The awesome Lyn Miller-Lachmann is no stranger to this blog, to the blogosphere, or the publishing world. Her latest novel, Rogue (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin), has been released to critical acclaim. Now Lyn is working not just on another novel but a graphic novel as well. And she’s here today with part 4 of the Space Series. (The first post in the series can be found here, the second here, and the third here.)
I have a dilemma. I am running out of space.
The table that has housed my Lego community, Little Brick Township, is already full. Everything fits perfectly in a tight circle around Town Hall, the seat of power that embodies conflict in my stories.
Now, Lego has announced the release of an adorable Parisian Restaurant that reminds me less of restaurants in Paris than those in Lisbon, with the narrow exterior staircase that leads to surprising new spaces as one climbs uphill.
In addition, I want to put in a canal along my main street to evoke Amsterdam, one of my other favorite cities. And once the canal is in, I need a houseboat. Lego doesn’t make Amsterdam-style houseboats, so I plan to use Jabba’s Sail Barge as the basis for a MOC (My Own Creation).
While I need to expand my space, my husband wants to move from our house in Albany to an apartment in New York City, where space is at a premium. I could rent artist studio space for my “installation,” but I have so far earned $20 as a visual artist, and the stratospheric payouts that some YA authors enjoy have so far eluded me.
Right now, the future of Little Brick Township is all about making choices. The same goes for writing.
When I begin a novel, the possibilities seem endless. I have dozens of characters in my head and a lot of things to say. One of my biggest weaknesses is focus—having too many characters and trying to address too many themes at once. It hurts me to have to give up a character, but readers have trouble keeping too many characters in mind, and the truth is, characters have to do more than one thing to earn their keep. So I combine characters and save the one I gave up for the next book.
Uh-oh. A traffic jam.
The same goes for theme. It’s tempting to address all the issues people are talking about nowadays. After all, they’re on the characters’ minds too, and complex characters have complex lives. But these, too, have to be pared down so that the reader can concentrate on what’s most important about the story. In the course of revising Rogue over eighteen months, I had to take out multiple plot threads and themes, all of them related to the secondary characters, so that the reader’s focus would remain on my protagonist, Kiara, and her search for a friend (her external desire) and her own special power (her internal desire).
NaNoWriMo begins in about a week. This is our chance to write away, dreaming of all the possible places our characters can take us. However, there comes a time when we have to make choices for what works in our story, what the central themes and conflicts are, and who is most important to be around for the particular journey of our main character. The rest needs to be chopped out in the revision stage, perhaps to appear in the next story. In writing as in Lego towns, there’s simply no space to have it all.
Parisian Restaurant from legogenre.com; Jabba’s Sail Barge from brickextra.com.
It looks like you’re going to need a bigger table, Lyn. The Parisian Restaurant is a must for your village. You’ve taken me back in time with this post. I loved Legos as a kid. I’d spend hours constructing houses and buildings. Legos made me feel as though I could construct anything even though I’m not in any way artistic. I might have to put aside my jigsaw puzzles and purchase some Legos.
Although I consider myself a visual person, I can’t draw at all. Having the Lego town has allowed me to write and illustrate a graphic novel with photos of the buildings and scenes that I create. I’ve now put some of the stories on Instagram and will be adding more of them to my website too. Thank you for commenting, Jill!
I still have a few Legos–mostly minifigures. I’m thinking about establishing a Lego corner myself, Jill.
I think one of those minifigs is the one you won from me. (Was it the honeybee lady?) In retrospect, I should have offered a giveaway for this post.
Yes, it was the honeybee lady. Maybe I should ask for some Legos for Christmas. 😉
I have the same problem with books. In a bid to save my marriage, I made a concession in the shape of a Kindle.
There are people who do that with Lego in that there are programs allowing people to build creations on their computer. Minecraft is one example. Getting away from Lego, there’s also Sim City, though I never got into The Sims because the program pushed players in certain directions (i.e. making lots of money and having lots of stuff) to have a successful life. I like to take my characters in directions of which the corporate masters may not approve.
I’m surrounded by books as well. And my Kindle broke, so I might be drowning in physical books soon.
Books and space are my problem too. But I consider that to be one of the best problems I have.
I love your lego community! How cool. What patience you have to put it together. The professor always got vexed with legos.
I like puzzles of all kinds, and I got into Lego from doing jigsaw puzzles. Building a set from instructions is basically like doing a 3-D puzzle. Now, years later, I’m starting to build MOCs, but it’s taken me a long time to get there.
I enjoyed that interview with Mr. Ratherquite, who seemed very vexed with his interviewer. A pity.
That’s what I love about Legos! They are ageless and enjoyed by all! Good luck with NaNoWriMo! 🙂
Are you NaNoing, Maria?
I am not, Linda. I need to learn more about it and try for next year but it seems many bloggers are! Are you one of them??
I’m semi-NaNoing. I’m trying to see how far I get in a novel I already started.
Thank you for commenting! Good luck to you with NaNoWriMo as well!
And for those who don’t do NaNoWriMo–and I’m one of them–it’s always good to set smaller, more doable, goals. Such as 5,000 words instead of 50,000.
That’s my philosophy too, Lyn. I decided to go for a smaller goal.
By the way, if folks want to see more pictures from Little Brick Township, I’m on Instagram. So far, I’ve put up some of the interrelated stories that are part of the graphic novel I’m writing, as well as random characters who may become important someday, special minifigs that the Lego company has sent me for being such a good supporter of their product, and MOCs (My Own Creations) that I’ve designed and built.
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Hmmm, I’m revising and wondering if I’ve run out of space, too. Time to put it down for a bit and come back when I’m fresh.
That’s always a good idea, Naomi. I had to put a novel down until I could see it with fresh eyes.
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