Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Goodreads review of OT

I got 3 Stars...and some of the criticism is valid. You learn as you go...
________

This was a pretty intense story that I liked for the most part subject to a couple issues. It’s a mystery as the title indicates and our MC Jake’s Uncle Owen is missing. He receives information from various sources, some even anonymously, and heads to Palm Springs to see what’s going on.

From the beginning I felt like I was dropped in the middle of movie where I missed the beginning and character descriptions. But that was okay, because the relationships Jake has with his family and friends is so interesting I was ready to go with what I had because the writing was so good. Jake’s background is wonderfully diverse and complex and explains so much about him as a person. His relationship with his lover Antony is equally complex, the background of which we learn the basics of but most of it occurred before the events of this book. On one hand it annoyed me as at times the tension was so thick I wanted to know why, but on the other hand I was glad the relationship didn’t take over the story and I was happy when it moved back to the mystery.

The author is a gifted mystery writer who doesn’t insult the reader’s intelligence by writing as if the reader can’t keep up. He adds plenty of naturally occurring twists and turns interspaced by Jake’s personal drama in such a relatable way. The story doesn’t get stuck on either the mystery or the relationships, things are always moving and I was never bored.

While the mystery was complex, it was also very dark. Overt homophobia is rampant in Palm Springs with crooked cops, attorneys, government, banks, and churches making the lives of the gay community unbelievable hard. There is on page violent gay bashing and sexual assault (though the on page assault is far less obvious then the flashbacks). But the author expertly keeps the story from becoming a depressing slog under the weight of the homophobia. No matter what happens, Jake keeps moving forward. He doesn’t mope, or throw a pity party, he jumps right back in without missing a beat. And when that moment comes later in the story, that moment when Jake has had enough and explodes, it was beautiful to watch and worth the wait. I knew he had it in him felt the shift in the story when he finally found his voice.

As much as I loved it when Jake finally fought back, he never stops being angry. I understood it but grew tired of it. The last fourth of the book was almost in a loop, a homophobic event, Jake strikes out, people cave, a short time, a homophobic event, Jake strikes out, people cave, rinse and repeat. Over and over and over. It became exhausting to read and the continual anger lost its power after a while.

And then there is the problem that is more a me thing than anything. Rape hovers over the entire story. Jake’s flashbacks to his time in prison, the rape and murder of a man, and later an on page assault (though stopped). Rape is something I’m highly sensitive to, and felt it was overdone. Knowing what Jake went through in prison is useful in understanding how he operates, but I saw no benefit to the play by play showing of it in his flashbacks.

For the most part I liked it. Jake is fascinating and the mystery tight. Just a couple things kept me from loving it. Definitely a book to consider for gay mystery lovers.

What's wrong with pornography?

Apparently, HTRASG is porn, according to someone who shall remain unnamed, and my response was, Okay, so? No explanation that it's not, even according to Amazon, and no excuses. No pointing out the sex is only a bit more graphic than what you find in a Judith Krantz novel, and you can get those in the library. No arguing. No demeaning of him for his comment. My feeling was, If that's how you feel about it, fine. And seriously, so what?

I kept telling myself I wasn't going to explain my books, nor was I going to argue over what they're about...which I'm ambivalent about because they are my babies. But...they have to face the world and the people in it, and despite everything one may try, you cannot please everybody. In fact, some people will go out of their way to not be pleased.

However, this is the first time I really felt that way. Amazon banned the book for a while, when someone called it porn, and I fought like crazy against that...and they backed down, partway...but the damage was done. Sales never really recovered. The one real accomplishment of that fiasco was, I built a strong distrust of Amazon and their bullshit. That's why I won't use Create Space and Kindle does not get exclusive anything to my e-books.

But when others called it porn, I'd argue it's not and Amazon said so, as if there's something wrong about it being labeled that way. Well... there isn't. I know the book's about more than just getting a prurient rise out of the reader...be they male or female (I got my best reviews from female readers)...so if the person reading the book doesn't want to get beyond the sexual encounters, their loss. I used rape as a way to condemn injustices I see in society every day, and if you can't accept that or don't want to see it, when so many others have, fine.

I have to admit, this is a weight off my shoulders. Another step in building my writer's ego. And I needed it. The job I'm doing, right now, entails packing and transporting a massive library of genre writers...and I'm seeing books I'd never known existed by writers I had heard of and read...and not all of them were in normal format -- i.e. perfect bound in standard sizes -- and to see the variations let me start to see how much I've limited myself with my own preconceived notions and defensiveness.

If PS is to be anything meaningful, I have to shrug all that crap off. And the first step is giving it back its full name -- A Place of Safety. APOS. In Portuguese, it means After. Not sure what it means in the story, yet...but it's interesting. Dunno how Brendan feels, either...but we're still working through the stuff already done and getting it in order. That, alone, will take months...so he and I can confer on that, later. As for the rest, I don't have time for other people's attitudes on my work.

Like it or don't, read it or don't, the choice is yours.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

More of Place of Safety...

This is the opening of book 2 -- A New World. Brendan has witnessed a horrific bombing and crashed into a psychotic break in order to handle it.

-------------

There was black, peeling paint on an old windowsill. Paint weather-beaten and dried and bleached by the sun till it curled into little sections to reveal gray wood that used to be pine. I think. Bits had shredded away thanks to rain and wind...maybe someone’s careless pulling at the splinters. Maybe mine. It was almost lovely in its weaving patterns and grooves. But what caught my attention most was the steady line of ants whispering back and forth across it. Dismantling what was left of a half-eaten sandwich and crisps on a dish. Once some sort of meat salad on light bread. Not so very old. Part of a crust lay next to it. Had it been mine? There was a taste in my mouth that was rather fishy. And in my hand was a long bottle of Coke. Still chilled and half gone. If it was I who sipped it, as well, I don’t remember it.

From that sandwich, my eyes led me around a room larger than Ma’s, with a single bed against the wall to my left, a table beside it with a lamp and clock that read 11:42. A unit of shelves to the other side of it, filled with books, then a door and a well-stuffed chair in another corner and a writing desk jammed behind me. Paper with soft lines of golds and browns and oranges and greens covered the walls while plain tan paper swiped across the ceiling, and picture-prints in black frames hung here and there, with areas around some of them faded, as if there had been larger items in their place.

I finally noticed I was sitting in a swivel chair that seemed to belong to the desk, and on it was a typewriter under its own cover. The bed was mussed. Slippers and a robe lay on the floor, which led me to notice I was in pyjamas. Bottoms only, but it was good they were. The air was warm and thick, not at all like early winter.

My window was on the second floor and looked out into a yard that was nothing like what you would find in Derry...and could have used some tending. Half was covered in grass that was forcing its way between the tile and concrete encompassing a rectangular swimming pool. At the far end was a small house built of brick, with black trimmed windows with a slanted roof. A wire fence laced with vines of thick, drooping, fragrant yellow and white flowers encompassed the yard, with a pair of trees offering deep shade from its two corners, a hammock strung between them. An old bicycle, rusted but workable, was propped up against a section that had a wire gate. A brick garage was to the right of one tree, unto itself, a well-tended gravel drive leading up to it and an old Volvo 544 parked to one side. It all had the feel of expensive, but worn and in need of serious work.

I heard children laughing in the distance and --

-- I looked around to see a boy and girl chasing from the sweets shop and dancing around each other and the boy falling against the car and --
I bolted up from the chair to pace the room, my breath harsh and sudden, my arms wrapped around me. Panic filled my entire body and I put my hands to my ears but still I could hear the laughter...and I walked the length of that room, back and forth and back and forth...until it faded away...and my pacing stopped and my arms drew down...and I let myself notice a smell that came from my skin. A scented soap so clean and fresh and --

-- My shirt was removed, carefully, by two men, one my age and one twice as old, and I was sat on the toilet to remove my boots and socks then guided to my feet for one set of hands to tug at my pants as the other held me up and --
I spun to look at a door beside the desk. I knew it was the loo before I even crossed to open it. Which it was -- long and narrow, with a massive tub and shower curtain around it and a pair of sinks with a tall mirror opposite it and a small window in the wall above the tub to let in light and a door at the far end that I knew would be locked. I slipped in and saw the toilet was behind a partition on the far side of the tub, and everything was in perfect condition -- save for the towels hung haphazard from neat little bars affixed to the wall. I smelled one, and it held the same lingering aroma of that soap and --

-- The older man rubbed me down with one, talking in a voice I couldn’t understand, as the younger one brought in the pyjamas and robe and my hair was toweled off then combed, as if he’d done it a hundred times before and --
I sat on the edge of the tub, not so much from confusion as from dizziness. It seems I’d been bathed and dressed and put to bed like a sleepy child. Was it the day after? Two days? A week? I honestly had no sense of the time. But the weather was warm to the point of hot and the stillness of it oppressed almost to where you couldn’t breathe. This could never be winter in Derry. Nor summer. Was I in the tropics?

I rose and leaned against the sink to look in the mirror and saw looking back this hollow-eyed lad with a scruff of a beard...well, in the places it would grow. My hair was longer and ratty with curls. My skin was grey and I looked as if I’d lost two or three stone, the way my bones showed on me. I began to shake and my knees give out and I dropped to the floor and --

-- I flew through clouds of the finest mist molded into perfect playthings, with the sky as blue as blue could be and all seen through a small window with rounded corners that distorted everything but I didn’t care because the clouds were heaven and souls filled them to bursting and dreams danced in the shadows of their billowing tufts and I whispered a song to them -- Farewell Angelina? -- as they soared past and a hand touched me and I looked around and --
Someone entered the bedroom, without knocking.

“Brendan?” asked the kindest voice one could imagine. “Are you all right, son?”

I couldn’t answer. Couldn’t think of the words to say.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Place of Safety...part 1...

Colm and Brendan get in a fight with some Protestant boys and one was beaten, badly, so they ran off. Now they're headed home but get rousted at a British checkpoint. The soldiers are on edge; two of their men were found murdered, the day before, and word is the IRA has begun its resurgence.

------------------

The Sergeant eyed the scrapes on my face and grabbed Colm’s arm to look closer at his bandage.

"What's this?" he snarled at Colm.

I gave a small laugh. “Me mate was playin’ the cod, is all. “

“Shut the fook up, ye fookin’ taig.”

I shrugged. “Call me what you want, but I was workin' on a car and me mate was actin’ stupid and got under it to play and kicked it off its block. The cut’s from the tail pipe hittin' him as it fell. Me boss tied his arm and it took the three of us to set the car right.”

“Ye fookin’ liar -- you fix cars? A nobody like you?”

I snorted, this time. “I can fix any car there is.”

He smiled at me, cold and hard. “Yeah? I got a Land Rover leaks oil. Nobody can tell me why. All the seals are good and no cracks in the block. What the fookin' shite is wrong wit’ it?”

“What’s the year?”

“Sixty-three.”

“Model”

“S-4.”

“Is the head tight?”

“’Course it fookin’ is.”

“Sure of that? If you put a normal jointing, it needs to twice be turned, to make sure. I used double joints and compounds when I fixed Dr. Wiler’s; went hard on the fastening. Colm helped me with the last turn of the spanner.”

Colm nodded, without hesitation. “It was bloody hard. Bloody thing won’t come off without major surgery, for certain.”

“Hasn’t had a leak since,” I said, smiling.

Another soldier came up. “What about a Volvo 122? Shifter comes out the gear box.”

“That’s the bloody car’s design. Put it back in and screw it closed, is all you need to do.”

“Not what the mechanic said. Needs doin’ just right, fastened down just right.”

“Yeah, and how much’d he charge you?”

“...Twenty quid.”

“Each time?”

“I...I didn’t say it was more’n once.”

I let myself chuckle. “Next time it comes out, put it in yourself and see what happens.”

“So you do know cars,” the Sergeant said.

Another soldier came over, his fingers itching to pull the trigger of his rifle, his eyes darting between Colm, me and the Sergeant. “Are we sendin’ off or keepin’ ‘em, sir?”

The Sergeant just turned and walked away. The first soldier said, “Off wit’ ye.” And they let us go, him calling "Thanks," as we went.

And we went. Fast. So fast, we were halfway down Fahan before I realized I was shaking, like mad. And Colm had been dead silent. Then I coughed. Again. Colm looked at me. Pulled me around Fox's Corner. Stopped me.

“You didn’t cough once, in front of that bastard.” I couldn’t speak. He eyed me. Saw me shaking. His face grew gentle. “C’mon, me china, let’s to home.”

I just started walking, that bloody cough still popping up, now and again, but my shaking eased...till Ma looked out the door and saw me and burst up and slapped me for being late.

“I told you to be home by four!” she screamed.

“It was the checkpoints, Mrs. Kinsella,” Colm said.

“You should’ve allowed for that!”

“You’re lucky we’re home, at all, and not at Castlerock. Bren kept us from that.”

“And what would he have that they want? You and your lyin' ways, coverin' for each other and -- ” She slapped the back of my head and grabbed my collar to yank me inside. 

“Mrs. Kinsella!" His voice was sharp and cold. A man's voice, not a boy's. “I’ll ask you not to hit Brendan, again -- ”

Ma glared at him. “You’ll mind your own business, me boy, or -- ”

Colm took a step closer and Ma shut up and I stopped shaking. “Colm! Won’t...won't they check my story? Do you know if...if McClosky’ll back it up?”

Colm's voice was like ice. “He will...once he knows.”

“Best get to him. Set it straight.”

Colm nodded, his eyes locked on Ma. For the first time since before Da died, I saw wariness in her face. He backed away, giving me a pat on my shoulder. “You’re an odd one, Bren...and I’m glad you’re with us, not them.”

I sort of smiled at him...and he left.

I turned to Ma and said, “I’d not call him a liar, again. I don’t think he’d like it.”

Then I went up to my room and sat in my bed and gazed out the window at that ugly bloody yard, behind us, and I did not move till supper.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thermostat remodel...

My apartment building put in a new thermostat to control my AC and heating, but in order to do it right, I had to move a couple of book cases. Doing so made me see just how much crap I'd accumulated without thinking, so I'm digging through and pulling out books I've read and don't want to read, again; and papers I don't need; and journals and pamphlets I've no more use for...and junk in general. So that's been my last couple of days -- sorting and shredding things that need not be known.

I've already got 2 bags of shredding and I'm maybe 25% of the way through. I did that as I watched a couple more episodes of Midsomer Murders...just to watch Nick Hendrix. At least, that's how I justified not writing. I need my place back in a semblance of order by Sunday, because I'm spending all next week in Oakland and do not want to come back to it.

I finally caught a glimpse of why I'm fixated on Nick -- he reminds me of Clive Owen, like from when he was in Croupier and that BMW series of adverts called The Driver....and Gosford Park. Mr. Hendrix hasn't half the intensity of Mr. Owen, but looks-wise...they could be brothers...or father and son...and it feeds my fantasies.

I never know why I get attracted to a man. Someone you'd think would be a gay man's dream might not grab me in any way. Hugh Grant, for example; he's nice-looking but not for me. Same for Colin Firth. And Colin Farrell doesn't even begin to interest me while Aiden Turner stops me cold when I see him.

Henry Cavill would be an obvious choice for anyone to be attracted to, and he is gorgeous, but Russell Tovey is not conventionally handsome, yet I'd chose him over Henry in a heartbeat. It's weird.

But it's the same with a story, actually. I can work on a script and love it and the characters, but sometimes it stops on me. Completely. Won't let me go one step farther and I have no idea why except it just no longer grabs me, and no matter what I try, I can't re-engage.

That's why I feel so strongly about Place of Safety. I've worked on it in fits and starts over years...hell, decades, now...but get right back into it and love what's happening in it and how the characters are interacting...until I get scared of what I'm trying, again, and freak out and have to take some time to regain my composure. But I'll never let go because it's a story I need to tell...and I really do need to get over my childish hesitation about it. Which I am...in fits and starts.  So I guess I'll keep going till it's done or I'm dead.

And at the rate I'm going, this process may continue for another decade.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Edgy...

I've been in the weirdest mood since getting back from the UK. Like I'm on edge...not quite nervous but unable to relax. Tight and tense. I don't know why...unless it's from being so beat up from this trip. I just know I had one hell of a time focusing on anything, yesterday, of any meaning...and today was almost as bad.

Of course, it doesn't help I had to shove a lot of crap out of position in my apartment because the management decided to install a thermostat. My ac/heating unit had old controls that were manually switched on and off. Now I can set the thing to go on and off whenever and it works just as poorly.

But my apartment's in a mess and I'm trying to rearrange things so they work better and have no idea what to do about it all except get rid of a lot of junk. Which means sitting down and going through it and dealing with the dust...and I just don't wanna...not right now...

I'm sick and fucking tired of the GOP and right wing scum taking this country down the path of totalitarianism. Republicans are so busy proving themselves to be hypocrites -- and damn proud of it -- it's destroying any semblance of normalcy. I'm pissed off all the time and seriously would not weep if every damned one of them was wiped out by some GOP-oriented plague or, as poetic justice, a right wing gunman.

Maybe that's why I'm so on edge. It tells on you, being infuriated on a daily basis for 18 months straight. I wish Czar Snowflake would just die or have his stroke or something, already, with Pence and all the rest following him in hideous ways.

As a ludicrous segue, this anger and frustration reminded me I wanted to find that Creepy Magazine cover of Dracula and The Wolf Man fighting in the ruins of Whitby Abbey...and here it is. But it's not really Whitby...just a close resemblance. The artist may have used it as a template....but it works. One of my all-time favorite magazine covers.

So...what I now need to do is find a way of channelling my anger and frustration into PS to bolster Brendan. It fits best in the third section -- when he returns to Derry -- but also works in the second part, set in Houston. I've got a situation started there that leads to tragedy...and maybe horror...not sure yet.

I think PS is turning into a primal scream...

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Movies on a plane...

Flying back from London, I had an empty seat next to me but the other two seats in the row were taken up by a young, blond, British couple who had that flat monotone London accent that's kind of nasal and drives me nuts. So instead of reading, I decided to watch some movies, with earbuds to drown them out. Don't cost anything but time on a plane, right?

First up -- Kenneth Branagh's Murder on the Orient Express. I'd avoided it because of that amazingly dumb mustache Branagh has Hercule Poirot sporting. He's also 20 years too young for the role. but I figured, "How bad could it be?"

VERY.

The story is exquisite Agatha Christie. An American businessman is stabbed to death in a locked sleeping berth on a luxury train. Turns out he was an infamous criminal and, bit by bit, it's revealed everyone on the train had a connection to a hideous crime he committed. It's up to Hercule Poirot to solve the case.

Nice and straightforward...and done beautifully, before...so how the hell could the script be damn near incoherent? I've read the book and seen the Sydney Lumet version, and I had trouble following it. Then there's Branagh's direction -- rather than helping to reveal the story and characters, he goes out of his way to obscure them and even adds flourishes to remind you that he's directing this film. Like the overhead shot as they discover the body...that never shows the body. This was surprising, because he's done some elegant work in the past.

Next is the casting...and changing of the original characters (not to mention attitudes of the times) to suit that casting. Like having a black actor play the doctor and be having an affair with a white woman. But worst of all was the ridiculous denouement. Poirot gets SHOT...to no real physical effect! He still jumps around like an acrobat, and has the suspects lined up at a table in a tunnel in wintry mountains in order to almost dance about and tell them he knows what's going on and who the killer is.

If I'd paid a buck for this, I'd have asked for my money back.

Next up -- Love, Simon. A nice gay coming out story...which was really an outing story, because the main character doesn't come out, it's revealed that he's gay in a vicious posting on the school chat forum and is forced to tell his family...all with no honest repercussions. His father even apologizes for not already knowing. Jesus. Then the whole school cheers when he finds love...with one of his good friends...about whom we are supposed to believe he didn't know a very important detail. A lot of gay people are wild about this film, and I don't get it. Beautiful Thing and Weekend are a hundred times better and far more honest.

Last was Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. A woman whose daughter was raped and murdered demands to know why there's been no arrest and sets in motion events that turn brutal and tragic. This one, I liked because it took events to their logical conclusion, most of the time...including the inconclusive ending, which apparently has been a point of contention to many. The acting was uniformly top notch, with Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell earning their Oscars.

There were a few points that irritated...like a black cop showing up and refusing to hand over paperwork to the white cops to prove he's been assigned to the town's police force; black people get shot for that kind of shit. And I've been to St. Louis and Kansas City, both pretty damn flat areas, as is most of Missouri; I don't recall any high-hills in that state. Turns out it was shot in North Carolina...and looks it...so why not just set it there? But those didn't really detract from the total package.

This evening, I watched a year-old Episode of Midsomer Murders -- Death by Persuasion -- that was nice enough. But the reason I watched is, I've developed something of a crush on Nick Hendrix, who plays the lead detective's sidekick...which is shocking, to me. He looks like a typical English lad and doesn't have 1/10 the charisma of Russell Tovey, on camera, but I'd be happy to chase him. Man, you never know what's going to hit you from where, when it comes to attraction.

So now I'm almost back to normal, whatever that is, and about to make my own kind of magic.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

I'm baaaaaaaack...

For the last three weeks, I've been doing so much traveling and scrambling and financial finagling and time zone changing, it's taken me until today to begin to even understand where I am or how I got here. And it's not over; next week I'm in Oakland and the week after that, Indianapolis...well, a town outside that city. Whoever said this summer was going to be quiet put a hex on it.

But...I did get to see some places I never would have. And I hurt my right knee, not to mention pissing off my feet, by walking so damn much. It's still achy and I can't sit for long periods without getting up to stretch it out, but I did manage to lose 5 lbs this trip.

And I got to see York, epitomized by their Minster Cathedral, with its magnificent stained glass windows. But here's the fun part -- every church in the city has amazing stained glass windows. Apparently, this was a major center for that and they still have workshops for making them.
Then after a nearly 3 hour train ride there was Whitby Abbey, where Dracula came ashore and took Lucy as his first UK victim.

The ruins are on top of a hill overlooking Whitby and more than make up for the tackiness of the town. 199 steps up to a view that was almost as magnificent as the Cliffs of Moher. I could see why Bram Stoker used it for his location. Of course, it wasn't till I'd headed back to York that I heard Whitby is also famous for its fish & chips. Dammit; I was hungry for some.
I also did Jarvik, the Viking colony in the middle of York. It was flooded out a couple years back when the River Ouse had one of her annual fits, so what I saw was all new and fascinating. A day in the life of a Viking village from 1000 years ago.

But then, I also got screwed over by 2 of 3 Hilton hotels I was staying in, something I'm still trying to sort out. I only stayed there because Mary Jane is an honors member and gets points, but they were supposed to be paid for on her credit card and the M-Fkers wouldn't do it. I had to use my own and I'm not sure I got the same deal on the rate, or that she got the points. I'll have to check that, on Monday.

What was worse was, I got very little done on Place of Safety. You'd think during a 10 day trip to the UK I'd have had time to just sit and think. Instead, all I got was a few notes and a slight reworking of a section I'd already written but had a new idea for. Still, that little bit of space let me contemplate aspects of the story...and I could see I was slipping into a too one-sided vision of a few people.

Like Brendan's father. He's a violent, selfish brute...and that is way too black and white for this to work. I mean, it's somewhat understandable because Brendan's ten when the man is killed, so he does see things in more simplistic terms. But he's not incapable of realizing there was more to the man than just his drinking and his fists...and I was ignoring that aspect of him.

I want people in my book, not characters.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Chicago...

Driving back from dropping off my first shipment, yesterday, I took a moment to find a nice spot on Lakeshore Drive to get a photo of downtown Chicago. It wasn't easy. Seems Saturdays in the summer are for all sorts of events where the parking costs $25 and roads are blocked (but no one told Siri, this) and you can only turn left, not right (legally). I think I used a good quarter tank trying to get around that was not going to be got around...until I got around it, but that moment turned into a good 2 hours.

This has been too tightly-scheduled a set of jobs for me to do any real exploring of the town. I flew in on Friday morning, picked up my first job, spent the rest of the day in my room packing it, then dropped it off before noon to make its flight. After that, I built boxes for today's job...and yes, I was working on a Sunday. It's the only way we could schedule it in.

This was a higher-end rush-rush job so I also had to pack more carefully...meaning I also built the boxes to be much sturdier...and did even more on-site, especially since the client suddenly included a flat piece I wasn't expecting. I think I protected it...but you never know till it's at its new home.

So right now I'm beat. I did some reading for PS but that was a mistake, because it led me into thinking I'm out of my mind trying to write a book set in a part of the world I've only barely visited. This guy's referencing all the people he knew who lived on Nailors Row and Friel Terrace andI'm so damned unsure about this, now, I think I better hold off for a few days to get past it.

But talk about biting off more than you can chew...

Friday, June 22, 2018

Another fight with Brendan...

Actually more of a serious disagreement. I don't like repeating actions. My weakest scripts were those where I had the characters doing the same thing more than once, just to get through the story. But there are moments of repetition in Place of Safety and I want to avoid it but the actions are too damn important so I'm worried they will look like lazy writing. And that is the last thing I want in this book.

But...they do advance the story. And Brendan is insistent they happen when they happen in the way they happen, so I'm fighting like crazy to figure out how to make them dissimilar while still being similar...if that's even possible. And right now, I don't think it is.

Something else I have to keep in mind is, as horrible as The Troubles were, they did not affect a large part of the population of Derry. Yes, lots of people were killed and probably everyone knew someone who'd been burned out of a job or lost a relative or friend to a bomb or sectarian murder, but there was a lot of There but for the grace of God go I kind of thinking, too. And the farther away you were from the city center, the more likely it was you wouldn't be touched.

I'm not sure if that would figure into the story...or even how. Brendan's first love, Joanna, comes from a background of middle-class Protestant privilege so doesn't see the world in the same way as Brendan. She can't. Hell, he doesn't even see the world the same way his brother, Eamonn, does, and he's only six years younger and raised under the same conditions. He's an anomaly in his little section of life, which causes him a lot of conflict with his mother and even his friends, at times.

But is it so important to have that many viewpoints in a story being told in first person by one particular boy as he grows into a man? Is that too wide a net to cast in order to make the points I know need making? Or am I worrying too much about nothing?

Brendan thinks I'm an idiot to even consider thinking about this, now...and he's right. I'll be rewriting the story for some time in order to find its purest essence, and I think, for some stupid reason, worrying about this now means I won't have to deal with it later. Must be the anal side of me forcing its way forth in an attempt to hijack my forward movement.

Or...is it a new character?