I can't say for sure that my backstories will make it in the actual book... relying too much on dialogue and sometimes rambling on for ages... but I've made substantial progress this week.
This also included the first chapter I ever wrote for the story, something I thought I was ages away from, but the vision I had was so strong that I couldn't resist.
The inspiration that got the ball rolling was "Lace and Leather," a track from Britney Spear's "Circus" album.
Talia is campaigning for Amber to become more of a team player, demanding she start including the other VIPs in her routines before she can start working with Emilia, something she really wants to do.
...and to be on the safe side, I jotted down a bunch of notes of things to keep in mind for the future, so it'll be able to tie into the rest of the story better.
I don't have the room in my notebooks to do the same for the backstories, so that's why I'm doing this entry.
For starters, I wrote the chapter, which includes Amber dancing with Vanessa, the two of them having dinner out afterwards and Vanessa discovering that Amber is Carmen... and that backstory is briefly addressed as a teaser for later.
After that, I wrote a scene with them having lunch years earlier, explaining why Vanessa's having a sense of deja vu. They're at the same restaurant, having the same food, wearing stilettos (her suspicions are initially raised because the shoes had been in the back of her closet for years, Scarlet and Talia hadn't even seen them). At this previous lunch, Vanessa is trying to convince Amber (then known as Carmen) to give Talia's new direction a chance and saying how much Scarlet misses her.
So I continued to work on the sub-plot involving Carmen and what led to her leaving the bar with Ruby's arrival.
The back-drop is that Talia is holding auditions for lead dancers. The morning of, Michel and Misha get laid off because the dancers will double as waitresses when they're not starring in routines. Plus they can only afford to pay a small amount of people with the bar being in dire straits.
At least that's the story they get.
Carmen shows up with them for her audition dance, which will be set to "Just Dance" by Lady Gaga. Everything they taught her about cha-cha and samba will be in it.
Alejandro, also judging (and will stay on as the main bartender cuz he's the nephew of the owners), is extremely impressed because this is the first time he'd seen her dance. Talia, on the other hand, is less enthused, saying that she need to learn how to lose herself in the music because to her, it looks like she's doing a bunch of steps. Also, she delivers the blow that Michel and Misha can't even stay on as dancers because she wants an all-female cast.
Ruby shows up amidst this chaos with two of her fellow strippers, saying they heard about the auditions and want to expand their resumes beyond stripping. She takes center stage with her friends as back-up and they improvise their best pole-dancing routine (minus the poles) to "Love Game" or as Ruby puts it "the next track on the album."
I need to work on what that routine would look like without the poles. I mean, it'd be too coincidental if the poles were there on stage already.
The big reveal happens after the routine (because it'd be a little too unfair to Carmen if they saw the routine after learning who Ruby was).
Ruby and her friends are dressed very similarly to Rocket in "Sucker Punch", simple corsets and stockings. While Talia makes her decision, Carmen returns home to let everything sink in. She's unbelievably happy for Scarlet getting her sister back, but she's concerned about the image she's perpetuating. This is made worse when Ruby seeks her out to thank her for looking out for her sister, divulging the fact that she was never treated as badly by their father as Scarlet was....
Carmen tries to convince her to come forward with that secret because it could make things worse further down the road. Ruby goes from never wanting to tell her to taking that into consideration.
Inevitably, Ruby is given the position. Talia unveils her plan for the bar to become a club where the dancers perform routines ranging from pole dancing to burlesque to interpretative to Latin and to help boost business and gain more capital to save it (later on, expand it), they rent themselves to clients for the night... these clients are wealthy friends of the Montiels, who will not only help with the financing, but they'll spread word of mouth in exchange for the rented "VIP treatment"... so it's kinda like an escort service.
Carmen sees no other choice but to walk out. Despite the fact she can stay on a waitress and back-up dancer, she doesn't want to associate with this type of behavior. According to her, "none of you have any problem selling your bodies for money even after going through deep shit to get to this point.... how can any of you believe that's ok?"
She looks across the room at Talia, Scarlet and Ruby, taking care not to single any of them out. But after their previous conversation, Ruby comes clean to Scarlet about their father's treatment of them. In turn, Scarlet goes more into the hell she experienced after her escape, bringing her around to remember how Carmen was there for her and she wouldn't have survived the ordeal without her.
The chapter ends with the two of them going back to Carmen's apartment to convince her to come back... but she's already gone. Ruby asks if they can take over the lease under the pretense Carmen might come back for something she left behind... Scarlet knows that's a sham, but appreciates the enthusiasm.
Not all of the pieces fit together, necessarily, but in the style I'm using in my composition notebooks, I'm doing what I can to make sure everything airs out... letting the pieces sort themselves out later.
I got to the end of that part and I felt terrible. Probably because I felt Scarlet's sense of loss. All the what-if's and things she could have done to convince Carmen to stay, how she could have been a better friend. No matter the scenario, her opposition to the sex industry would have compelled her to leave.
Ultimately, her story arc will lead her to become the very thing she despises because she can't abandon her desire for Alejandro and nobody has treated her better than him and the Montiels. What does convince her to come back... will be the back-drop for the scene after Nelly Furtado's "ShowTime".
Right now I'm hoping that my logic is sound because my gut is telling me that I'm very close to starting the actual story... now that I have a better grasp of backstories and motivations. There are still a couple questions left to answer and I need to hone in on the visual content when it comes to my playlist.
I'd been planning on rewatching some of my favorite Paso Dablo routines because that'll be Scarlet and Ruby's department for when they're exploiting their identicality.