Conversations with Emily

I finally hooked up with my agent yesterday when I was walking back from taking my kids to PE. (Had my phone with me - wise, yes?)

Here's the deal:

OPENING SCENE

She didn't think the first scene was as good as it could be. The first scene used to be Gabe coming to the firecamp and finding out he was getting a reporter, Peyton, on his crew. The problem with that was his ex-wife was on the scene, and she was the one assigning him the reporter. The bigger problem is that Gabe still is hurt by his ex-wife, still has feelings for her. Which makes sense, but not in romance land - not if he's going to be hooking up with Peyton.

So I'd rewritten the opening scene where Peyton meets Gabe the night before they meet at firecamp, at a dancehall/restaurant/bar. It was hard to write, since that other scene had been the first scene for years, literally. My friend Kris said when she read it that she could see my goal, but not the character goal, and Emily echoed that (though I thought I'd fixed it.) So Emily wants it to be a scene where Peyton's taking control of her life, she sees Gabe and decides she wants him. Which could be fun. But I don't want them to go all the way, so I have to figure out a) how to stop them and b) what makes Peyton special enough that he won't blow her off (which he's adept at doing).

GABE

He needs to be more adamant about never wanting to leave the job. This, I can do.

PEYTON

Oy, Peyton. This one is the toughie. From the dawn of time, her motivation has been that her husband died in the line of duty and she's doing a series of articles on people who do dangerous jobs so she can figure out what makes them tick. This changed during the last revision to where she's still doing the series, but SHE wants to be heroic. Emily doesn't think that's strong enough, but she wants me to keep it tied to these things so I just don't have to gut the whole book. My friend Norah suggested that Peyton have a secret that could be revealed if she does this job, a secret that would lower her in Gabe's estimation, but I just can't wrap my mind around what.

THE GOOD NEWS

The suspense plot is good and strong. Thank God. That was the hardest part!

AND she wants me to write something new after I do this. I told her about Alex's story and she really liked it.

SCHOOL

OMG, I have to get ready for work, and I'm staying there today till everything's done (I've been carpooling with my mom and she likes to leave right away.) I have to get ready for a sub for 2 days, get progress reports out (which requires grading papers), schedule conferences and do paperwork for the kids who are going to summer school (3 - half of what I had last year), do my self evaluation and good Lord, organize my room. It's awful.

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6 comments:

Dee said...

Soo, her husband still dies in duty, yes?

Maybe he's inspired her to want to be heroic, to live up to his memory?

If she has a secret, maybe it's that she failed her husband in some way? Some way tied to his death? Like sending him out to work while they hadn't settled an argument? Maybe she asked for a divorce? She's driven to make it up to him in some way? So, when Gabe finds out what she did, he can't believe she sent her husband into danger in that frame of mind?

I'm just throwing out uneducated possiblities. I find that when people offer me advice on a character that is totally wrong, I focus more on what is true about them. Then I can be honest to the character. :)

Best of luck on those edits!
Dee

Stacy Dawn said...

Hey, I like some of Dee's ideas.

Good luck with it!

Toni Anderson said...

Good luck with the edits Mary!! Guilt is a powerful motivator. I'm throwing out ideas, just like Dee. Could she have lost a baby and she somehow ties that in with her husband's death. Could the husband have been heroic on the outside and petty to live with. Not heroic, but even an abuser? She's hiding secrets of being abused by a so-called hero, and is determined to prove to herself that she's over him and desperate/willing to move on.

OK--sorry DD asking about fav kids TV, have to go. Good luck, the story sounds great.

Theresa said...

Hi Mary,

I sounds like this book you're discussing is a romantic suspense. If you could tie the secret into the suspense/plot and the characterization you'd likely highten both the plot and character.

Of course the book's already written, so just throwing this out for an example.

Let's say Peyton was there when her husband died. Say she was too afraid to try to save him-- for what ever reason tryin to save him risked her own life-- so she hesitated and lost him. And has been beating herself up every since. This whole interviewing heroes would tie into that secret, you could tie the suspense of the plot into this secret, by forcing her into a corner where she faces the same kind of situation again.

theresa

Michelle said...

Good luck on those new revisions! And hang in there with the classroom..:)

MaryF said...

Dee, yes, her husband has inspired her to live up to his memory.

Innnnnteresting about her asking for a divorce, because that would REALLY resonate with Gabe. Maybe she just can't live with being second place to his job anymore...and she's not that great with commitment anyway.

Tonie, I'd thought about the abuser angle, but I don't want Dan (the husband) to be less than heroic, so she can really have him built up in her mind.

Theresa, I also reaaaaallly like the idea of her being too afraid to save him, or doing something that distracts him, like shouting or screaming and that's when he gets killed. Definite possibilities there!

Thanks, guys!!!

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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