I’m up to 46,000+ words, now, still ahead of schedule for the challenge but behind on my personal goal. I may very well catch up, though. I’m getting a good view of the last part of the book, with some scenes I need to put in that’ll go fairly quickly. I hope.

LeJune and Packy aren’t getting along any better. Every so often, I think things are going to get all warm and fuzzy and familial between them, but the family feeling seems to be staying pretty duty-versus-heartfelt. For instance:

Packy was in the kitchen, reading diaries, and Mama was winding up a conversation with one of her friends.

“I better let you go, then,” Mama said. Then she said, “Uh-huh. No, really?” and they were yakking again. It was worse than having a teenager.

Packy had a glass on the table in front of him, empty except for the leavings of one of those effervescent stomach powder drinks.

“After all the bean soup you ate for supper,” I said, “I’d think you were fizzy enough as it is.”

“Gave me indigestion,” he said.

“More likely, it was that hindquarter of beef you had for lunch. A man your age ought not to eat that much in one sitting, especially if you have a delicate stomach.”

I could see he wanted to contradict me, but either he had indigestion or he didn’t.

I’m having a blast with these characters. None of them is anybody I know, but they all have bits of different people I know included in them. You who write, you know how that is. Even if you start out intending to parody somebody or, worse yet, pay a grand tribute to somebody, unless the character becomes somebody else, that character is cardboard. Or, as I prefer to say, a sock puppet.

Haven’t you read books where at least one of the characters is obviously standing in for somebody real? Where a character is just so awful or so perfect the book ought to have a label on it that says Reality Not Included? Or where all the action stops so a character can flap his or her literary lips while the puppeteer makes a speech?

Anyway, I’m in the middle of a fight scene, in which each character participates in his or her own particular way, and it’s getting a little loopy. Gotta go!

MA

writing prompt: Is there a relative you tolerate for the sake of kinship but don’t much like? Use him or her as the basis for a character, but make him/her sympathetic.

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