I can't shut my brain off!
Okay, here's what's happening (literally). Last Thursday, I was diligently working away on The Best They Could, and I typed a new scene where Mary Beth - granddaughter of Rose and Billy (heroine and hero of Marrying the Emersons), daughter of Lily and Bobby (heroine and hero of The Best They Could) - confronts her Uncle Hank (from the short story "The Girl with the Coal-Black Eyes") for being a drunken failure.
Okay, if you read last week's blog, that depressing scenario sounds normal.
So anyway, I'm writing along, and I really hadn't been able to figure out Mary Beth. She's a few years older than I am, but I really hadn't gotten past her as a seven year old. I know what her childhood was like, and I know she grows up to be a vet. I knew she could have a story, but for the life of me, I couldn't see what it was.
And suddenly, I knew who she was. Everything gelled in the scene where she defends her mom from a guy she's not really sure she believes is her uncle with a Mr. Microphone. Everything made perfect sense. And as a result, I spent the rest of the evening talking like a mouthy 12 year old to my hubby. He didn't seem to appreciate that literary breakthrough too much.
And then I went to bed and had the weirdest freaking dream (not uncommon for me, but Don Cheadle in a hotel maiming a pregnant giraffe? Too weird). And in the dream, I was Mary Beth trying to save the giraffe. Thank God the alarm clock went off, because I'm not sure the giraffe was going to make it.
And somehow, this weirdness was my brain kicking into overdrive. OVERDRIVE. Within two hours of waking up, I figured out what Mary Beth's story is. The whole plot exploded from my mind like Athena springing forth from Zeus's noggin. And I can't make it stop! I keep babbling about buffalo and knives and cattle! I swear, I don't know who's going to strangle me first - my hubby or my lovely coworker!!
And the odd thing (as if the rest of the story wasn't odd enough) is that it didn't make sense. Why, I wondered for two days, is the albino child key? (Told you it didn't make sense!) Why does the noseless cowboy defend her? (Oh, yes, you read that right. He's a whole 'nother can of worms. I'll explain later.)
So I started writing. I got 68 pages down in less than 48 hours of semi-normal working, cooking, cleaning, and putting a toddler in time-out.
And it still didn't make sense, except that I knew it all worked.
So I started doing some research, trying to shore up this brand new novel, and discovered that my brain remembers more than I give it credit for. Everything I'd envisioned was there - the tribe, the albino, the noseless cowboy, the great-great-grandmother - and it all made sense. It all dovetailed perfectly.
The albino is the key. The noseless cowboy is sworn to defend her. And Mary Beth is going back to the land of her ancestors to confront her demons, real and imagined.
A Part of Her is there. I just have to write it all down.