Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Somewhere out there

I'm working on two projects right now. One is a YA paranormal fantasy, and the second is a contemporary detective novel. One is about girls with superpowers battling an evil supervillain (fun!), the other about a normal girl accused of killing her best friend.

Things are going great. I've been writing one, editing the other, and being moderately productive. Couldn't ask for more. Then yesterday I typed a sentence that made me pause. I'd share the sentence with you, except that I don't have it in front of me, and I can't exactly remember it. What I can tell you is that it involves the phrase "chloroform shampoo."

For those of you out there who don't know, chloroform shampoo does not exist. Nor would it be a viable means of dispersing chloroform to an unsuspecting victim. (There would be no way to ensure an adequate dose. That's just asking for trouble.) Now, I've taken a lot of liberties with the fantasy novel- the girls have superpowers after all! But, this line does not appear in my fantasy novel. It's in the detective one.
The exciting conclusion? I love it, it works for the story, and I'm keeping it. With writing, unlike other aspects of my overly scheduled, Type-A life, I'm a bit of a rebel. Just kidding.

Maybe this isn't the best example, but the whole thing got me thinking. How far out on a limb do you take your stories? What if you have to invent something completely crazy to progress your plot? Do you consider the genre you're writing or do you do what needs to get done?

I got the opinion of my live-in critic (not the cat- the less hairy, more human one) who thought it was hilarious. However, a day later, while watching an episode of Bones, he couldn't help but fixate on their digital imaging software. "They can't do that!" he insisted. "It's not possible. That kind of technology doesn't exist." We notice when something is made-up. At what point does that part interfere with enjoying the story?

I guess I could always fuse the two into a superhero detective story. (What? That's already been done? Nerd note: While hunting for a decent link, I discovered that they're making this into a TV show!)

What do you think?

Also, I apologize if this doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I need to work on my time management. No more 12:30am posts!

1 comment:

  1. Chloroform shampoo. I love it. Even if you end up cutting it, I still love it. I wanna get me some of that shit!

    My suspension of disbelief is as strong as your ability to convince me you're telling the truth. So what if you have to make shit up? That's what writing's about, right? You think JK Rowling went to Hogwarts? No! She made that shit up! Free yourself from the confines of reality!

    There's a difference between shit made up because it's convenient and shit made up to further the story along. As long as you put forth the effort it takes to take it from deus ex machina to storyline mythology, you'll be fine.