The Great Write Way, Act Three: Where's the gun?
A place for Buffistas to discuss, beta and otherwise deal and dish on their non-fan fiction projects.
When I got really stuck on a long fic, I'd take a legal pad and a couple of fountain pens to the B&N that had Starbucks, stake out a booth, listen to the slightly muted announcements and calls for help, and the coffeeshop noises--espresso steam, quiet chatter, etc. till it all faded into background and start writing. Fountain pen ink flows faster and smoother than ballpoint, so while I can type nearly as fast as I think, handwriting with a pen is almost as fast. I'd get down a scene or a chunk of dialog or narration or description that hadn't been coming right on the computer. Later I'd find it was just a skeleton, but it was something to hang the meat on. It helped, when the computer started hissing and spitting whenever I walked by it. I brought it food, and it settled down and purred for me--for a while.
I wrote this thinking it would be like something else. Just a different POV, but somehow it's not.
A Little Something Between Elections flash fiction by Erika Jahneke
Probably there are people who propose marriage, or couples getting that pink line after a long medical slog at the fertility clinic who have greater reason, and, yes, mobility, to dance after someone says yes, but they are not looking for volunteers so early in an election cycle. The pleasure is even stronger because I had been prepared to hear that she needed the week off to move all of the furniture in the civilized world, and had shaped my mouth to say “That’s okay; these things happen,” and let her off the hook. Even though doing it sometimes made me feel like a dirty liar.
Some of what they say…well, I won’t say it doesn’t happen, but most of these people aren’t great at working around obstacles, and they are the people that thank me the hardest.
“It’s really great what you’re doing,” they tell me. “Keep up the good work.” Not the first time somebody gave me a lavish compliment instead of being there, so it definitely takes the shine off it, but I can’t let it show because we will be hearing each other’s voices again. Or maybe seeing some frozen image in a webinar…there’s no good way to make myself I. P. Freely(though I don’t, exactly, with the wheelchair and all) and have a big laugh at their expense . I’m thinking so hard about handling defeat, though, that I almost miss the victory as the shy little newbie with the quiet voice—a lot like mine ten years ago, actually-says yes, she’ll make calls on Thursday. “That’s okay…these things…you did say yes, right?”
“Yeah. Sure. Thursday’s my day off.” And she chuckles, and for the briefest instant, it feels like love. I love that hesitant voice, I love Thursday, I love the feeling there’s nothing this movement can’t do.
Unlike in my romantic life, though, I do play a few games here. “You’re lucky…nobody has signed up for Thursday yet.” I say, acting gruff and no-nonsense, even though the only times it’s really that hot is three days before, and backing a clear winner so they can post on social media and claim a little credit.
I don’t know if anyone even cares about my hot-ticket act, much less believes in it, but I’ve learned from my friends and the TV that helped raise me that there are things that you say: I’ve never done this before. It’s not you, it’s me. Maybe one of mine is “Wow, you’re so lucky, a spot opened up on Thursday.” Besides, it was true…that one time.
It doesn’t hurt to risk some vulnerability, once you have her interest. “Just checking. Everyone seems so busy this week.”
“Oh, wow,” Newbie says.(I know her name, but it doesn’t really matter for these purposes.) Call her Hannah. Call her Emily. Something smart and shy, for a girl who’s on our list cause she doesn’t like to see people get picked on, and still manages to pluck ten bucks out of the air every month because she loves the forest or hates book banning. Even if she had backed out, I swear I’d find some way to be nice. Eventually. “I could never do what you do.”
This is so much what I’ve heard about, well, everything, my whole life—which now is much longer than people expect, given that I live like an intern-- that I look down as if she can see me through the phone. Maybe she’s a psychic who needs a manager. Maybe that would be more fun than this.
I say what I always say. “I think you’d be surprised what you could do if you really had to.”
“I guess I’m going to find out.”
“I’m sorry?” I say, thinking “Please don’t hurt yourself, Hannah or Emily. The wisdom I’ve gotten from it isn’t worth the hype. So far, anyway.” But I don’t speak, which I am really freaking glad about because she says:
“I’m really nervous about cold-calling strangers.”
The absurdity, as well as the relief of not actually proving I’m a complete nutcase makes me giggle. Even if I’m sad not to be hitting the road with a Real Psychic. “Oh,” I say, through my laughter. “On the phone. “ Back in my normal voice I say “You’ll be calling our people and they are really friendly. Almost always.”
“Excuse me,” she replies, always polite. “What did you think I meant?”
“Never mind.” On that Thursday, for once, my day starts with a smile.
The plot bunnies have showed up just as my phone is reminding me it’s time to pick up ltc from school. This is very inconvenient.
They'll do that. I take a lot of notes. Sometimes they still hop away.
I can’t take notes while driving, unfortunately.
I do some of my best thinking while driving and then forget my brilliant insights before I can write anything down. May the plot bunnies return in a more congenial setting, sj
Is anyone doing NaNoWriNo? I may have bought a laptop so I could install Scrivener...
I am! As of today I'm at 5114 words.
Kind of think my writer's bio is boring. Maybe it's holding me back when I submit. What should I do? Especially about the fact that the thing that makes me stand out is kind of a liability, so it doesn't really leap to mind to be talking about the brain damage more. haven't really won a prize since the years started with 90-something, and that was third.