Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Tell

I'm a little worried about the protagonist of my alleged novel. She has just been thrown into a Yemeni jail, busted by the border guard as she attempted to enter the country from across the water in Djibouti. Though a top-notch spy: master of disguise, IQ of 160, speaks many languages, holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, her problem is that her face gives her away every time. She can not control her facial expressions. It's a big problem. After a series of ho-hum assignments she finally talks her boss into allowing her to use her formidable talents and intelligence for something more exciting.

She's in trouble now, bloody hell. Since I'm allegedly making this up as I go along, I could write angels into the story, or Harry Potter could show up out of the nowhere to spirit my protagonist out of jail with a wave of his wand. A meteor could crash into desert, set up a supernatural dust storm in which she could escape. The choices are endless and yet even as I think about the many ways I could get her out of there, in jail she remains. Go figure. It's interesting how this form of writing, whatever you want to call it, takes on a life of its own. No wonder it's so addictive.

I spent yesterday afternoon with a friend who is REALLY is a writer. His short stories are published and he's deep into his novel. When he talks about his writing, it's clear he knows what he's doing. There is such a craft involved in writing - wow. What I'm doing is more like contact improv, while what he does at the keyboard can authentically be called writing.

However daunting this revelation might be, I say damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead! I can't abandon poor Vega as she sits in that awful Yemeni jail. Somehow I have to get her out of there. Hence, onwards and upwards to day ten of NaNoWriMo! (Thanks, Mr. Farragut, for the words.)

May the rest of you enjoy a much nicer day than poor Vega!


The Bug said...

I don't have a poker face either - people always know exactly what I'm thinking & feeling. Of course I haven't worked very hard on overcoming this shortcoming. I find it saves time & explanations - and since I'm not a spy I don't have to worry too much about it :)

Tom said...

conflict is good. maybe she'll fall in love or develop facial tics in prison. or learn how to speak rat. either way, you're adding wrinkles to your brain. weird, huh?

Angela said...

What do they speak in Yemen? Arabic? I can only say thank you and bye-bye in Arabic, but I do know a little Farsi. Do you think that could help her out? Baroye shomo ruze chubi orezu mikonam!

Reya Mellicker said...

She knows the languages and the dialects, and she knows cultural gesture, posture, etiquette. Her behavior and appearance are absolutely perfectly brilliant.

But that low-level border guard took one look at her face, knew immediately there was something wrong with her story.

Dang, man.

Elizabeth said...

Reminds me a bit of the books my children enjoyed called "Choose Your Own Adventure"
1) If you want Vega to be eaten by a crocodile turn to page 47
2) If Vega ingests a magic potion turn to p. 102

and so on an so forth

sounds an excellent literary workout

happy writing

glnroz said...

she will get out, aint no doubt. (that's a poem).. I an anxious to read your book once it hits the market,, or before, lol

Reya Mellicker said...

Ha! Elizabeth it could be an app! Wow.

During a break between clients I learned that Vega has been able to get one of the guards to soften towards her because she can hum a Yemeni lullabye that his mother used to sing for him at night. I believe they're playing backgammon now. Vega is wondering how the hell they came by a backgammon board in this out of the way village prison.

She is letting the guard win.

Elizabeth said...

This is so much fun
almost like lucid dreaming
you should just follow where your characters lead you


Reya Mellicker said...

Elizabeth that is exactly what I'm doing!

Steve Reed said...

I've heard writers talk about situations where they're no longer entirely in control of their stories -- the events seem to unspool themselves. Sounds like you're in one of those zones! It will be fascinating to see what happens!

Angela said...

Maybe the characters DO exist somewhere and only use you to tell their story? Vega sounds like a real powerful woman, no wonder she grabbed you!