Monday again, and I am mostly winging this entry, because A) “blog entry” is the next thing on my list, B) it’s almost lunchtime, and C) I am eager to get to one of those scenes in Her Last First Kiss. By “one of those scenes,” I do not mean a love scene (in this case.) This is not a kissing scene (but it does get Hero and Heroine set up for their first kiss, aka the titular smoochification.) Heroine is not kindly disposed toward Hero at this point, who has no idea why she’s angry, but she’s about to fix all that.
This was actually one of the first scenes that came to me, when I was first stirring the idea soup for this book. That was back in the magpie stage, collecting every shiny thing that caught my storyeye, even if I didn’t know how they would all fit together in the end. Didn’t matter. It looked good, in it went. Musical playlists, pictures of interesting faces, places, assorted objects, historical costume (though I’ve accepted that the Georgian era seems to be my current default, for the time being, there’s still probably always going to be that phase of flipping through the dress of different eras before a hero or heroine tells me they’d wear this or that, and then I know for sure when the story is set. I once had to hunt down a whole setting from the hat that story’s heroine wore when she first presented herself. That was, alas, one of the stories in suspended animation, but it will wake at the right time. By now, I’ve learned how to tell which stories are likely to wake and which ones aren’t.) – well, okay, that was a bunny trail. New paragraph, because I have no idea where I was going with this now. Told you I was going to babble. Well, wing it, which is basically the same thing. For those who have been wondering, this is basically what I do in my morning pages book, too.
Right, back to the scene. This is one that has definitely come in layers. The first version took place on pretty much a bare stage, because my scenes often do that. With my involvement in theater when I was in school, this makes perfect sense. Run the whole production over and over and over, from table read to blocking to rehearsals to dress rehearsals to hair and makeup checks, to tech, and then the performance. Maybe that carried over into writing books. All I know is that this is how I work, so I wasn’t too bothered that the movie screen in my head showed Hero and Heroine going at it (not that way; told you this isn’t a love scene…well, not that kind of love scene; love scenes don’t always mean sex scenes, but again, another topic for another day) on a blank stage with only the barest of props.
That’s all I needed at that time. The rest could build from there. Big prop tells me what Hero has been doing with his time when he’s not onstage. Small props that Heroine carries with her tell me not only how she’s feeling, but where she was immediately prior to making her entrance. Girl’s got a plan here, and dude does not have a clue, though he soon will, and that clue is only going to raise more questions. I love this scene, because it’s so them. It hurts both of them, pretty darned badly, but it also sets them up for moving toward something better. Not immediately, because this is a romance novel, and they can’t be completely happy until the very end (got that covered already; you’ll be fine, guys) but enough to give that spark of hope that maybe, maybe, the way they’ve thought life had to go isn’t really the only option there is. Of course, since we aren’t at the very end yet, taking that chance means making other things go horribly, horribly wrong, but it’s all part of the journey, and I’m eager to get on with this one.
That’s a good feeling, and it’s been a long time getting to where writing felt this good again. Far from perfect, and if I had my druthers, I’d have had this happen a long time before now, but maybe, like with Hero and Heroine, all the steps between where I once was and where I’m getting to now, were needed. Strengthening weak muscles, learning new things, adding new colors to the palette or new tools to the toolbox. New steps to the repertoire. All I know is that it’s Monday, and, instead of whacking my head against the keyboard, or putting out breadcrumbs, hoping to lure my characters closer, there they are, tapping their feet and sending me “hey, get over here, we want to talk to you” looks. I call that a good day.