M.A.S.H. was one of the most unforgettable television shows in history. Its svelte combination of stark drama and snarky humor stands unrivaled before or after.
I want to write M.A.S.H. It’s not that I want to write about a mobile army surgical hospital, or anything vaguely medical-ish at all! I get queasy trying to make it through an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I’m not a military writer either, although it is not uncommon for my characters to have some kind of military background.
What I want is the seamless blend of drama and humor that forced us as a viewing audience to define the term dramedy. My characters can be very real to me, and in order to be just as real to my audience, they must have the multiple facets that real humans have. We laugh. We cry. Sometimes we laugh at funerals and cry at surprise parties.
I think I have a good sense of humor, but it is very opportunistic. I can’t resist a straight line, and it’s got me in trouble more than once. (If you follow Tiffany Reisz on twitter, she will feed you plenty of straight lines!) I love it when I find the humor creeping into my stories, but I can’t write it on demand like Robert Asprin. I myth him.
I have trouble letting anything bad happen to my characters (unlike Jane Kindred, who loves to torture hers!) But I do have good plots that include drama and tension. The trick is getting it out onto the page before I wimp out and say “Oh, but everyone was all right!”
I’ve reached about 8,000 words in my WIP, with the working title Mama Mia. (On a side note, I really need to come up with a better title soon.) I know the entire plot, although the romance side will have to come along as I write. I think I will be able to surge through and get this ready for querying in a month. That may seem like an impossible task, but it is worth it. I’ve spent the past six months immersed in this world, writing and revising it, and figuring out what ties the stories together and what separates them. I do not want to write a series where a reader will be completely lost if they pick up a book in the middle, but I want to reward loyal readers who start from the beginning and stick with me. I don’t know if an agent would tsk at me if they found out that I was querying a book I’d only begun a couple months before. I hope not. I hope that the fact that this world has been at the forefront of my imagination for several years now will come through in the finished product, even if it only gets a once through with my proofreader and a once over edit from me. I’d rather have the agent’s input before editing further, to be honest.
On another note, the next two interviews I have lined up are a bit different. Both are pre-published writers, one of whom is about to query, and one of whom just signed with an agent. I like the idea of getting some diversity into these interviews, from writers like Rhiannon Ellis and Sara Creasy who are doing virtual tours for their works that just came out, to writers at every stage in their career.
And, if I’ve played my cards right, I might have lined up my first non-human interview! But more on that later…
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