WIM Week 3: CP round
Part 2: Brainstorming
When I filtered my feedback to look at ideas and lines that could use attention in my self-edited draft. I had two critiques that raised two separate issues: plausibility for the realistic parts of the piece, and more emotional impact.
Regarding the second issue, I’ll just have to do my best. Emotional impact is hard, particularly in a short piece where you don’t have room to use a lot of techniques. Plus, Kenny is an accountant. Emotional spilling probably isn’t his style. Thoughts will have to do.
For the first, it’s time to brainstorm.
Some questions raised included the details of Kenny’s firing, how he finds out, how he gets back into the building, and how he gets both in, and out, with his gas can, and then with the lady without being questioned. Additionally, the idea that Batlady is just allowed to be a secretary seemed implausible because of records. These are all places where I could either work to resolve them in a realistic way, or I could seek the fantastic. Because I’m going for magical realism, I wanted to start with the fantastic. Additionally, I put a request into a special adviser of mine to work on the realism, should I want to incorporate more melding of the realism and the fantasy.
I’m starting with the concept of firing. What if firing means actual fire? What if Kenny, being a loner, chooses to forgo the pleasure of dying with the other fire-ees, preferring to burn himself up and his workplace with it? What if Batlady really did work there, and being pinned on the wall as a “motivational” poster was her punishment, or a way to contain her? Has Kenny known that employees who fought the company in the past ended up on the walls? Is this why he has such an attachment to his “lady” who seems to be in solidarity with him when it comes to having a deep hatred of what the corporation represents?
What about when they leave? Why don’t the security guards stop them? Why don’t they recognize that Kenny is leaving with someone else from the building, someone they didn’t see go in with him? What is the most fantastic way I could resolve that? My mind is running to another word for firing, “being let go”. Can I use that idea and twist it in some way, showing the security guards that at least these two people have truly escaped the corporation, giving them hope for their future? I already have a section where it is hinted at that Batlady weaves cloaks for those who would change their fate, and Kenny has changed his life, but still uses his skills to support them. Is he using those skills to help others, too? What kind of magical skill does he have that I can add to help with some of the suspension of disbelief for not only the reader, but Kenny?
Kenny radiates no surprise when he helps Batlady out of the picture. That’s intentional. I felt absolutely no surprise from him as I wrote it. I can’t put fake surprise there. It has to be his genuine feeling for what is happening when he rescues the woman in the picture. So, what about the emotional impact of that moment? Will adding those brainstorming ideas give me more scope for triggering deep emotions concerning Kenny’s actual dead-end job, his chance at a new life with this leap of faith, of daring to step outside his reality and find new hope?
How many more words will this add to my piece? How much I can do and not compromise the story or add new content that needs explanation?
After a brainstorming session with myself, I let this simmer for about 24 hours, letting the thoughts pile up. Very little of this could be useful. Some of it may be. I won’t know until it’s time to redraft.