Technical, meet content

North Pacific Giant Octopus, Mark Laita

Just got back from a visit to Tacoma Glassblowing Studio, where I talked to resident glassblower Brian Farmer about the story I’m submitting to MFA programs. I needed some expert advice on some of the technical aspects of the story.

Lo and behold, it turns out that one said aspects may actually help resolve a problem I’ve been having with dumb ol’ plot.

I mentioned before that I wasn’t completely sure how to resolve the thread involving the narrator’s sister; she’s easily as important a character as the narrator, but I kinda leave her in the lurch as the narrator careens off of her to resolve his own thread. In that sense, she becomes just a foil, but I had invested so much of the story in developing her that I can’t justifiably leave her as such.

As I’ve said, there’s unfinished business with her that needs to happen in the story. Sometime in between finishing the octopus and going to his gig. A phone call, a face-to-face conversation, exchanged notes, or maybe just one of them doing something and the other reacting.

I had asked Brian whether it was mere madness for the narrator to try to tackle a glass octopus entirely on his own, or whether it was physically impossible. He didn’t give it much thought; technically it could be done by oneself, he said. But it’d be really, really, hard.

You might say he’d have to be part octopus himself.

Either that, or else his sister helps him finish what he started.

So there you have it. Two sides of a coin. Now to flip…

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  1. Ah, gotta love that light bulb moment of “THAT WILL FIX EVERYTHING!”. I hate leaving characters out in the cold, and since my novels have a TON of characters, I’m going to have to be really careful about not leaving strings unattached and stuff.

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