Monday, February 25, 2013

Visualizing the World of The Seven Second Kiss

I set up a board in Pinterest for The Seven Second Kiss and added photographs as examples of where things take place and things that happen in the novel. Click here to see it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Adventures in Retail:
The Professional

This happened at least four times with four different people. Talk about déjà vu, déjà vu, déjà vu. I'm going to tell it in present tense.

A guy in jeans and a suit jacket with no tie comes in the hobby shop. I break the ice with, "Hello." I rarely to that 'may I help you?' stuff.

He says, "I'm a *professional* architectural model builder." He emphasizes 'professional' like that sets him apart and above me like I'm a dirty little plebe. That puts me off and I am predisposed to dislike him.

He goes on, "I've built a maquette." 'Maquette.' That's fancy talk for 'diorama.' More of, 'I am so superior to you it hurts.' Two strikes, buddy.

Then he gets to the reason for his visit and this is where there's some variation among the four, because they all built their maquettes in different scales. It doesn't really matter, though. The outcome will be the same. "I built a model of a building and I'm looking for people and cars to put on it to give it a sense of scale."

I ask, "What scale is it?"

The four scales used were 1:50, 1:100, 1:200 and 1:300. They used those scales because the math for the conversion is easy. I start by telling him there aren't any people or cars available in that scale. Then I tell him what the closest scale is and what's available. For 1:50, there are trains, cars, tanks, trucks and people in 1:48 and cars in 1:43. For 1:100 there are trains, people, cars, and animals in 1:87 and cars in 1:90. For 1:200 there are trains, animals and people in 1:160 and for 1:300 there's nothing, sorry. Not quite true, there are military vehicles, tanks and soldiers in 1:285 and there are ship models in 1:350.

What follows is extreme frustration on the part of the professional architectural model maker who has made a maquette. The scales that are close are not close enough and won't do. He suddenly looks like a pitiful animal looking at oncoming headlights in the dark. And he proceeds to chew me out because there isn't anything for him in the scale he's chosen. Then he stands there looking at me like he expects me to do something for him to make it all right.

Finally he leaves dejected and all I can think is, 'If you're so professional, how come you didn't come to see me and find out what's available before you built your maquette?'

Someone asked me if I like working retail. I said, "Not really."

Friday, February 15, 2013

Characters in The Seven Second Kiss: Eva

Eva plays a small but significant part in The Seven Second Kiss. She is the singer in Tommy's band, which is engaged to entertain in the club where Connie has gained employment washing dishes. Due to circumstances that are unspecified in the book, Eva is unable to perform for a period of time leaving Tommy's band without a vocalist.

That opens the door for Connie to perform in the band. Unlike Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street Connie does not come back a star. Instead she comes back with a strong desire to be a star with many obstacles in her way.

Eva is much older than Connie but still holding on desperately to her prime. I didn't specify what had brought Eva down because I didn't really know for sure at the time. Looking back I'm pretty sure Eva had been taking heroin and suffered from an overdose.

In a way, the book is on the light side when it comes to things going on in the world. I think I did that because most of what takes place is from Connie's viewpoint and she is essentially naive and innocent. She does undergo a significant character arc but by the end of the novel she hung onto her innocence. If I write a sequel I expect it to be darker and more explicit as Connie becomes streetwise or loses her innocence.

I expect Eva to play a major part in that. I think she has the potential to be a very interesting personality in a sequel.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Making the Characters Real

There are so many things to keep in mind when writing anything and especially a story with characters. A certain amount of ego has to enter into it while I'm writing in order to keep the intimidation of the task and the anxiety associated with it at bay. While writing I exude a sense of confidence. "I can do this, no problem." Then when I stop the doubts creep in. "Is this really any good?" I certainly hope so but it isn't for me to judge.

One thing I think is important is to treat the characters in the story in such a way that the person reading about them will find them real and, more importantly, care about them and what happens to them. I think that is the thing that makes a story worth reading.

So what do I do with the characters in the stories I write to make the reader (or viewer) care about them? I wish I knew. Writing this stuff would be so much easier if I did. I do what I can to make them real. As I write down what they do and say, I can see them, and as I progress in observing them and writing down what they do and say they become more real to me. That's about the best that I can do.

I hope when people read The Seven Second Kiss that Connie, her parents, Jordan, Jim, Mr. Evans, Sam, the bartender, Mae, Emma, Tommy and Eva will become people that are real to them and people who they care about.