Well, here we are with the second installment of our work in progress. And I’ll be honest, the whole time between last column and this one, I’ve been thinking about what really does come next and how I work contemporaries.
This is where I should come up with something brilliant and insightful but to be honest, I had to think about it once again. Even pantsers do some thinking about their stories. But for me, it depends upon the type of story. If the story is in the genre of fantasy or paranormal or science fiction, I’ll put together a bible to keep all the facts straight. If not, then I’m a true pantser and go with the flow of the story regardless of what I think should happen.
But, first, let’s recap what I went over last time.
In my last column on my work in progress, we talked about how to get ideas and how to formulate that ever important first line. You all learned that I’m a pantser when it comes to writing certain things while there are others I have to meticulously plan. You learned that I continuously play head games with myself while I’m at the computer and that sometimes because of those head games, I have brilliant insight to how a story should go.
In this case, the inspiration for my work-in-progress came in the form of an intriguing picture. Add to that a really cute title and an interesting heroine who realizes her underwear is missing and suddenly you have the premise for a really good story.
Still there are some things that need to be done in the development of this story. When we last left our characters, Aeryn and her best friend, Monica, are sitting in a local Scottish pub discussing the previous eventful evening.
Let’s look at what we know about them. We know that Aeryn and Monica are lawyers who are in Scotland because of a conference on international law. We know one of them drinks tequila like there’s no tomorrow and one of them likes tea. We know both of them know someone they call ‘the stud’ and said stud has Aeryn’s underwear. We also know Aeryn is considered an all-American-blonde who has been hit upon by everyone at the conference. We also know they have toured the continent before right after they became lawyers. Other than those items, we don’t know much more at all.
So just where do we go from here?
At this point I usually ask myself some questions. What did they do when they had visited Scotland the first time? Who really is ‘the stud’? Does ‘the stud’ and Aeryn have a history? Is that why she’s so worried? Just what was that history if they had one? Will we stay in the city of Edinburgh or will travel to the Scottish countryside? Do I know enough about Scotland to write something like this? What’s the basic plotline going to be?
Okay, let’s look at these questions in order. First up, what did they do when they had visited the continent? Okay, what does one do when they get out of grad school? For this I either can look at myself and my friends or talk to others. I know that we weren’t the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ bunch in the least but we did party hardy when we realized that school was going to be in the past. By that time, each of us had significant others and did a variety of things. I went to Tahoe, a friend of mine went to the U.S. Virgin Islands, three others went to the continent for the trip of a lifetime. And believe me, I have talked to them extensively and there were at least one or two studs along the way. None of them spent the time in Scotland that I’ll have these two spending there but my friends gave me enough ideas to fill at least five books.
Second up is, who really is ‘the stud? And it goes right along with the third and fourth questions, does ‘the stud’ and Aeryn have a history and is that why she’s do worried? My obvious answer here is ‘the stud’ is someone the girls met during their first trip to Scotland. The second answer is a little more rocky. Yes, Aeryn and ‘the stud’ have a history. What’s up in the air at this point is what kind of history. If I make them lovers, the obvious thing would be that the relationship had no resolution and this story will give them one. But what if they had had a resolution but it was one that neither one of them could accept. It would have to be something along the lines of ‘I love you but I have my whole life ahead of me. I have a wonderful job waiting and I don’t know you enough to throw it all away on good sex’ type of thing. But then again, there are a couple of other scenarios that could have happened. They had great sex and she disappeared in the morning. Or maybe they made a heart-felt promise that if neither had married before a certain age, they’d try to get back together. The answer to the fourth question is easy – no matter how you slice it, she has reason to be worried. The worry can be a total angst thing on her part or it can be because the relationship was great or the relationship was bad. Every one of those scenarios would work wonderful and I’m going to have to pick one. Actually, I’m going to have to let the characters pick one. They always tell me what they are going to do anyway.
The fifth question, just what was that history if they had one, will be answered like I said by the characters themselves. Since I write character driven stories, I need to try and figure out what is in their heads not mine. Sure I can shape the way things are going to go but in reality I’ve got to become that character briefly so I know what they would say, do, think and so on.
Next question, will we stay in Edinburgh or travel to the Scottish countryside? I’m all for traveling to the Scottish countryside. I’ve been to Scotland for a total of about nine weeks and am planning another visit at the end of this summer to start in August and end sometime in September as I’m going to a Tolkien Moot that’s being held in a highland castle. My hope is that this stud character will be a man of some means and live some place really cool in the countryside of the country I’d love to make my second home, Scotland. It really is a beautiful place but I’ve only been there in the summer. Now there’s a thought, some where in this story, they could get snowbound in a highland cottage. How cool would that be? LOL!
So I’ve answered the next question too, do I know enough about Scotland to write something like this? What I don’t know I can get from friends I’ve made over there and by reading more books on the subject. Since I do have a point of reference, I can extrapolate from there. On my first trip to Scotland, I spent a week in England and then the rest of the time on a farm near Stirling. The second time, I again spent a week in England, ten days at the farm and the rest touring the Scottish country side to places we hadn’t made it the first time. This next trip, I will be mainly by myself or with a friend and her family. Every time I go, I pick up more books on Scottish history and see more of those little obscure places that most people never get to see.
So, what’s the basic plotline going to be? Okay, so now I’ve gone through and answered some of the questions to move forward, here’s the direction I plan to take right now. Remember, I let the characters talk through me and this is what they are saying right now.
Aeryn and the stud, who I’ve name Logan MacKenzie, do have a history, a hot and heavy one at that. Logan is the only man in Aeryn’s life who ever made her think her life choices weren’t the right ones for her. He made her live life instead of just being a participant. But Logan, at the time that Aeryn knew him, was too much of a free spirit for her and she bolted in a big way.
Now Monica was witness to all this but she’s hiding a secret, a big secret. Logan had gone to her early on in his and Aeryn’s relationship and got her to agree to a minor deception. The deception being that Aeryn thought the man was playing the field with her best friend also. But it was all a lie to make Aeryn think that Logan wasn’t as in love with her as she wanted to believe. The point of the matter is, Logan has never gotten over her. Period. That doesn’t mean he has had relationships since. Quite the contrary BUT none of them have even held a candle to the relationship he and Aeryn had.
So now, imagine what he is thinking when he finds both Monica and Aeryn at Clancy’s Pub in Edinburgh where he too has come for business. I know that I’m writing in first person POV and that it would be very hard to show you what Logan’s POV would be. But I have a very special surprise in mind for him that can’t be revealed until next time. Now on with the story. Here’s the next excerpt in my exciting new tale and we’re starting from the exact place we left off.
“What? No pithy comeback…nothing…you’re just going to lay your head there and say nothing?” She snorted like she always does at that point. “I thought you’d have at least something to say.”
The table felt cool to my cheek and I tried to concentrate on it while I plotted my response. Maybe saying nothing would be better in this case but I doubted it. “Let’s make sure we’re talking about ‘the stud,’ if you know what I mean.”
“What other stud is there, Aeryn?” She scowled at me over the edge of her teacup as I rested my chin on the table.
“Well…it could be someone that you met here…it doesn’t have to be our stud.”
Monica laughed. “For a lawyer, you can be really dense sometimes.” Sipping her tea, she just stared at me and I really hated when she did that. “You know you wanted to see him.”
I grimaced. Was I that transparent? “What if I did?”
“Pluazzzeee. Just who do you think you are talking to here? Your Grandma?”
“You just keep my Grandmother out of this,” I retorted back and frowned.
“Sweetie, your Grandmother would be hot and bothered if she knew the stud.” She just sat there giving me that all knowing look of hers. Sometimes I really hated her.
We had called him ‘the stud’ from the moment we met him. Logan MacKenzie. His very name still made shivers of delight run down my spine. But we didn’t end well, any of us. He liked both Monica and I way to much and I wasn’t into sharing any more now than I was then. But Monica could never know as my loyalties are with her and always were. I could still picture him in my mind with his wild warrior look comprised of his dark curly locks framing his almost romanesque face and his brilliant green eyes. His hair had a touch of red which matched his touch of temper. And he had been tall, much taller than my five foot ten frame. He was a man I could actually look up to as he dwarfed in comparison.
And he was the only man for which I had fallen completely head over heels. Not a day had gone by since I left him where I didn’t wonder if I had made a mistake all those years ago. Sighing heavily, I licked my dry lips. This damn hangover wasn’t making my life any easier.
“How did he know we were here?” I mumured still holding my aching noggin in my hands.
I glanced up at her and realized that she told the truth. He hadn’t know where we were. It was a chance hapenstance that got me into this mess. My frown deepened. Logan had hated the city and swore he would never be caught in one. This lead me to my next logical leap…why on earth had he been here?
“Is the little lady any better?”
I wearily watched the barkeep, Clancy MacDougal, bring Monica another hot pot and while his brogue definitely turned my head, it would never turn me on. The thing that gave me pause was when the handsome redhead leaned down and gently kissed my best friend. “What’s this?”
Monica leisurely finished her lengthy lip-lock with her usual attention to detail and turned my way. “While you’ve been four sheets to the wind most nights, I’ve been doing some searching of my own.”
“Oh.” I couldn’t say a thing. I knew that she had been in the market for a long time for a good man. Still there were questions to be answered. “I thought that Clancy was an old man.”
He turned a brilliant smile on me and I could glimpse what had stolen Monica’s heart. “I’m the younger,” he stated, his brogue light and airy.
Again I had little comment. “Oh.”
“Is that all you can say is ‘oh’?” She continued to sip her tea.
“Well…” I began, “…I’m not sure what to say.”
“You could say you were happy for me,” she growled at me.
I knew that this was a serious thing to her as she never growled at me. “Umm…sure…I’m happy for you.” I must have looked like a wide eyed puppy or something because then she did a very rare thing. She took pity on me.
“Look. You really should be happy to know that all any one got was your underwear.”
I sat up straight. “What are you talking about?”
“You haven’t told her about the table yet?”
My eyes switched rapidly from Monica to Clancy. “Table?” I saw her jab an elbow into his side.
“Ouch. Whad’ya do that for?” They exchanged a look which I could read. “Oh,” he said and turned away. “I’ll leave ya to explain that one.”
Next time we’ll talk about Logan’s appearance and how I intend to clue you in on his point of view. Oh, yes…and then there’s how he actually got the underwear left to be told. Again, I promise not to leave you hanging too long! Later…and have a great month.