Sunday, July 1, 2012

writing exercises for "Te Busque"

I just took a look at my stats for the first time ever... my blog actually tracks which counties have come across it...
now there's a difference between people that come across my blog than those who actually read it... reading it and actually getting where I'm coming from is my ultimate goal.
But for now, I'll continue doing what I do to see if anyone will take notice.

I started this blog to set up a writing platform so people will get interested in reading my work and all that... I'd put myself out there a couple times, commenting on the blogs I subscribe to and sometimes I get answers back, but they rarely go beyond one Tennis exchange (I say something, they respond to what I say and it ends there)

By trade, writing is a very selfish and self-involved business because your work is your own and its up to you whether a story gets told or not.

Not that Wikipedia is an oft recommended source of information or reference, I just double-checked to see that I can, in fact, refer to my character, Talia Montez as an "exotic dancer"... on my Google search, I'd seen a few definitions... the most common one is that when you see those two words together, people make it automatically interchangeable with striptease artist or "erotic dancer"...
I will be going there a bit, yes, but not to the absolute extreme.

Stress and lack of confidence usually come together to become the worst sort of writer's block. I'm afraid to go into anything because if I get started and get told that I need to focus my attention on something else (fixing my unemployment status), I won't be able to come back completely whole & focused.
The only thing worse than those two things when it comes to writer's block is simply: not having the interest to write anything because there's no inspiration.

A lot of things in my life go this way: I investigate for a while, let time do what it will, before I truly get invested in something... that's how it was with Prince... for a short while, RDJr was like that... then "Less than Zero" was a game changer and I felt I had no choice but to throw myself into research for the first day or so after.

With my writing, because I had started a couple stories that I never finished, I take care not to go into something unless I have enough pieces to work with.

"Te Busque" started strictly as a Nelly Furtado album fic... where songs from her "Loose" album would inspire chapters and scenes in the story.
I have since increased the cespool (hopefully I'm using that right) to include themes of female enpowerment. The last thing I want is for people to read about Talia and see her as a weak character who plays herself as the victim and more to the point, she continues to indulge in her profession of choice because she's afraid of what else is out there.

That's beside the point. The point is that as far back as she can remember and considering how long she'd been in this business (I have a figure of something like 15 years... because she officially joins this club/bar when she turns 18... therefore she's 33 when the storyline begins), emotions aren't a big part of what she does, so she blocks a lot out.
Although she hadn't the slightest idea until his passing, her stepfather took advantage of her affections for him, made her see that being in bed with him was a commonplace thing. I suppose if this took place in America, he could be seen as a manipulative pediopile, although he doesn't put the ideas in her head until she's 15. Therefore, physically mature enough for him to take advantage of, plus the ridiculous amount of hormones.

She learns of his betrayal and true intentions after he's gone (got killed by some guys he owes money to) and starts to pay back his debt by becoming a part of their business... one of the guys opens this bar that has dancers as their primary source of entertainment, but its kept under wraps (within certain social circles because prositution is illegal in South America) that there's another side to the business.

She gives her body and soul, repays the debt within a couple years and uses the reminder of her income to send her mom off to America to pursue a better life. (She worked outrageous hours doing a couple of dead-end jobs that I can see as being bartending, waitressing and other stuff like that... so they were living on minimal income and the stepfather was leaching off that money and eventually any possible savings were gone). Of course she knows full well what Talia does and tries a couple times over the years to talk her out of it, saying she's better than that, she's the one who deserves that better life in America.

Ultimately, Talia is set in her ways and refuses to change... deep down, she believes that she isn't made for anything else and there's no other way to get by in the slums BUT this.

The difficult part is knowing where to begin writing... whose point of view I tell the story from...

The last time I listened to my iPod, I started brainstorming a few ideas.
The first two tracks of the album take place on different venues...

"Afraid" is a dance number from any night where the girls do a little shimmying during a few instrumental breaks, but otherwise, its a toss-up between a Samba and Cha-Cha.
The theme goes on about how we all have a choice of what to do with life and we shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes.

"Maneater" is a VIP number... part of a song selection that brings in bids from high-rollers and those who put up the most cash gets a girl to take home for the night...
Here, she's portrayed somewhat animalistically where she'll make you fall in love with her, but there's no telling what she might do. Sort of the premise of: you'll never be the same after you get with her.

Originally with the two songs, I was thinking they'd be the introduction of minor characters... where the story would begin its first two chapters being told by two different people and after that we get into the main story...

This is something I've done before and usually when I start with this "prologuing" system, it rarely pans out.


With Jonas's Story, I've peddled it around to a bunch of agents with the prologue attached and I later got told that I shouldn't include the prologue because people aren't interested in reading it... plus it stalls the action that gets someone interested in the story.

What people don't realize is that you need the prologue to really understand the meaning BEHIND the whole story... agents are so busy that they don't have time to really think about this and that, the obvious disconnect between the prologue and chapter 1
...the worst part is that my prologue is one of my best pieces of writing maybe ever... I'd told the story a couple times, rewritten and added to it... but it is AMAZING, really showcases the kind of story I mean to tell...

Here's the downside, though... I started revamping the story a bit, changing things here and there and stalled out halfway through Chapter 4... I can't very well send the story as is to agents because its not finished and my fear is that it never will be... almost as if I need a beta reader to help with it, but I really don't trust people with my work, afraid they'll see things too differently and want me to change things.

My deepest fear is that they won't like my protagonist... he is a fairly inactive protagonist for quite a while and that's the last thing people want to read... that and a protagonist that categorizes himself as an outsider that really doesn't get along with people in general... :sigh: it feels like looking in a mirror, people in general don't like to read about shy people... they're not interested in people like me...

Story of my life...


and "Te Busque" isn't a story I want to write to really bring attention to myself or be screaming for attention by writing about what people are interested in... female sexuality and all that... I simply find some music about female empowerment so powerful and visually stimulating, plus its where I am right now personally, trying to get comfortable in my own skin, with my own sexuality and all that... despite the fact I'm extremely single...

So I tossed that original idea out and went another direction...
I could go from the angle of talking about minor characters, but turning them into a couple of writing exercises.

I really ought to do that more often... when I know I'm going to go on one of my side-bars, rants, whatever you wanna call it, I should log them up between stars so some people will get that they're different ideas... and also to make the reading a bit easier, if anyone cares to read my blog

I've been playing around with a couple names for the other dancers at the club...
I immediately homed in on Emilia for the newest girl.
I'm not sure how much of a chunk it will be in the overall process, but I hope that part of this will reflect one of my favorite movies last year, "Suckerpunch." A lot of people panned it, sure, but I got it... the whole idea of being able to change your reality by retreating into your own world that you control, I get that.

The heroine was Babydoll, played by Emily Browning... therefore we have Emilia...
Emilia Rose and quite possibly, her name was originally Emily and to give it that extra kick, she changed it to Emilia for the stage.

In a lot of ways, she reflects who I am more than Talia does. For starters, she's a virgin, inexperienced in sexuality and relationships. Well, "starters" begins and ends that discussion.
My idea for her back-story and my means of integration into the main storyline goes like this:

The first "number" in the chronology of the main story is this song...
It will be Emilia's debut performance as a member of the girls' dance troupe and while the routine happens, I'll go into detail about how she became part of this.

The back-story probably takes place about a year ago, maybe over a couple years.
Point is that when she's still Emily Rose, she's 18, visiting this bar/club for the first time. It's her last hurrah before she goes off to college or something or other. But when she sees Talia perform this number (which ironically becomes her first debut number), she is entranced and enamored by her beauty and how she electrifies the stage. She comes by regularly, some of the staffers take notice of her and at one point (trying to hone in on when), she asks if she could become a dancer. (Better yet, an ad pops up because one of the girls went off to pursue other enterprises).

Auditions rarely happen because most of the girls are locked into this for life, all of their own free will, mind you. They decide to leave either when their bodies start to be unable to do what they can, they fall in love, or a few other things.
Talia is the leader, obviously, but she has her two best friends, Scarlet & Janelle? (working on that name) audition the girls. When Emily dances, she actually watches her audition and on the spot, she selects her, takes her under her wing, etc.

There are maybe a couple dozen routines that she has to learn and she can't go on until she's absolutely ready. Therefore, we have this 6 month period gap between when she gets drafted and when she finally gets on stage.

The catch is that Emily has no idea of the other side of the business... Talia thinks her to be very naive, so she asks that nobody tells her more than she needs to know. I'm playing around with the idea of one performance where Emilia plays the virgin that they plan to sacrifice... maybe because I'd recently rewatched "The House Bunny" and that's what the Zeta house did for their first huge party... it almost seems too perfect since Emma Stone portrays the sacrifice in that case... another Emily.

For Emilia Rose, I picture her as being slightly tan, but not extremely tan or exotic looking. I'll have to look up her name, but one of the SYTYCD Top 20 looks like a girl I saw in a dream that played the role of my college roomate... looks nothing like anyone I roomed with... but she has brown hair that's very curly and most of it is tied up around the top of her head
Eliana Girard

Eliana is apparently a trained ballerina because for the exhibition night last Wednesday, she performed in what looked like a very strange, futuristic metallic tutu with two boys that were also classically trained...
so I might incorporate that into her character, taking dance classes all her life and such

I've also been considering the idea that Emily Rose is related to Juan Paulo Esposito, the guy that woos Talia and wants to take her away from the life she's living, etc, etc.
The two of them find out around the same time that Talia also sells her body to the highest bidder. The discussion with Emilia is narrowed down to a) let's not talk about it and b) you wouldn't understand my reasons... with J.P. its limited to a) there's no future with me, and b) there's no place for emotions in my business

There are a number of conflicts with the story and it'd be interesting if Emilia had that kind of role, going between the two and maybe trying to convince Talia to take a chance on her cousin.
She ultimately decides to, but for other reasons.

As for the next song, "Maneater"... I can't help but feel that the first time Alejandro (who becomes the jealous/possessive type) sees Talia is when she performs this number and he falls head over heels for her. He pursues her both as a regular client and as part of the business (he's related to the owner of the place and knows all about it)... in other words, he "speaks" to her in a language only she could understand, that's why they're sorta close and why he feels he has some kind of ownership of her.

His storyline is still kinda murky to me as is the relationship they have, but I'm getting closer. Either way, when this song comes on in a following chapter, this flashback gets explored... it goes back maybe 10 years after Talia paid off her debt and is just dancing because its all she knows how to do with her life.
Over and over, he repeats to himself: "Never seen a girl like this.." which is a lyric right of the song.

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