The Writer, her Muse, Jenn, Mika, and Niall are up to their elbows in plotting!
Racing against time to get an outline in place before July Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins, they are making it up as they go…
Building An Arc
“SCENE I. Verona. A public place.”
“Yeeeah, no.” The Muse took the index cards away from the Writer and handed them out to the fictives. “I vote you don’t get to color this time around.”
“Booooooo.” The Writer grumpily retreated to the interdimensional sofa (who was still a little annoyed at her for being abandoned in favor of the comfy chairs last story) and fished out a Diet Coke from in-between the cushions. “Well then I make no promises on if I use any of it.”
“Right, so we need to start off by setting the scene, which needs some sort of minor mishap to foreshadow the chaos to come.” Niall said, “Are we introducing everyone in part one or are we introducing folks slowly?”
“We could start out with Jenn, then add Mika, then you,” offered the Muse. “The main POV could be the childhood friend and the first incident could be something to do with the location.”
“I hate to point this out,” said Mika, looking a bit sheepish, “but if I’m a church grim my job is to protect the church and graveyard… so there’s a good chance we’ve got a ghost story on top of everything else.”
“And I’m the childhood best friend who fell out of touch,” sighed Jenn. “Death would be as good as reason as any– I hate it, but that could work.”
“I said no twists though,” Naill grumped. “I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, but it can’t be a twist. At least not the one at the end.”
“It could be a middle-twist,” offered the Writer from the couch where she was pretending to not be paying attention. “It would be obvious to Jenn and Mika, but not to Niall. Assuming she’s the kind of ghost that looks real.”
“But If we ‘lost touch’ in childhood, wouldn’t that mean I’d still be a child ghost?” asked Jenn. “And if folks can see me, why wouldn’t it be common knowledge that I’m a ghost? And wouldn’t there be other ghosts in the graveyard?”
“Worldbuilding plot hole number 1,” the Muse made a note on the whiteboard.
“Wait, wait,” Mika interrupted, grabbing a marker and scrolling to an empty spot. “What if the two families are just a little bit magical? What if there are only a handful of people there with actual magic and Jenn is a ghost, but no one notices her but us?”
He doodled out some notes. “So let’s say Jenn’s family is non-magical and that she inherited her afterlife from her grandmother– um… banshee, there we go. Now she’s come along to the wedding because her mom was invited and she’s following her family around since banshees get to do that.”
“Did… did you just completely detrail my story idea?”
Mika gave the Writer a sheepish grin and went back to plotting. “So Jenn’s come along to see her childhood friend get married and wasn’t expecting to run into anyone else magical. But I’m here, and she’ll recognize what I am.”
“You’re good dogs, Brent,” said the Muse, nodding solemnly.
“That joke will make no sense in two years,” grumped the Writer and they all pointedly ignored her because WeRateDogs was awesome.
“But she might not know what I am,” continued Niall, “and depending on how she manifests I might not realize that she’s dead.”
“Okay, that makes sense I guess. But what’s the story about then, if it’s not about the wedding?” Jenn frowned at her index card. “We can still foil whatever dastardly plot is waiting in the wings, but if no one else is magical I’m out of ideas what the plot could be. I was going with space vampires…”
The plot bunnies were extra sparkly and proud of their convert.
“Well, the working title is Goodbye,” pointed out the Muse, ignoring the murderous fluffballs. “Maybe there is nothing that goes wrong, maybe this is just a story about you letting go of your childhood. Heading into the light or something.”
“I’m a banshee, so I can’t head into the light until my family line has all passed,” said Jenn. “But maybe more of a ‘coming to terms with being dead’– but that would mean I died recently.”
“Let’s say your grandmother was the banshee before you, then when you died she moved on to the afterlife and you took over the job.” The Muse gave Jenn a thoughtful look. “But if your mom was an only child and you didn’t have any siblings, then that means your term would end with her.”
“And people can only see banshees when someone is about to die…” Mika trailed off, uncomfortable. “Look, let’s not use that. Let’s make this a happy sorry– I’ve seen enough death.”
“I second that,” said Jenn.
“Right then.” Niall wrote a firm ‘This is not a sad story’ at the top of the whiteboard. “So we have someone who recently died who is coming to terms with the fact that a) they are dead and b) they are supernatural. Why is this wedding important to her and how will being here change her?”
“Also, what goes wrong?” added the Muse, annoyed. “We still need a plot. Coming to terms with being a banshee is not a plot, it’s just character growth.”
“Well, fine, then why am I a selkie?” Niall asked. “Other than for the Writer’s amusement.” He gave her a glare and she grinned.
“It’s important because that’s what my childhood friend it,” said Jenn. “That matches up with the general mythology of selkie women marrying human men… although they’re normally forced into the marriage.” Jenn frowned. “She wasn’t though.”
“So maybe some of the less immediate family isn’t so sure of that and wants to break it up,” offered Mika. “They could be trying to verbally harass them, or physically sabotage the ceremony, or heck– they could even try and kidnap the bride or groom.”
“And if her family is on the low end of the magic scale, it could be the relatives with stronger magic are more traditional, aka more suspicious. Which would be my family, I suppose.” Niall sighed. “So I’m the twist? I know about the plan, but don’t really agree so I’m staying out of it but not stopping it.”
“Which means Mika and me are trying to fix the little things that go wrong and you are sort of helping, but not really– up until the point where one of them is kidnapped and then you spill the beans.” Jenn eyed the still mostly empty board. “But we still don’t know what the little things are.”
“They hide the ring, which Mika can find. They accidentally poison the food, which Jenn can sense and warn them about. And then in the chaos caused by that, they kidnap the groom, which all three of us would have to help undo.” Niall marked the plot points out on the graph. “So, opening, ring, food, kidnap, ending. That work for everyone?”
“And that does tie back into the theme of letting go of the past and embracing the future,” said the Muse, smugly. “Jenn is embracing her supernatural side and Niall’s family is embracing the mundane.”
“…does this mean we’re ready to actually start?” the Writer asked, pulling another Diet Coke from between the interdimensional couch cushions. “Because we’ve got less than a day left before we start.”
“Ready as we’ll ever be,” said the Muse. “We don’t have time left to really hash out a proper scene-by-scene outline, so we can do that en route.”
“Let’s do this!” Jenn cheered, as Mika and Niall looked considerably less enthused.
And then it was July…