Along the way, I’ve had a few choices of my own to make.  Particularly, deciding when it was okay to go off on a little tangent, and when I needed to advance the plot.  Ultimately, I chose (more often than not) to advance the plot.  Heresy! you say?  Perhaps.  But these are the words that come from on high (like the top floors of HarperCollins, Simon&Schuster, Roaring Brook, others...)  And so I’ve been carving out my own organs, uh, I mean plotting like a real novelist.

It’s been very exciting.

Anyway, the point.  I have a ton of scenes that will never be used.  Like the one you’re about to read.

Beth walks over to me, still wearing that ridiculous sombrero.  The rest of the idiots are clapping, especially Gary, who is jumping around and pretending to cry.  Beth leans close to me, pinning the metal badge to my collar.  She smells like baby powder, sweat, and chili peppers.  Like a weird stripper.   
    And then people start singing. 
    Hola! Hola! Hola!
    We hear it’s your special day!

The Spicy Pepper song is a kind of catch-all, used for birthdays, anniversaries, the times when somebody wants a free fried ice cream.  And for some inexplicable reason, they’re singing the hell out of it.  To me.
    We’re all so happy for ya!
    So we all came by to say...
    We wish you the best on your fiesta!
    Now let’s celebrate the Spicy Pepper way…

    It’s just as awful as it sounds.  People clapping and hollering, like they’re in the middle of a bull ring or something. Stomping their feet.  A regular circle of hell. 
    Beth finishes fastening the pin to my collar and throws an arm around my shoulder.  Gary yells.  Somebody else yells out, “Careful now!”  I pray for a tour bus full of church ladies or something to come pulling into the parking lot.  Because damn.

If you’re lucky, maybe I’ll post a video of me singing (and clapping) the Spicy Pepper song because, yeah, I figured out a melody and a beat.


  1. hahaha oh yes, the choices. *carves out some organs of her own, to compare* shiny!

  2. Good choice on moving the plot forward. I shoot for everything, including trips to Romance Novelist Conventions, to progress the story in some way. BTW - I love ninjas.

  3. Excellent prose, loved it. Question: what kind of research was required to determine the smell of a weird stripper?