Saturday, May 4, 2024

Farmer Bill's Writing Tips


Lately, I've had a really tough time with the novel. It's finished, but honestly, it's kind of a mess--full of hanging threads and missing pockets.

As you might know, I'm a stream of consciousness--no plot, no problem--kind of gal.

Only, it's more like, no plot--bucket full of problems!!!

Anyway, I've been rewriting and revising and then rewriting and revising.

The good news is that I've cut the book down from 800 pages to just 300.

This has not been easy. I had all these fantastical subplots for my main character, Penelope Perrault--an American girl in Paris caught up in the tumult of the May ‘68 demonstrations. Plus, there's all this stuff about how a Nazi is back in Paris and he's after my Penelope.

Why is my main character sent on a quest to Paris and pursued by a Nazi? Why now? In the writing game we call this the Passover Question--why is this night different from all others?

I came up with what I thought was a brilliant Macguffin: A diamond ballerina brooch, stolen during the Occupation by the biggest baddest Nazi...and well, it's complicated, but my protagonist is in possession of this brooch and the bad Nazi wants it back.

As it turns out, this was way too complicated. And now, I have to get rid of the diamond ballerina brooch. Hence, I am left with no Macguffin.

I told my husband, Farmer Bill about my Macguffin problem. He's not a writer, but he is very smart. Plus, he's logical. Rational! Scientific!

I look up from the hopeless dark depths of my laptop and cry--Farmer Bill, I lost my Macguffin!

He looks at me and then says--just turn it into an Egg MacMuffin. After all, now they have MacDonald's in France and she can get her Egg MacMuffin there!!!

MacMuffin. Mcguffin.

I had to laugh. And honestly, I felt better. Truly, farmers give you the best writing tips!

Creative Friends--the moral of this story is--don't take yourself too seriously. Your assignment for this week is to talk to a farmer. Or plumber. Or the guy at the package store. Loosen up. This is not rocket science. It's art-making. And it should be fun.


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