WIP Week, Dispatch #2: Her Name Is Veronica (NaNoWriMo 2011)

Welcome to the second day of WIP Week, where we check in on what’s happening with my current works-in-progress. 

Our WIP for the day was written during NaNoWriMo 2011 as an Agatha Christie-esque mystery and suspense thriller, featuring a call-center agent from Manila who finds her inner heroine after uncovering her true identity as an heiress for an important political family. Unfortunately for readers like us, Veronica – the story – reached 50k at the end of November with plot holes galore and a constantly re-written first chapter that can’t decide for itself what it’s supposed to be. Can this manuscript be saved? 


Title: Her Name Is Veronica 

Abstract (as of this writing): Veronica San Luis has led a mostly quiet life in Manila as a call-center agent… until she is identified as the long-lost illegitimate daughter of Lionel Berkeley, the patriarch of a wealthy and powerful American family with interests in commerce and philantropy. Veronica is welcomed into the Berkeley estate on Oahu by Lionel’s legitimate children – ambitious elder son Lewis, idealistic middle child Linus, and flighty daughter Lana – but soon she becomes caught up in a virtual network of lies, resentments, and blackmail, leaving her with no choice but to trust the last person that she could trust in Honolulu: Dean Harper, a professional hacker with his own axe to grind against the Berkeley family. 
Revision status: After so many changes to the plot and characterization (i.e. downgrading Dean to “professional hacker” just to mess with the age ranges of the characters), I finally threw in the towel and decided to rewrite this as a screenplay treatment, since some of the scenes I had in mind were hard to translate to the written page. (I used the beat sheet from Save The Cat! as a template for my treatment.) This treatment, in turn, will then be used as an outline for a possible Script Frenzy entry. I think I’m ready to put this baby in motion by April, while I’m taking classes for summer school.

What else is going on? Frankly, the characters need a lot of help to elevate them from cartoonish good/bad guys. (The exceptions being Nica, Dean, Linus, and Attorney Kunimoto, which worries me.) The mystery itself – which involves a cover-up for a pharmaceutical conspiracy – could also use more work, and the killer (or killers?)  must stop acting so damned obvious.

Do I want to see this published produced? Eventually. I can see this turning into a real movie; most of the scenes in Manila are located in not-so-densely-populated areas (breathe easy, people affected by Bourne Legacy), and Hawaii – from what I know about Lost – is not a bad place to shoot a movie either. If you’re interested, you can also see my inspiration board on Pinterest to check out a few graphic pegs. 
Does this need a critique? Yes, please! Preferably someone with critiquing experience for mystery/suspense/thriller screenplays. I’ll even take critiques at the treatment stage, if anyone wants to do this. 

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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