note to self: I also gotta figure out what I want to name the venue that's meant to be the centerpiece for my story... and what do I classify it as? A bar? A club? A brothel?
Although I'm not quite sure if I could technically call it a brothel setting because the only sex on premise is all in the visual aspects of the performance numbers.
Hmm... to that end, it gets me kinda wondering how that arrangement will work... do the guys take the girls back to their places or vice versa? I'm meaning for this to take place in a slummy sort of neighborhood, so I doubt any of their living conditions are good enough to take clients home to. Then again, whenever I considered the logistics of it, I can only imagine the girls taking them home to their places... maybe it depends on the occasion or the client.
The risque is only part of the business. Funny enough, tonight was the first time I wondered why "hotel room" hasn't popped into my head because it's the most common place these things go down... both in fiction and in reality... a couple of these cases have cropped recently involving prostitution that I keep my eyes and ears open for possible ideas I can incorporate. A hotel setting would make things a little bit easier in keeping things discrete and it could be Alejandro's place of business or something like that...
Anyway, back on topic...
This past week at the shorehouse for July 4th has been great... when you take away the fact our AC was busted and my body was having trouble adjusting to having it back home... I'm about 90% there
I made a lot of progress in my brainstorming and character development by daring to ask myself how all these girls came together at this one place.
Interestingly, I made so much progress and had gotten much more comfort in dealing with the rest of my cast of characters that when I was listening to my playlist, I was feeling Amber more than Talia.
Even though I do ultimately want the plot to focus on her and how she changes for the better, I want people to be able to relate with each of my characters equally. In other words, I'd like to have some gray area instilled in Talia and Amber and the others so I'm not leaning fully in one direction more than the others.
In this process, I think I might have realized that some adjustments need to be made. Specifically, the ages of my characters.
I have Talia set at 33 when the story begins and 18 when she chooses to live life the way she does. At the same time, I have Vanessa being 30, Amber being 26 and Ruby and Scarlet being 27... with newcomer Emilia being 19...
My first lightbulb moment was the consideration of Amber (then known as Carmen) being an original Montiel employee. She was working for the brothers/cousins for a couple years before Talia came along.
My idea is for Talia's idea of adding the dancing (and beyond) element to the venue to garner so much favor with them that Amber is shoved into the background. Her ideas aren't as readily accepted because they aren't in line with the "new direction" they're going on. Because she ran off to get away from such a situation, she doesn't approve of it, but her concerns aren't being heard.
Baring in mind that once Talia resolved her stepfather's debts with the Montiels, she wanted to find replacement dancers to take her place. It proves to be a difficult road because few of them have the constitituton to stick it out. So of course it'd be a perfect place for Amber to sabotage her efforts.
Then when all else fails, Talia enlists the help of Vanessa, a girl she used to go to school with before her father died/left and had to help her mother take care of their place of business (whatever that might be, not sure yet... that hotel idea could still be valid here...). She knows that Vanessa is strapped for cash, not only for tutition but for dance lessons she was taking on the side (something her family doesn't approve of because they want her to get an education to get a good foundation, etc, tec.).
Amber takes a liking to Vanessa right away because she's not super into the full-on sexualization of their business and they have some things in common.
Originally, I considered Scarlet to be another stray that came in, auditioned and became part of the troupe... and given her (and Ruby's) past with their father, she's not into the idea so much either...
it's when Ruby comes along that the full transition is made, Vanessa and Scarlet jump into things and Amber ultimately gets lost in the shuffle...
I thought that'd be a little too much of a rollercoaster for Amber to have things play out that way. Building up her hopes little by little that Talia's full vision won't come to pass, only to have them obliterated.
So I considered another possibility... the fact that Scarlet came to work for the Montiels a year after Amber, having run away from home, hiding from her father and such. Scarlet and Amber are the closest of friends here. Vanessa comes along and they get along pretty well.
But with the introduction of Ruby, not only is Amber overshadowed at her audition by the reunion of Scarlet and Ruby, but she provides the catalyst to get the business going in that lude direction.
Amber's motivation; not only is it due to the clash of values between her and Talia, the fact her ideas had been taken into consideration less and less because of Talia's vision and later, the introduction of Ruby... BUT also because Ruby took her best friend away from her.
I also thought about the idea that Amber quit because the two guys I visualize when she's dancing to Karmin's music are let go by the Montiels (or even Alejandro... another source of motivation... she likes him because he was always nice to her and she planned on taking things to the next level with him when she turned 18; before that comes to pass, Talia arrives, and he only has eyes for her)...
plus the three of them share an apartment or a flat or whatever, so she has to bring in more money to pay the bills...
More or less, she has a complete transformation, going so far as to change her identity. But only Vanessa recognizes her at a given point.
My chronology is off in the fact that I see Amber escaping her domestic situation at a relatively young age, in her teens... starting as a waitress at the tender age of 14 or 15... a couple years later, Talia arrives... therefore their ages have to be a lot closer than I originally thought.
...so my plans for what to do next... I'm thinking I need to spend a novella-length of time writing the backstory for Vanessa, Amber, Scarlet and Ruby... the twins will share a volume... in this case, a composition notebook... the next time I get the chance, I'll pick up 2-3 of those at a nice cheap price... I think that'll come in real handy, especially later on