Archive for March, 2013

Pealing the onion without crying

I equate writing a novel to growing an onion. However, it’s actually more like growing the onion, pealing the layers down, then building them back together again and trying to present the onion as its pristine form, and hope the recipient doesn’t notice the difference.

It’s a necessary but daunting task. If you leave the onion untouched, you don’t know if it’s rotten in the middle or not. You can’t take that chance. So each layer is carefully removed, examined, and either discarded and replaced or left to be worked back into the onion later. Every bad layer must be replaced with a new one, or your onion will have a big hole in it. You can add layers but they must fit with the onion you’ve already grown, or it won’t peal correctly. Well meaning but ill fitting layers of onion can be used to grow new onions later.

I apologize profusely on beating my metaphor into a French-type soup, but hopefully, I made the point. A story is only as strong as its structure.

The way the plot moves along needs to reflect the needs and the goals of the characters experiencing the plot. Subplots need to stand on their own, but they must also support the main plot or they are unnecessary. Your plot must remain interesting and somewhat mysterious to the reader, yet it must make cohesive sense as a whole when the reader is done. The reader needs a reason to finish your story, but they also need a sense of satisfaction at the end, even if it’s some big cliffhanger to continue the story into the next installment.

In my metaphor the originally grown onion is the outline to your story. Don’t’ be afraid to reconstruct your outline. If it’s good to begin with, the basics will hold up to scrutiny. Your creative impulses created the original outline, but creativity is only a vague concept without the work required to make it something worthy of sharing with the world. It’s garnering the gumption to do the work that’s the challenge at least for me. And that’s where I’m at now.

Of course once I hand off my reconstructed onion to my editor (or editors, we’ll see), they’re just gonna peal it back down and make me reconstruct it all over again. I’m quite surprised when all is said and done that the final recipient doesn’t just end up with soup.

Trajedy at MOA. Honestly, real people just scare me…

From the Milwaukee Journal:

Minnesota woman still missing, feared dead

St. Paul, Minn. – St. Paul police have received more than a dozen leads from a tip line set up to help find a missing Minnesota woman, but haven’t yet found her, a spokesman said Saturday.

“At this point it’s difficult to qualify the leads until we follow them all the way through,” said department spokesman Howie Padilla.

Kira Trevino, 30, was last seen the night of Feb. 21 as she left work at the Mall of America, but authorities found so much blood in her car and home in St. Paul that they believe she is dead. Her husband, Jeffery Dale Trevino, was charged Thursday with two counts of second-degree murder.

From various TV news reports, I have gathered other facts.

They found the trunk liner from Kira’s car soaked in her blood. There was blood evidence in various rooms all over the house, suggesting she put up a struggle before her alleged death. The carpet was pulled up in the home by authorities, revealing a pool of blood that made the impression of a head and torso.

But, honestly, what freaked me out were the pictures of the couple. In every single picture Kira was smiling, but Jeffery was not. If this was a visual devise used by the media to portray Jeffery as cold blooded, it was well played.