Saturday, July 09, 2022

Ma Tutt's Secret Spice - Day 4

To backstory or not to backstory, that is the question.

Another six sessions of about 500 words each for a total of 3,100 words today. Really cooking with gas. Finished Part 3 and started Part 4.

By the way, I’m doing something different with this novel. Instead of sticking with short chapters like in my Mister novellas, I’m writing longer sections, going for a complete mini-story within the larger narrative arc. Parts 1 (“Yesterday”) and 2 (“Time for Tea”) were both around 9,000 words for example.

But Part 2 ended on a cliffhanger and so Part 3 (“Stuck in a Moment”) turned out to be only about 5,000 words. Because it was really a continuation of Part 2. Hard to follow? Try writing it! Part 3 was the second part of Part 2…if that makes sense. Probably doesn’t.

Anyway, most of Part 3 revealed the backstory to Rohan and Martía Cooper, a ‘young’ Gypsy couple who are friends with Dolly. Martía helps Ma out in the bakery. The surprising thing about the Coopers is that they are 100 years old. I know. Crazy, right?

But if Mack is a 60 year old cat, then it’s not too far-fetched. (Ever read Tuck Everlasting?)

Readers of Book 1, Ma Tutt’s Donut Hut, are already aware of the ‘eternal youth dilemma’ the Coopers are facing. But how to retell that backstory in Secret Spice? I wanted to avoid a lot of exposition but I didn’t want to just to let the fact of their longevity dangle out there as an unexplained reference to some mysterious past event.

So during Ma’s ‘moment in time’ (where everyone else is frozen in time and she’s the only one who is living in the moment), she figures out how to ‘unfreeze’ her Gypsy friends. They have a nice chat about their backstory – which is pertinent to solving the problem of them being stuck in a moment – and then I wrapped up this section of the story.

Voilà! I backstoried their backstory with a story about their backstory. May not work for all readers, but I think I pulled it off. At least to my satisfaction. Took a lot of words, but I made sure I sprinkled in some witty and whimsical dialogue and repartee, balanced exposition with some action, and included some commentary by Mack, my intuitive feline hero of the novel.

Now that one crisis has been resolved, it’s time to move up the plot mountain to the next rising action conflict. So I’m titling Part 4, “The Worst of Times.” If that doesn’t signal another crisis that Ma has to face, I don’t know what does!

Let’s just hope she and her friends can sort it all out by the time I finish my six sessions tomorrow. Or at least give me a hint as to how they’ll make it to some better times real soon!

Today's Writing Tip...
Even if you have to backstory a bit, keep the story moving forward by ratcheting up the tension.

Writing: Ma Tutt’s Secret Spice by Lyn Perry 
Introduction - Tackling a New Project
Day 1 - 450 words, story at 18,500 words
Day 2 - 500 words, story at 19,000 words
* Day 3 - 3000 words, story at 22,000 words
* Day 4 - 3100 words, story at 25,100 words


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Hey, I'm Lyndon Perry, a speculative fiction writer living in Puerto Rico. I'm a former pastor and current husband, father, coffee drinker, and cat-wrangler. You can find me almost anywhere online, so check out my various Linktree Locations and say hello!

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