Well, first of all, welcome to the last week and a half of my temporary job! Apparently the assignment was supposed to end this coming Friday, but I got a week’s extension. However, after how it went today, I honestly don’t think I’ll need the extension after all – I’ll have everything boxed up and ready to ship out by tomorrow afternoon basically. So, yeah, I got the job done in the time I was given. I feel good about that.
So. Job ends October 28th, unless earlier.
Then, by Thanksgiving, I will be back home in Iowa. Long story, that.
But that’s not what I’m posting about right now!
As you know, November is just around the corner. And that means it’s time for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. Like I declared in my last post, I will be trying it again this year, with the same story I’ve been working on for the past two NaNoWriMos (at least 2013 and 2014; like I said, I didn’t participate last year).
“Cherchez La Femme” will tell the story of two girls, Francine and Sarah. Francine is a famous actress. Sarah is not. But they are best friends. Like I’ve said, I am very happy with where the outline has gone. It’s now just a little over 100 pages. And I do not think it will be getting any longer. I do not think there will be any more surprises. I think the story is pretty much set. So, come November, all I have to do is write it.
Bur right now, I thought I would sort of introduce you to the characters of the story. It’s not going to be much of an introduction – basically just names – because I don’t want to give too much away. I had also thought about posting pictures of the people who have inspired the characters (all of whom are well-known actors or actresses for the most part, with a few exceptions) but, again, that would be giving something away. So, you know, I won’t….not at present, anyway.
And I don’t want to tell you too much about the plot. Basically, all you need to know is, it’s going to be a very unconventional story, nothing like you’d expect. The story takes place in both Illinois and New York City, with the bulk of the story taking place in New York City, as there are going to be not one but two movies involved (it’s going to be a dual movie shoot, so that means two movies following one story arc). But you’ll get that. Eventually. So.
Anyway. The characters.
~ Of course, the main characters are Sarah and Francine. Sarah’s last name is Goeken (pronounced ‘go-ken’) and Francine’s last name is Almay (not pronounced ‘all-may,’ but pronounced as it looks – ‘al-may’). Sarah and Francine have been friends since they were four years old (yeah, I changed it from three years old to four years old; made more sense, that). Even though Francine is famous, the only person she wants to be her true best friend is Sarah. So. That relationship is the most important one in the story, of course. And both Francine and Sarah come a long way throughout the story, from beginning to end.
And, like I’ve said previously, Francine is based on a real-life, well-known British actress. Still won’t tell you who, but it’s not like you couldn’t figure it out (and it’s still not Emma Watson, so don’t even go there). Though here’s a hint – I have blogged about her once before. So.
Now, on to the rest of the characters:
~ Sarah’s parents are Thomas and Lynn Goeken. The Goekens all live in small-town Illinois, and that small Illinois town is basically where the story begins and ends. Thomas and Lynn are very important throughout.
~ Francine’s parents are William and Helen Almay. Circumstances led the Almays to that same small Illinois town, where they met the Goekens, so that’s how Sarah and Francine met. William and Helen are also both actors. And I will give something away here – I cannot stress enough how important William is going to be throughout the course of the story. In fact, aside from Sarah and Francine, I would go so far as to say that William is the most important character in the whole entire story. But you’ll have to wait and see what I mean by that.
~ Stetson Taylor is an actor, and is also Francine’s boyfriend/significant other. Yes, I know, strange name, that – Stetson – but it’s stuck, so that’s his name, so get over it.
~ Some of Sarah’s relatives are to be featured in the story: her uncle Tad, her step-aunt Mary, and her cousins Pauline and Sally. Tad is Thomas’ older brother. Pauline is Tad’s daughter; her real mother died when she was very young, and Tad was a single father for many years before he met and married Mary, which is why Mary is Sarah’s step-aunt. Tad, Mary, and Pauline all live in New York City (Queens Village, to be exact). Sally is one of Sarah’s cousins from Illinois who happens to be in the New York City area at the time of the story; Sally is in Coast Guard training (and I did have to look that up, and there are such facilities in NYC, so that’s that). So Tad, Mary, Pauline, and Sally serve as Sarah’s family connection while Sarah is in New York City. And here is something else I will give away, and unashamedly so – the characters of Sally and Pauline will be based off of my real-life cousins Gina and Melissa, respectively. So, yeah, Sarah, Sally, and Pauline are very close as cousins.
~ Sarah works at an insurance company for a living, at the same insurance company as her father, to be precise (he’s in underwriting, she’s in records). Sarah’s co-workers/friends in the records department are Ellen Wheeler, Julie Nichols, and Laurie Higgins.
~ Sarah, Julie, Ellen, and Laurie also make up part of an ‘unofficial’ band throughout the story – all the girls sing and play instruments. The rest of the ‘unofficial’ band members are three guys named Wilmer, Leon, and Paul. All three guys also sing and play instruments. And, yes, they are an ‘unofficial’ band. Most of them want to make it official, but Sarah is the lone holdout on that for the longest time. It makes for a slight running gag throughout the story. Spoiler alert – eventually, they do form an official band. But that happens later.
~ Sarah is also a part-time college student, and her English/writing instructor is Mrs. Jaice (pronounced ‘jay-cee’). Mrs. Jaice is very dear to Sarah. More to give away – Mrs. Jaice is going to be based off of a real-life creative writing instructor I once had.
~ The pastor of the small town church that Sarah and her parents attend is Father Mike. More to give away – this Father Mike is going to be based, unashamedly so, on the real-life late Father Mike O’Rourke, who meant a great deal to me when I was younger. (Oh, dear Father Mike, I miss you so, I love you so, and I wish you were still with us!)
Now, once the story moves to New York City, that’s when things get interesting. Because the people you will meet during the New York City section of the story are mostly going to be other actors or, in the case of two separate characters, a film director and a film producer.
~ Let’s start with Louisa Andrews, a fellow actress. She’s going to be really funny in a cynical way, very sarcastic, and she basically just tells it like it is, calls it as she sees it. So. She’ll be a blast. I can’t wait to write her, and I can’t wait for you to meet her.
~ Jacob Dreiser is another fellow actor. And, unfortunately, even though he plays the main character in the movies in question, I have somewhat given Jacob the token ‘thankless’ part in the story. Well, had to be someone. He does have his moments, but he’s really mostly in the background throughout.
~ As is Angelica, but she’s a little more important than Jacob. And, yes, she only goes by her first name; of course she has a last name, but she prefers not to use it. Angelica is Spanish in origin, and so is a big star in her native Spain, but this is her first American film(s), and that’s why she is a part of the story. Like Jacob, she does have her moments.
~ Tovey Jones is another fellow actor. I did not like Tovey at first as I was drawing up the outline and character backgrounds, and I thought he was going to be a real jerk throughout the whole story, but Tovey really surprised me, in that he turns out to be not so bad after all. If I do that specific moment just right, it’s gonna be freakin’ hysterical, let me tell you! But I won’t say anything more about it at present, as that would be giving something away.
~ Nora Mueller, another actress, is going to be insanely important as well, if the special nickname Sarah bestows upon her is any indication. I can’t wait for you to meet Nora. But that’s just it – you’ll have to wait. I will say that Nora and the Almays, who all hail from England, are very close friends; that’s another reason why Nora will be so important.
~ Likewise, fellow actor and Brit (actually an Aussie transplant) Hector Reali (pronounced ‘ree-alley’) is going to be important, too, in that he is also a close friend of the Almays and of Nora. And Sarah bestows a special nickname upon Hector as well. Can’t wait.
~ Actor Glenn Nottingham is also going to be very important. And that’s really all I am at leisure to say about that. Glenn is not only just an actor in the movies, but he is also one of the producers of the movies as well. And do not let the last name fool you – he is far from the bad guy in this story. Yup. Far from it.
~ The same cannot be said for Glenn’s young wife Aiya (pronounced ‘eye-ah’). But, again, that’s all I am at leisure to say about that.
~ Glenn and Aiya have a five-year-old son named Devlin. You will see him once or twice during the story. Being that he is so young, I would hope that he would be endearing to the reader, not annoying.
~ Bob Luckin is the writer/director of the movies. Bob is going to be weird, and no mistake. He’ll be fun, though.
~ Donald Lawrence is the other producer of the movies (along with Glenn). Yeah. You’re not really going to like Donald. And you’re not supposed to. Let’s just leave it at that.
~ And there is going to be one other character who is quite important. And that is Kennett. Kennett is a stray kitten that Sarah finds on the streets of New York City. Or, rather, Kennett finds Sarah. Sarah decides to keep Kennett. Or, rather, Kennett keeps Sarah. He’s going to be such a cutie cat; he has the personality of a little puppy when it comes to Sarah!
So. That’s that. Those are the characters as they stand in the story. I honestly and for truly cannot tell you any more without giving anything away.
In my last post, I mentioned the ‘soundtrack’ I have going for this story. And, in between that last post and now, as I post this, the ‘soundtrack’ has experienced some major changes as well. I indicated that Miranda Lee Richards had the distinction of having THE MOST IMPORTANT SONG IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE STORY, and she still does. However, since this story is based out of Illinois, I figured I’d better have a song from Peoria’s own Dan Fogelberg in there somewhere. And, lord, did I find the most appropriate song! I’ve posted it before – I’ll freely give that one away – so that song is going to be insanely important throughout the story. Ergo, it will be the second most important song in the whole entire story. And there has been one more addition to the soundtrack that took me totally by surprise – it’s a song that is played a lot around Christmas time in real life, so it will be featured around Christmas in the story as well, but it becomes a lot more important after Christmas. Little did Sarah realize how important that song would become….
I’ve often said that in terms of my writing, publication is not the ultimate goal. It’s always been more of a sense of accomplishment, whenever I write something to completion.
However. With this particular story, I think that, if I do it right and can get it to the right place and polished up and everything, I really think this stands a chance of being my first attempt at an official novel. I believe in the story that much, that it could see the publication light of day. For real.
Ah well. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll try to do better next post!