A month into 2017 and I’ve just about quasi abandoned the 85K90 challenge. Well, not so much abandoned, but perhaps put the task on hiatus as the plotting and pondering of the overarching narrative structure and mixing and matching the character (and their exposition baggage) relationships has taken over (again). The sequence of events in the Grand Scheme of things is the difficult / fun part – as the MASC Chronicles is essentially an epic saga spanning several generations of several (sometimes intertwining) families. Not quite sure at what point in the writing process that decision was made, but for now that’s the way it’s going to be. Keeping track of the families (which not need to be related by blood) and the broad spectrum of their relationships with one another (and within the family unit itself) will require loads of attention and meticulous org charts (or Excel spreadsheets – haven’t used Excel to keep track of things, aside from the running word count of this blog series, which stands at 115, 739 – excluding this entry, obviously). The average word count thus far is 585, which seems a respectable number, as writing blog entries go, especially one where the bulk of its content is quasi-random musings inspired by equally quasi-random events (or Actual Real World Events).
The not-so-quasi-random inspiration behind this week’s entry stems from a recent theater excursion, namely seeing the revival production of Sunset Blvd. music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. It’s one of my favorite musicals, based on the 1950 film of the same name. The story revolves around a faded movie star Norma Desmond) and a jaded writer (Joe Gillis) and the events that happen when they meet; it also comments on the Hollywood system and illusions / delusions of fame and fortune. The production I saw this week was the third production of the musical – the original production and a touring production were the other two. The overall design for each production (sets, lighting and costumes) were different and unique, and in a curious way kind of mirrors (in reverse) the plotting and pondering process for the MASC Chronicles. The first production was opulent and had moments of heightened drama; the second production was haphazard and borderline cheesy, and the current production is stripped down and functional in its overall look.
The narrative perspective in the current production shifts from Norma’s quest to return to “all those people in the dark” to Joe’s journey of self-discovery (though that might be a stretch in generalizing the plot of the film/musical). Within Sunset are elements of writing and pitching stories to the Studio executives (which is a parallel to authors pitching their stories to publishers).
The purpose behind inspiration to write this entry seems to have dissipated as the entry went on. I suppose my quasi-obsessive love for Sunset has distracted me from the point I was attempting to make about the writing process…
Oh wait, there it is (the title of this entry)
Shifting the perspective of the narrative from the main protagonist’s life and relationships to the narrator’s complex exposition has changed elements of the narrative arc. While the protagonist’s exposition is critical to the overall narrative (which is usually the case for most book series), the narrator’s function is mostly to relate to the reader the actions of those around the narrator and not necessarily delve into the narrator’s life (unless the narrator and protagonist are one in the same).
But I digress (slightly).
So that’s the update (of sorts) thus far – the Land of Exposition remains in winter, and the Real Life Brigade remains in devising shenanigans.
Hopefully actual progress will resurface in the coming weeks.