Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Worst Part of Revisions for my WIP

When I was writing the rough draft of The Goddess of Vengeance Wore Pink Galoshes last month, I sat in Starbucks one Saturday morning and poured out the story of Lauren intervening in a dog-fighting ring.

Literally, poured. I typed away, sniffling over my latte, swiping my tears quickly away and hoping no one would notice me.  Writing the raw details of that scene, forcing my imagination to really go there -- the smell of feces and infection, the matted fur and open wounds caused by a chain collar, the delicate cat bones in muck -- just broke my heart knowing that really happens to some animals.  I read more details than I wanted to when Vick's case got so much attention, but I still tried to keep from really thinking about it.  While writing, that wasn't an option.

But now my challenge for this story is to turn every scene where Lauren and Nemesis intervene into the same thing. At times during the rough draft, I tried to cheat - being purposefully vague about the terrible thing Lauren was going to stop.  It's hard to come up with myriad ways for people to hurt each other, and you know what? While there's a seemingly endless array to be turned up by Google,  I don't want to think about it.

I started Goddess out with a theme in mind: the idea that vengeance is personal, but justice is societal. Lauren would need to find a way to reconcile the Goddess of Vengeance with her ethical concept of justice. But sometimes novels diverge a little from where we expect, and that's the case here. The story ended up being about Lauren just being willing to see what it is others go through, even in the most painful of times - the times she can't actually help. My theme is our responsibility to recognize suffering - forget about the whole vengeance/justice subject (that's why there will have to be a sequel ;)).

Of course, a book with the title The Goddess of Vengenace Wore Pink Galoshes is going to be funny, too - it's not an entirely dark book.  But my challenge now is to write each of those scenes as something that makes me want to embarrass myself in Starbucks. That forces me to think about it, just like Lauren has no choice to...

Peachy.

10 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow! I hope you do find that same level of emotive bonding with your character soon!! That's amazing! Of course you will - you've gone this far with Lauren - only you know how to get out of your skin and under hers!!!

Good luck!!

take care
x

Kathryn said...

Phew! Heavy! I have a soft spot for animals too, so that'd be hard for me. It's amazing that you can connect so well! Good luck with this new WIP! Don't cheat! :)

Shelley Sly said...

Wow. Having that emotional connection can really do amazing things for your writing. I like the theme of your book, and though it's serious, I bet you weave in some great humor, too. I know I've said this before, but I hope I have the chance to read it someday. :)

Stephanie Thornton said...

You're right- the best scenes to read are the ones that really move us when we write them. But sometimes it's hard to get that emotional over every scene!

Ellen Brickley said...

Sometimes the hardest things to write really are the strongest parts of the book - when something really wakes you up emotionally, your readers won't be bored. I hope it goes well for you :)

notesfromnadir said...

Writing about the suffering of animals is difficult. You have great compassion in order to do this. But keep in your mind that whatever you put your character through is temporary. No matter how much suffering there is, it'll come to an end. This hopefully will provide mental relief for you when writing about such topics.

Imola said...

Lovely image! And a great post!

潘凱花潘凱花 said...

從來愛都不知它的深度,非得等到別離的時候.................................................................

Chris Catledge said...

Nice post. I just can't wait to finish my first draft so I can bring that kind of emotion into it. I'd love to read your completed work.

Kat_RN said...

I think you are going in the right direction, if you can't feel it, no one else will either. Good luck, I enjoyed reading your post.
Kat