My last few posts were meant as writing practice, but one, "Falling into Step", is close enough to the canon of my long-suffering Great American Novel, Bluebonnet Circle, that I decided to include it in the next phase of my writing plan for the whole story arc. In order to do this, of course, I had to actually begin the next phase. Well, after much paranoid hesitation and procrasturbation, I've done just that.
I've opened a new LJ account as a guide and draft dump for Bluebonnet Circle and its possible surrounding works. You can find it at bluebonnets817, but I must warn you all, my mostly random friends, it's neither for young adults nor those who find graphic sex, drug use, and 'realistic' dialog distasteful. Also, I must warn at least one of you of the possibility of finding a character within who may seem uncomfortably to resemble yourself; except for Derek, who is modeled on a younger me, all of the characters are purely fictional or amalgams of many different people I've known. I must admit, I've taken many, and still plan to incorporate more, situations from life and fictionalize them for the story (plus pencil portraits for icons to represent the specific characters whose perspectives are given in each chapter), but rest assured that no one I know has jumped off a twelve story building yet or set about to make herself the wife of a rock&roll vocalist, nor do I wish either fate to come to any of y'all. It's just a story (or, rather, several of them that are slowly growing together).
As I said above, part of the journal (Bluebonnet Circle and Butterfly Tattoo) will be a draft dump, by which I mean to post the chapters as I prepare first drafts. As such, these will be HEAVILY EDITED WITHOUT WARNING, and in fact have already been during their transfer into the LJ style. For instance, I have been cursed by major flaws in BC itself, specifically; the obvious deus ex machina of the tornado, the action-packing of the last few chapters, and my woeful tendency to prematurely dispense with characters as perspectives in the narrative.
The tornado is one of the first ideas I had to kill the character Shake with, but that may be changed to a less miraculous end, such as getting hit by a car on the rain-soaked street after leaving the argument in the Grande Park Arms.
The never-let-up tone of the two chapters I've completed comes mostly from the structure I've planned for BC, namely seven parts with twenty-eight chapters divided between them in descending numbers per part. Seven short chapters in Part I, six in Part II, five in Part III, etc.; until the last Part is also the last (and possibly longest) chapter. Chapter 13, already written, is therefore the last in Part II and Chapter 25 (divided in half due to the LJ post size restriction) is the last of Part V. I don't plan at the moment to reshuffle them to a more traditional structure, but I might learn better methods of dividing scenes within the chapters.
As to bringing up characters only to send them back out the proverbial door, I can only say that that has been the main theme of friendship in my life. I have two or three very old friends, but they have floated away with the breezes and are rarely seen in the wilds of Cowtown anymore. Most of the rest have come and gone, leaving few outward signs of their passage. The first person I sent any of this to via email lamented that I have too little coming from Annie/Lizzie's perspective, and so inadequate fullness given to her character, but I think the 'major' character that I'll have to give much more thought to is Kevin, who keeps finding himself to be little more than the too-convenient emotional foil for Lizzie.
Besides these problems that perhaps are only in my head, there's my writing itself which is erratically decent at best. In fact, I have written a first draft for Chapter 26 of BC also, but the less important plot details in it are in such flux right now that I'm sure it would be continually rewritten from the beginning if I put it in now. As that contains Lizzie's death scene, I'm not so sad to hold out on it for a while.
I began writing three specific chapters of BC first because those are arguably the most dramatic ones for Derek and Jennifer, let alone Lizzie, and are not meant to give a solid impression of the minutiae of plot at those times. I just wanted to get the most draining moments on paper as soon as possible to acclimate myself to writing in those terms and to help synchronize what each character happens to know or understand at each stage.
Form now, I will be writing BC more-or-less in order from Chapter 1 on, with the satellite stories coming along as I get inspired or have a plot point that needs to be set, as with the 'prequels', Cruel Summer and Love in the Time of Prozac. CS is the story of Annie/Lizzie's molestation and its effects on everyone around her which leads to her (temporarily) moving away to Washington State. LitToP is about her return to Fort Worth during high school and a kind of finalization of her transition from playfully scheming child to deeply disturbed young woman. Both I have included only for easy reference and for their worth in guiding the evolution of the characters. Either might in the future be radically changed to suit the (two) main works or relegated to my offline collection in toto. Also, I can see adding other, shorter narratives surrounding Derek, Lizzie, and Kevin's early childhood in order to better fill out the space now taken by the odd "Preliminary Sketch", the likes of which I draw up to collect in one place character histories which otherwise will be treated in the narrative as exegesis or reflection. When finished, if finished, I plan for the Bluebonnet Circle portion to explain itself well enough to inherit bluebonnets817 for itself alone, while Butterfly Tattoo moves into a new home to grow into a proper sequel and the rest, perhaps, a third 'hodgepodge' site.
To emphasize the continuous construction model of the journal, I have put into parentheses parts of the titles of posts (chapters, related short stories) which will surely change with the writing. "Prelude to a Fall" is not the first chapter of Cruel Summer, but I don't know yet where exactly it fits; so the chapter number will change as earlier ones are added. Likewise, "Falling into Step" is actually somewhere halfway through Love in the Time of Prozac and the only so far given chapter of Butterfly Tattoo takes place very close to the end of that cycle (as well as the end of the whole).
Another thing which may change in the writing is the dates, which I have set to end about ten years in the past (and niftily found a way to reverse their order on the page). The dates given are meant to reflect the time that the activity in the chapters took place, but the full moons (I'm looking at the double-full moon month of November 2001 closely), difference in relative ages between the characters and myself and the Fort Worth youth I have known in general, and other date-specific facts that will be included might force me to reset the storyline further forward.
Specifically for my friends to know, I've started it as public, both because I have an irrational aversion to writing a restricted journal and because I don't expect a great deal of interest out there in stealing my work (which will now hopefully be provably mine by opening the LJ). If, however, I get too much interest in it, I will make it friends only, based upon my list here.
As with just about everything I do on LJ, this is for me, and could become the most important journal I keep, so there will be NO LJ-CUTS in it, so think twice before friending it. As each post only shows up once on a friends page regardless of revision, I can almost guarantee that new posts will be far between; so go ahead if you can stand a monster post showing up every once in a blue moon.
Finally, the reason I'm telling y'all this, or anybody for that matter, is that I chose you all because you are writers of varying taste and caliber and I think you would be a good crowd to take my work apart and show me the errors I am missing or am too stubborn or stupid to part with. If anyone can help me write better, who better than a bunch of LiveJournalists? Or ignore it. I'll neither cry too much over criticism nor praise, nor silence. But fill up the comments as much as you like, I will be listening.
-A note on Bluebonnet Circle itself: names of minor characters, places, and relative dates (apart from any general shifting of the story arc) are all subject to arbitrary change, but the main plot has long since been outlined. I know how it all comes out and might post the very ending scenes or the first at any time, despite my hope to keep to a chronological order, so here's the last warning: