Writing the Tour
Since late fall, I’ve been trying to write all the scenes that take place inside the house museum — to stay in the house — but the magic just isn’t there. You know how you know when something isn’t working?
Part of the problem is that the plot revolves around revisions to the tour script. So there’s the story of the house the way the narrator has been taught it, and then there’s the real story, and both need to be on the page because the point of telling is in the future, so the narrator knows the true story the whole time. But trying to present both stories in scene is confusing and clunky.
Then yesterday, the fix came to me. It seems so obvious now. Write the original tour script all the way through. Present it as a chapter, or break it up into sections that begin each chapter. Set it apart so that the scenes can be focused on the action that takes place in the house, rather than action squeezed between a whole tour script presented as dialogue. Make it clear through the form that this is what’s been handed down so that the scenes can focus on the discovery of the truth.
As I write this, I realize — I did try to get the tour script down. It was very early on in the project, maybe 18 months ago. But I didn’t know the house or its architect yet. Now I do, and now I will try again. (This may require some research trips to house museums. If I must!)