Month: October 2012

Days of Coffees Past

A few years ago, I became enamored of Turkish coffee.

Black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love.

I had it at a nice little place here in Sacramento called Kasbah. Technically, I had what they call Cafe Berber, which is Turkish coffee flavored with cardamom and clove. I absolutely loved it and, before too long, started making it at home. Sadly, I’ve never made it, or had it anywhere again, as good as that first time. Including the cup I’m drinking right now, which, frankly, is definitely not my best effort. But then, it’s been nearly a year since I last made it. Probably because it’s a slow process that can’t be rushed, and requires undivided attention.

The third chapter of my forthcoming book includes a scene where the protagonist is introduced to Turkish coffee. It may just be my favorite scene in the entire book. I was thinking of this scene earlier today (which is probably why I felt the need to prepare a cup), especially with regard to the way the story is going now, nearly twenty chapters later. Those early chapters have a pace to them that is fairly relaxed. And that’s as it should be, since those chapters are of times long past, in the context of the book. They’re the necessary history leading up to “today.”

Past a certain point, that relaxed pace disappears. Events take on a more urgent tone. There’s less time for waxing poetic about beverages, for example. And I find I really miss those early chapters. I’m not certain why. If I put on my psychoanalyst hat, I might posit that I’m nostalgic for those chapters in the same way that I’m nostalgic for my own younger years, that I’m having a mid-life… not “crisis,” exactly, but… something.

Nostalgia was better in the old days.

I’m not under any illusion that my younger years were idyllic. Far from it. Nor were they for my heroine. But the times then did seem simpler, less stressful, and more filled with promise and hope. “Today,” both in my life and the heroine’s, is filled with… less pleasant things.

Perhaps what my life needs is to make more Turkish coffee. It won’t change my life much, but it will add a few pockets of peaceful pleasure. And perhaps I also need to put more of that into my current writing. It is, after all, meant to be my heroine’s memoir. The later chapters could use some more deep, sweet earthiness, too.

Posted by vmwales in Details, Plot, Setting, 0 comments

Wrap It Up

Yesterday, a friend remarked to me about how she’ll often be reading a book and can’t conceive of how the author is going to tie together all the plot elements and wrap it all up. I told her that sometimes the authors wonder that, themselves. I know I do. And that’s where I am right now.

It has just hit me just how complex I’ve made the climax of this story. I’ve complicated matters by having the climactic scene take place in a location that, by its nature, adds several obstacles to the success of the protagonist. I could change this, of course, and that would make things significantly easier on me. But that’s the lazy way out. The more challenging it is for the writer to pull off, the more rewarding the payoff for the reader.

Today, there won’t be any new writing. Today is plotting and planning, weighing all the possible avenues, not just for the big finish, but for how each approach to the finish will affect the first sequel.

Too… many… choices…

Am I sure I can pull it off the way I want to? Actually, no.

But that will make it all the more satisfying when I do.

Posted by vmwales in Endings, Plot, Writing Process, 0 comments