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arhyalon

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08:35 am: The Radio Took Over The Scene

John reports, though I do not remember, that I once sent him an email with the subject line: The Cat Took Over The Scene. This referred to the fact that Tybolt the Cat, the familiar of my heroine Miranda Prospero, once emerged from obscuredom to take over a scene I was writing, making himself a more important character than he had previously been. 

Well, the same thing happened last time I sat down to write...with a radio. 

I had dreaded writing the scene. I put it off for about a month. It was supposed to involve my characters having to talk to American Air Force officers. But I felt intimidated, because it is one thing to write gods, magicians, and dragons. It is another thing to portray the Air Force. I respect our troops and would want to do it right, but I know very little of their protocol, etc. Now, I could solve that by research...but the problem is that even without much research, I knew for the scene to go the way I wanted, I'd have to violate some kind of protocol...and how much to do? How realistic to make it?  No matter what I did, I was liable to disappoint some reader.

Well, I got to the scene where the main characters were holding the military walky-talky and...someone else entirely talked out of the radio.

It happened naturally enough. I wrote a line. Could have been an Air Force officer, but, by chance, it was phrased the way a particular group of people from the novel background talk...people who could be talking out of a radio. People, who could even accomplish what my characters wanted from the Air Force...but people who were infinitely more interesting to me...because they were part of the fantasy (I use the word loosely here. These guys themselves are sf characters) background of the story...they deepened the mystery and wonder rather than breaking the suspendion of disbelief, which is what I was afraid would happen.

The scene turned out to be so much fun to write...and to think I had avoided it for over a month!



Comments

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From:saintjoi
Date:June 15th, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC)
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It's so much fun when that happens. Granted, it can go overboard: on one story I was writing, I was thrilled that this one character started to be like that. She started doing and saying things I hadn't planned, and the story was going great...but she wouldn't shut up! For 11 months, she kept trying to make the story go her way, despite the fact that she dies a few chapters in! Argh! :)

Congrats on the breakthrough!
[User Picture]
From:jmward14
Date:June 15th, 2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
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"The girls in the basement" as Jennifer Crusie calls them, always know better than we do. :D Glad the scene worked out so well. Hugs and smiles, Jean Marie
[User Picture]
From:kokorognosis
Date:June 16th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)
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That is one of my favorite things about writing-- the good stuff, the really good stuff, writes itself and all I have to do is make myself sit in front of the computer that long.

It's like reading someone else's work. Much more fun.
[User Picture]
From:kokorognosis
Date:June 16th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
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Oh, and incidentally, I both grew up on an Air Force base and am brother to a new airman. I might be able to help if you have questions ;)
[User Picture]
From:arhyalon
Date:June 16th, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
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Thanks...if I end up having to write a scene with a real American military man in it -- which I may - I'll definitely ask!

This scene was definitely more in keeping with the mood of the rest of the story, though. ;-)
From:xander25
Date:June 17th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC)
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I thought of making an offer similar to this, as an ex-airman. Though, my career field was not exactly part of the "real" Air Force, so I'm not sure I qualify.
[User Picture]
From:kokorognosis
Date:June 17th, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)
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Psh. Probably qualify more than USAF by proxy.... I mean, really, even though I work with aircraft, I work with boring civilian airliners :p
From:xander25
Date:June 17th, 2008 05:12 am (UTC)
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At least you actually work on aircraft. I spent most of my 6 years gazing at a computer screen. Space operations (satellites, etc...) is like that.
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