Why I write novels not short stories

As previously mentioned, here, here and here, I’ve been working on the synopsis for Scandal. I sent the chapters and synopsis off to my wonderful agent who had me revise the synopsis. I did that. She sent it back again with some astoundingly spectacular edits and two questions for me to address. I have done that, and sent it back. Monday, unless — no, it’s too horrible to contemplate– Monday Scandal goes to editors.

People, her edits were amazing. I think she read the thing and just shook her head and said, ok lookit, the girl can write a novel but she’s effen hopeless with the synop. She didn’t make huge changes at all, I fixed the really bad bits, but she tweaked little stuff that totally made it awesome. Short writing is way different from long writing. But, gosh, I wish I weren’t so darn synopsis impaired.

What else? I’m tired. I had a fabu idea for a scene in Magellan’s Witch at the gym this morning. I had this scene that was only doing one thing and even worse, it was doing only one thing that did little, if anything, to complicate the story. A classic warning sign that the scene is boring and thin. Uh oh. Without help, that’s a scene that will need to be deleted or sent to the prose-surgeon later. And then your writer’s insurance premiums go way up. So I applied a little preventative medicine and as I pedaled away, asked myself what else this scene could do for me that would introduce both conflict and complication.

My hero is in an all night pharmacy trying to get a refill of a prescription for my heroine who is outside in the car very very ill. Goal of the scene: get the refill.

Let’s analyze. The hero and heroine are apart. He’s in a pharmacy getting a prescription filled. She’s in the car. He gets the refill, then he leaves, gets in the car and drives away. Ohmygawd. Yes. really. That’s how I wrote it. And I had like three or maybe five pages about that. Oddly enough, putting a wall of condoms in the store did nothing to sex up the scene. Rats.

But I knew this was not right. Here’s the notebooked changes:

The guy filling the prescription isn’t human. Ooohhh. And he works for the bad guys. Ohh. He knows my hero isn’t supposed to have the refill. And my non-human pharmacist is compelled to tell his bad-guy boss what’s going down.

Later in the day, as I was driving home from work the second time (don’t ask) I suddenly realized that my pharmacist recognizes my hero for what he is and gives him a traditional greeting of non-human respect. And proceeds to betray him, as indeed, he is compelled to do.

Then my heroine comes in the pharmacy, just as the two guys are going to do the non-human equivalent of throwing down. She’s ill. She’s not sure what’s happening to her (something major, I promise) and she then breaks the pharmacist of his enslavement to the bad guy. Totally unexpected by all, let me assure you.

I think there’s going to be some cops or something in there. Maybe. Then the ex-pharmacist drives the hero and heroine away, while the heroine reveals something to the hero that totally changes everything.

So, yeah, a non-human guy rescued from being a pharmacist for the bad guys. Now that’s exciting stuff.

Tomorrow when I actually write this, who knows what the H will happen. But it’ll be way more exciting than standing around in a Pharmacy.


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