Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Sunday, January 17, 2016


I've got the first half of OT pretty much where I want it, but my brain was overloaded so I took the evening off and watched Sense and Sensibility, again, for Alan Rickman's performance as Col. Brandon. And to enjoy a script that does not require stupid lines and emphatic directing to be funny. It's one where the performances turn quiet moments into laughs and chuckles.

I used Emma Thompson's elegant script as a partial template when I wrote The Lavender Curse, a story that starts with a ridiculous premise but which I tried to ground in honest human behavior. After all, a butch cop exchanging minds with his less-than-beloved mother-in-law just as he's about to make a huge arrest and she's about to be in a Senior Lady Pageant is not exactly the stuff of realistic drama.

I carried it as far as I could without it being ludicrous, and the main comment I got back was -- it's not funny enough. And what was suggested to make it funnier? Every cliche in the book. For example -- the Cop's mind is the MIL's body but no one knows and he has to take care of his obnoxious twin girls, but can't and finds it's exhausting. That was old when Dustin Hoffman did it in Tootsie.

I don't own the script so can't do anything more with it. I was removed as the writer...and it hurt because I had some very funny moments in it. But they were moments that would build from the performance. Like when the MIL's estranged husband shows up and wants to spend the night with his wife...and it's the Cop's mind in her body, and he's freaking out.

Another is when the Cop has to meet with an informant and is dragged to it by his partner, but it's the MIL's mind in his body and she sees some white go-go boots in a store window and goes nuts over them because of the memories they bring, all to the partner's consternation. Then it turns out the informant is out to kill them both and she has to protect the partner even though she doesn't know how.

Okay...I'm whining. I know. Not cool. Back to OT.

I've cut about 15 pages, so far, mainly by removing repetition and Jake's tendency to state the obvious. I've also cut a bit of his commentary, when it goes on a bit long. One mistake I almost made was correcting his grammar as he tells the story. I was cutting back on the conjugations, but it felt I went back in and returned most of them. Now Jake tells the story like Jake and not like a grammar nazi.

But don't call him stupid...

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