Kept Muse

Final scenes don’t multiply on me the way they seem to for Lori. My trouble is proliferation of opening scenes. I wrote another opener for The Wrong Novel yesterday, which brings me up to six or seven now.

The trouble with openings is that you usually can’t start at the chronological beginning - life and plot come on slowly, but a story has to dive right in there and catch the reader, plus state the full premise in the opening line. (Never read how-to-write books - that’s where you pick up crazy ideas like “the first line must summarize the entire story.”) So I wrote an opening where things really begin, that’s very interesting for me but much too boring for the reader, and I wrote an bloody beginning to grab the reader by the throat and shout “Read me!” In between there was a bit of negotiation, where I kept trying to move the opening closer to the chronological beginning - but I know I have to start in the middle with the blood and the guts (and, surprisingly, the tea service), then work backwards and forwards at the same time. Flashbacks are a pain in the neck, even when you have five spare openings’ worth of material to use for them.

Speaking of openings, I really have been working on the Seven Saga. The first chapter (barring two spare beginnings) is kind of done. I got everything I wanted in there, spackled every plothole of Seven’s misspent youth, and added some Obscure Characters to boot. The only problem with my story is that it isn’t quite a story. It’s missing that essential cohesion that binds Beginning to End, if you know what I mean. The muse has been sleeping on the job, again. I wish she got busy when I’m too busy to pay her any mind, but the truth is she’s a lazy muse who insists on bubble baths and chocolate and three-hour background checks to coin one Romulan word and hours at the keyboard to contemplate her previous drafts, before she’ll write a word.

On the other fanfic front, the Buffy finale was good, at least in its Spike aspect. I can’t say I saw too much Willow continuity in Evil Willow, or felt that the two hours cohered any better than chapter one of the Seven Saga, but I’m into the whole soulless Spike issue so I found this little reverse redemption compensated (in my fic-weaving mind) for the Random Spike Characterization of the second half of the season. I was handling it a little differently in my still incomplete chip fic, but now I see the potential of reconnecting it to canon at the end that I couldn’t see before.

Still, I’m not sure I want to rejoin canon. If I could think of a way to marry off Spuffy, I’d do that instead, but Buffy, if not Spike, is too twenty-first century for a secret wedding. This is not a century for great love stories - which is, I suppose, a good deal of the reason I take refuge in the future.

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