It looks like an episode of PopUp Video in My Head.

Personal Notes: Last night I read another chapter of New Moon to my husband, but before I closed the book I saw the title to the next chapter. It was "Paris", and since I couldn't remember anyone going to France I wracked my brain trying to remember WHY it was called Paris. "Oh, riiiight," my brain said. "From Romeo and Juliet." And from there my brain went to Baz Luhrman's version, Romeo + Juliet in which Paul Rudd played Paris, and as almost always, when I thought of Paul Rudd I thought of my favorite role of his, as academic snob former-stepbrother, Josh, in Clueless. Clueless is based on Jane Austen's Emma if you didn't know. So, there you have it, the way my mind leaps from thing to thing.

I don't know if you heard (maybe on Twitter, or dA, or Facebook, or MySpace, because I'm pretty sure I told EVERYONE), but I'm changing the book. Again. But I'm not just changing the ending or the beginning, or cutting/adding scenes. The most recent rejection I got shed some really helpful light on weaknesses throughout the book . . . like the fact that it didn't make a whole lot of sense my main character's parents were dead. I know this character, and the rejecting agent was right; she's not a character mired in grief. So, guess what? I have to resurrect some people. Secondly, um, there's not a lot in the way of the heroine and her hero getting together, and frankly now that I've thought about it, the heroine probably wouldn't stand the hero for a good long time, until she got to know him beyond his entitled, know-it-all surface. Sparks of a different variety are to be expected.

But it's more than that. It's asking yourself what the underlying point is in this book, what moral is this story supposed to tell the reader. The old overall theme was shallow and bland. Granted, I do believe love can kick anything's butt, but 'anything' is a very general term. You know what isn't? Bigotry. "Bigot" is defined as 'a person who is intolerant of or takes offense to the opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own'. In my book (both literally and figuratively) it's also synonymous with "stupid".

I realised all the pieces were there for this part of my belief system to come through, and without preaching or bashing readers over the head with the message. There are outsider characters, forced away by societal norms. Outsider characters who choose a more diverse culture. Characters who feel threatened by these outsiders. Within this sub-culture I've created, bigotry flourishes. Against "normal humans", against "different and outcast", against anyone who doesn't believe there's anything wrong with variety. I mean, yeah, too much of anything, including variety, is dangerous, but wisdom's the watchword, folks.

So, inside my head there are these sort of helium-infused, free-floating tattoos of text on the air, and they drift above me, here and there, waiting (somewhat impatiently) for their turn while I go line-by-painstaking-line through another of their compatriots, making the alterations needed.

I am absolutely terrified, but a very wise woman told me yesterday, and I quote, "And *every* time I've had a major aha moment, it's on the heels of absolute despair that I'll ever think of something." That's the line I keep going back to, because I know great things have happened for this writer (hello, her agent is the Steven Tyler of agents), and I know greater still things will happen for her. So, if she's gone through this rigamarole, survived, and come out of it with a better novel to offer each time, I should believe I can do it.


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