Sunday, April 23, 2006

Okay, I Guess Technically, It's Obligatory SceneS

It appears, as things break out, that there is more than one obligatory scene, but the good news is that, after some false starts and editing in the first draft (which I know I'm not supposed to do, oh, the horror, the horror), the worst bitch of them is done and I'm moving forward again. Not writing with the blazing speed and urgency of the big action set-piece I did a couple of weeks ago, but forward progress is forward progress.

The dilemma I'm facing right now, and I'm sure it'll work itself out soon enough, is that things have taken a dark turn in the aftermath of Act II. Everybody's kind of grieving and in shock, even most of the bad guys, and I'm not sure when I can lighten things up again. I mean, they're never going to get as light as they were in the beginning, at least not until the very end, but I don't want to keep everything grim until then.

Number one, it's not the book the reader is promised in the beginning (although, ha-ha, just to piss some friends off, I threw in a semi-grim prologue that I might not keep). And number two, I hate grim. Digger was conceived just as comics were entering the grim'n'gritty phase, and despite the best of intentions, he just could not stay grim'n'gritty. Finally, I just gave up and let him be who he is, and people seem to be responding to that. I just want to make sure I get the balance right.

The ironic thing is, one of my self-perceived weaknesses as a writer is that I rarely, when writing, really dish out the damage to my protagonists. Other writers really delight in turning the screws on their protagonists, but I don't enjoy torture so much, even imaginary torture (except for that one interrogation scene in Blue Falcon which was actually a hoot to write). I generally like my protagonists and don't like them to suffer. Plus, when they're suffering, they're no fun to write.

So here I am, writing a book that is ostensibly a comedy, and now is the time I choose, finally, to reach deep into my gut and really hurt my protagonists.

Oh, and speaking of irony, here's one: yesterday, I finally decided, "What the hell, I have an extra dollar. Let's buy a lottery ticket." Now, I was actually thinking of getting one of those scratch-off cards, but I said "lottery ticket," so what I got was a Powerball ticket.

So at one point last night, before I lost, I was digging around the floorboards of my car and under the driver's seat, looking for change to buy a Coke from the vending machine (and before Coke's trademark lawyers get all over me, it was technically a Diet Coke, but still a Coca-Cola brand soft drink, and by the way, gee, I guess I didn't have an extra dollar after all) while in my head, I was spending the $28 million I could potentially win.

Weird thing about the lottery; even though you know you don't have a chance in hell of winning, while you hold that ticket, you feel rich, even while you scrabble for change. The feeling even persisted for a while after I had checked the numbers and knew I had lost. No wonder people get addicted.

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