Monday, June 25, 2012

MMWUC: Editing for Zombies

Got so busy editing, I forgot to think of something witty for Monday morning. Then, Sydney (my cockatiel for those not paying attention), slept in and didn't wake me. Doesn't mean I have anything witty or instructive to say now that I've had a cup of coffee, but I'll give it the old college try.

The first of my nine "Da Guidelinez For A Writer's Journey" listed down the right-hand side of my blog is as follows:

If real estate can be boiled down to three words: location, location, location, then writing can too: tighten, tighten, tighten. With tightening, look for plot or character tension on each page (see Maass' "Writing the Breakout Novel"). Avoid unnecessary details and wordiness. Remember the rule of three--most people only remember up to three things in a list. Watch for redundancy. Ensure your dialogue moves the story forward.

According to feedback from my current WIP, I need to follow my own advice more closely. When I responded to my Caribbean friend about her wise comments, this is what popped out of my head.

Getting everything right for every reader is a problem. In fact, it has inspired another story about a frustrated writer who travels to the Caribbean on vacation after receiving yet another rejection from a targeted agent who blasts the literary aspects of his novel. While in the Caribbean, the writer runs into his greatest nemesis, the woman who told him to write in those changes that infuriated the agent. He plots revenge. He kills her and frames her live-in boyfriend for her murder. However, he can't leave because a hurricane hits the island, grounds the planes, and destroys the jail. It frees the boyfriend, who knows the truth about her murder. Morally unable to kill the writer, the boyfriend seduces with his charms a local voodoo-woman, who is a voracious reader and hates poorly written books. He promises to be her lover if she raises his dead girlfriend as a zombie to kill the writer.

The writer waits in a shabby motel full of trapped Portuguese vacationers. But when the writer meets up with the zombized girlfriend whose mumbling, "Brains," in a German-Spanish accent, a confused Portuguese Water Dog thinks she said, "Bacon," and jumps on the fragile zombie-girl, killing her, and eating what's left of her brains in the process out of hunger. After terrorizing the trapped tourists, the zombie dog is finally put down. The writer sweats out another long day's delay fearful the police are on to him. However, when the writer finally flies out, he's upgraded to first class, and a drunk and flirtatious Katy Perry settles into the seat next to him on the connecting flight out of Miami. She invites him to stay with her in New York City when they land, because her new boyfriend is boring elitist snob. They land and catch a cab. They kanoodle in the cab as the writer anticipates a free weekend of Katy-love. As they arrive at the hotel, a man opens the cab's door. It's the agent who had rejected the writer. The agent is also Katy's boyfriend. The agent and the boyfriend get into an argument on the sidewalk. The agent kills the writer. (Yeah, literally and metaphorically.)

The agent dies before going to trial. The writer's estate finds an agent for the book. It becomes a mega-bestseller, selling 70,000,000 copies in a year, more than Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Code". Exonerated from the murder of his girlfriend, the island girl's boyfriend sues for some of the royalties on behalf of her and her input, which he now claims mostly came from him. He wins $22,567,342.82. He meets Katy Perry at the trial. They fall in love, but the girlfriend is raised from the dead one last time. Death by canine is against rule 7.23.4 in the Voodoo Handbook, and she hadn't fulfilled the murderous portion of her unholy contract. Zombie-girl kills the boyfriend by collapsing in pieces on him, sticking a rib through his rib cage into his heart while he and Katy were making love. Katy freaks and joins a convent. The voodoo-women rejoices over her revenge and is last scene hatching a plan to raise her former lover, the agent. Though he hated the book as much as she did, he needs to pay for leaving her and taking up with Katy. All this proves is that no book pleases everyone and sometimes the editing consequences can be deadly.


Don McCandless said...

Rick, I don’t know what impresses
me more: Your mastery of the discursive plot line, or the fact that you know who Katy Perry is.

A week ago I called a halt to my
latest effort because the tension I’d worked so hard to build in my opener had begun to fizzle by the middle of chapter three. I needed a recharge from Maass’ book. For
anyone not familiar with ‘Writing the Breakthrough Novel,’ he’s written a helpful workbook to go along with the original text.

After several days of musing, weed pulling, tree trimming, and a re-plumb for a woman’s recently purchased condo, (strange as it sounds, working bathrooms are something women demand ) ideas on how to foreshadow and tie the conflict that appears later in the draft to the opening chapters began to form.

After something like a ten day hiatus, I’m finally ready to sit down and write again. As soon as I tame the shrubs on the west side of the house, that is. Sometimes one just has to walk away, get some perspective, and begin again.

Kw mccabe said...

lmao Rick! I don't know if that's a plot proposal--but I would definitely read the book. Gawd... so busy this week--I don't know if I'll even have time to write 500 words...

Rick Bylina said...

Katy Perry is a cutey, blue hair and all. Sorry I had to make her run to the nunnery, but I doubt she'll stay. :-)

K.W. -- Just 500 words. You can do it. On "Raymond" was a quote--"The habit of discipline to finish each story is the difference between a hobby and a profession." - Raymond Carver. Write on!

Beth Camp said...

Love your Monday challenge. OK, the words are done (for today), and now my treat: this zombie marathon complete with crossed and cross lovers, zombies, and the unfulfilled saga of a writer: write, edit, reject. And all over again. Thanks for the good morning laugh.

Unknown said...

Well, I didn't get to the good morning laugh until after 4. Busy morning! Actually, my 500 words were in a email to some crazy lady who wants to promote my ebooks on her blog! I can't imagine her and you at the same party. I'd split my sides laughing at the banter!
Tightly, tightly, tightly is the way to go! But, I'm off to the chiro-cracker as Bud says!