10: Chapter

October 24, 2013 in Grammar and Conventions, lau0601 by lau0601

Tiffany peeked out from behind the bookshelf. Sure enough, Taeyeon’s slight figure was in the niche across from her usual one, bent over some textbooks.

Creeping up quietly, Tiffany watched the girl scribble away for a while before leaning down next to Taeyeon’s ear. “Boo!”

“Agh!”

“Shh!” The guy next to her shot them a look.

“Sorry, sorry!” Taeyeon turned around, glaring at Tiffany. “Do you want to get us kicked out of the library?”

Tiffany just flashed her an eyesmile. “You actually do sit here!”

“Yes, I do.”

“I don’t understand how I never noticed! I didn’t believe you when you told me, but I didn’t check till now. How come I never knew?”

“Well,” said Taeyeon, “I’m not quite sure either. I think it’s just your brain malfunctioning, as usual.”

Tiffany ignored her. “You free now?”

“Kinda, depending on what I need to be free for.”

“Wanna go have lunch?”

“Now? It’s ten forty-five.”

Tiffany held up the new stack of papers. “Then let’s say we’re going to go eat something while you read this over.”

“Read this over?” Taeyeon raised en eyebrow. “Is this your first draft? You printed it out?”

“Yup! I took your advice and added a little more detail to the chart. Then I went home and kind of wrote out the beginning of it, but I’m not really sure if this is how it’s going to go. Also, I looked at the chart again, and I don’t think I can actually finish this entire plot in a 2-page spread.”

Taeyeon put down her pen. “Hmm, you’re right. I’ll look over it and then we can talk.”

“Okay! So can you eat lunch?”

“But it’s not even eleven yet!”

“Kim Taeyeon!”

Taeyeon sighed and closed her textbook. “Okay, okay, I’ll come.”

“Hmm, it’s kinda crowded today, why don’t you go find a table and I’ll go get food?”

Tiffany nodded. “Okay, take your time.”

Weaving through the tables of students – why in the world were they all here so early? – Tiffany finally found some free seats. Putting her bag on a chair, she sat down in the other one and opened up the first draft on her laptop. She scrolled through it and made a few mental notes about certain parts.

“Whoops, careful!”

Tiffany looked up and saw Taeyeon heading towards her with a full tray. She quickly jumped up and cleared her stuff off the table.

“Sorry I took so long, the line was crazy slow. I took the liberty of getting you something because I didn’t think you’d like to line up right now. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Oh! You didn’t have to, you know, I was going to go buy my own.” Tiffany helped Taeyeon set the tray properly.

“It’s okay, consider this payback for the ice cream,” said Taeyeon as she pulled out her chair.

“No-”

Before Tiffany could reach for the receipt, a hand had already shot out and grabbed it.

“Really, Tiffany, just sit down and eat it.” Taeyeon pocketed the little slip of paper.

“Well, if you really don’t mind, then thanks!” Tiffany looked at the bowls. “Um, which one is mine?”

“Here,” said Taeyeon, taking a bowl and a Coke off the tray and pushing the remainder towards Tiffany. “Hope it’s okay.”

Tiffany looked at her lunch. “Eel rice and iced coffee? How did you know?”

“Well,” said Taeyeon, picking up her chopsticks, “it seems like all your characters, at some point, will eat eel rice. And you drank coffee the last time we went to Sooyoung’s, right? Since you’re eating something hot I figured iced coffee might be better.”

“Are you secretly Sherlock Holmes?”

Taeyeon laughed. “No, just your regular Kim Taeyeon.”

Tiffany squinted suspiciously at Taeyeon. That was some mad deduction skills – okay, Taeyeon had to be a ninja. Better close her curtains at night, just in case. Then, realizing she was spacing out, Tiffany shook her head.

“So, regular Kim Taeyeon, I need your help with some of the setting.”

“You don’t want to eat first?”

Tiffany paused. “Oh. No, I just thought that you might be busy later so we could multitask?”

“No, it’s fine,” said Taeyeon, mixing her rice around. “You don’t have to find excuses to eat lunch with me, you know.”

“Wha-”

“Eat, Tiffany. It’ll be a change, right, for the both of us? Eating with someone else?”

“How did you know I eat by myself?”

“Um,” Taeyeon winced. “This, well, I see you eating by yourself a lot.”

“Oh, so you are a stalker!” Tiffany remembered the pink unicorn curtains that she had left open last night.

“I mean, I didn’t mean to!”

“Yeah, so you just,” Tiffany waved her chopsticks around vaguely, “noticed where and when I eat lunch, and-”

“Hey, guys!”

They both looked up to see Yuri jogging in place next to their table.

“Cool, you guys finally met up?”

Taeyeon nodded. “She was very persistent.”

“Well, only because some short person refused to reply to emails!”

“Hey, I replied, okay-”

Yuri laughed, shaking her head. “You guys are funny. Just starting lunch, I see?”

“Yup,” said Taeyeon, “and after this we’re going to go edit the next story at Sooyoung’s.”

“Sounds good! Send it to me as soon as possible, eh?” Yuri waved. “Aite, I’m going to go have a meeting. Have a good lunch!”

As Yuri jogged away, Tiffany looked at Taeyeon oddly.

“What? What did I do now?”

“Why are we going to Sooyoung’s?”

“Cuz they have caramel coffees there, and we need to work on the story?”

“And how the heck-”

Taeyeon sighed. “Tiffany, I think anyone who reads your stories will know that you like caramel coffee. It’s not me who’s being a stalker, it’s you who’s putting a lot of yourself into the stories.”

“Do I really?” Tiffany frowned. Really?

“Yes, you do. Especially after I’ve spoken to you now; your voice is very clear in your writing.”

“Huh.”

“Eat, Tiffany, your eel looks a bit put out at the neglect.”

When they pushed the door open, Sooyoung looked up and rolled her eyes. “Okay, say no more. Go sit at the kiddie table and I’ll bring your drinks to you.”

“Thanks, Goliath,” said Taeyeon, walking towards their table.

“You’re welcome, Small Midget. By the way,” called Sooyoung, peering over the coffee machine, “I adjusted the table so it should be a little lower now. Hope it helps you reach your cups better!”

Tiffany giggled as she put her bag down. “Is it actually lower?” She asked, eyeing the table.

“No, she’s trolling.” Taeyeon sat down and leaned on the table. “See? No difference.”

Tiffany pulled her chair out and sat down, crossing her legs. “Wait, no, my legs are hitting the table. I think she actually did lower it!”

“Of course I did,” drawled Sooyoung, appearing suddenly. “I never lie. Here are your drinks.”

Tiffany watched as a mug of caramel coffee was placed in front of her. “Whoa! You know I like caramel coffee too?”

Sooyoung glanced at Taeyeon, who shrugged. They both sighed.

“Tiffany,” said the barista, “if I didn’t know by now that you like caramel coffee, I would be a big failure. Considering the fact that you have never ordered anything else, I think even our little miss Midget would also get the point if she were to work here.” Sooyoung patted Taeyeon’s head calmly.

“Thank you, Sooyoung.”

“You’re welcome, Small Midget. And when you guys are done, please put the cups back yourself. I don’t want to have to bend down extra low and hurt my sexy back.” With that, Sooyoung flipped her hair and strutted off.

“Is that girl for real?” Tiffany shook her head in wonder.

“She’s tall,” said Taeyeon, taking a sip. “Hmm. Nice. She gave me tea.”

“Good?”

“Yup.” Taeyeon smiled. “Now, where’s that print out?”

Tiffany pulled the stack out of her bag and handed it to Taeyeon. “Here you go.”

“Okay, so what do you want me to help you with?”

“Basically, I just want to see what you think about the setting and the tone. I’m not exactly sure if this is the way to go.”

“Right.” Taeyeon cleared her throat and started to read. After a minute of silence, Tiffany took a sip of her caramel coffee. Another minute later, she took out her laptop and started to scroll through her Facebook feed.

“Do you have a pen?”

“Hmm?” Tiffany looked up to see Taeyeon still staring at the paper, her finger held firmly over the second paragraph.

“Do you have a pen?”

“Uh, the pink one?”

Taeyeon finally looked up. “Really? That’s your only pen?”

“Yeah. Will that work?”

“I guess, yeah. I forgot my red pen.”

Tiffany dug around in her bag. “Here.”

“Thanks.”

Tiffany watched for a little longer as Taeyeon continued to edit. For a while, Taeyeon didn’t pick up the pen, just kept reading. Tiffany tried to follow along by reading upside down, but when Taeyeon picked up the pen and scribbled something down, she was surprised.

“Wait, you’re still only at the third paragraph?”

“Hmm?”

“I mean, I thought you’d be down to the end of the page by now,” said Tiffany, tilting her head to look at the paper.

“Well, if I read that fast, I won’t see anything to mark down, right?” She frowned and made a little circle. “Hmm.”

“Oh, okay.” Tiffany fell silent and just watched as Taeyeon edited the rest of her draft. Taeyeon took a very long time with the first page, and then the second, and by the third, Tiffany was back to scrolling through Facebook.

“Ooh.”

Tiffany looked up just as Taeyeon drew a little star around a paragraph. Stretching a little to see over her laptop screen, she tried to see which part Taeyeon was reading.

“Tiffany, how about I finish editing and then we can go over this? It’s a bit distracting when you keep watching me,” said Taeyeon, looking up and grinning briefly.

“Oh!” Tiffany coughed awkwardly. “Sorry. Um…just tell me when you’re done, then?”

“Okay.”

For a good half hour, Tiffany waited as Taeyeon worked silently on the draft. She tried her best to do other things, but her curiosity made her peek over occasionally to see Taeyeon adding more and more pink marks to the paper, until the paper was almost completely covered. This was fascinating to Tiffany; she had never actually stopped to wonder how Taeyeon edited her stories.

“Okay, Miss Hwang, I am done.”

Tiffany was startled out of her thoughts. “Oh! Cool!”

“I might have missed some things, because someone was watching me and that was creepy,” said Taeyeon, her expression blank, “but otherwise, it should be good. Do you want to go over it now?”

“Sure.”

“Anything in particular you want to talk about first? Or do you want me to ask the questions?”

Tiffany closed her laptop. “You can ask the questions.”

“Okay. There was this one part – in the, uh, first paragraph of the fourth page. Here,” said Taeyeon, turning the paper around and showing Tiffany, “you used the word ‘merge’ in ‘merged into the crowd’. I was wondering if you really wanted to use that word? It sounds a little off in that sentence, almost changing the meaning and tone.”

“Ah! Yes, this part, I was trying to look for a word but I had a brain fart, and all I could think of was merge.”

Taeyeon grinned. “I was wondering about that. How about trying another word? ‘Slipped’?”

“Hmm. ‘Slipped into the crowd’.” Tiffany nodded. “Yes, that works a lot better. I’ll put that in. Anything else?”

“Not about word choice or anything. There are some grammatical mistakes, but I’ve circled them and you can fix those at home by yourself. Mostly, I want to talk to you about the plot and the characters.”

Taeyeon pulled out a fresh sheet of paper from her bag and scribbled something on it. “Okay, so in this chapter, you introduced all nine of your planned protagonists. I liked what you wrote about them – the doctor was super cool.”

Tiffany nodded, looking at the paper.

“However, as awesome as each character’s introduction was, there are a few problems I’m seeing. Firstly, you wanted this story to have multiply intertwining storylines, right? Right now, you’ve laid all nine out, but I don’t see much of a link between them.”

“Okay, so should I go back and try to mix them together a little more?”

“That’s my second point.” Taeyeon pointed at the nine names on the paper. “To put it very simply, I feel like you’ve started off with too many characters.”

Tiffany blinked. “Should I take some out of the story?”

“No, no. They should definitely stay in there – I think each character has a lot of potential, and each of them can bring a lot to the story. You did well with their characterizations, at least as far as I can see now.”

Taeyeon paused and squinted at the upside-down paper. After a moment’s hesitation, she carefully circled five names. “Here. These five characters, I think you should keep their parts in the first chapter of your story. The rest of them you can weave in later.”

“Chapter?” Tiffany gulped. “So…”

“And, yes, that was my third point.” Taeyeon put her pen down. “This story will be extremely complex, especially with the plot we were discussing last time. In order to fully flesh it out, I think you’ll need to write an ongoing story that spans, oh, maybe around four to five weeks?”

Tiffany sat back. “Oh.”

“It really depends on you,” said Taeyeon, looking steadily at Tiffany. “You definitely don’t have to; we can cut the story down, cut the characters out and make it a shorter, one-shot type story.”

Tiffany thought about it. Did she want to cut the story short?

She hated these kinds of moments. When an idea hit her (or, well, was given to her, in this case), it was hard to just give it up. She had pages and pages of Word documents just for unwritten or half-finished stories. And she had also tried to cut stories down before when they overflowed and exceeded her word-count limitation. It was never a pleasant experience.

“I think,” she said, slowly, “I’ll ask Yuri if I can get an extension on this story. I think she’ll be okay with it going beyond a one week thing – she seemed to like the previous Christmas story, and that went on for four weeks.”

“So you want to make it an ongoing story?”

“I want to try,” said Tiffany. “I’m really not sure how to go about doing that, because the Christmas story was the only long one I’ve written, but I do want to try.”

Taeyeon leaned back on her chair and grinned. “No worries,” she said, “you’ll do fine. Especially since you have the Master Editor to tutor you, young sapling.”

“Ugh, never mind, I’ll just cut it short.”

“Okay, okay, no saplings, no saplings.”

Tiffany rolled her eyes.

“But don’t worry,” said Taeyeon, still smiling, “I’m serious. I’ll be here to help you. So what do you say?”

“Let’s do this.”

 

 

and yes! the story taeny are discussing is Asleep Are The Dogs, also posted here on BySone under moonrise31’s stories 🙂 go check that out – you won’t regret it!