Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I'm sure that most people will tell you that they get their best ideas from talking to people they know or about things that happen in their own lives.  Others dream about things they wish would happen to them.  Somehow my inspiration comes at really random times.  Aside from closing my eyes and seeing the characters play out their own lives, as I have mentioned before, I also get weird little flashes while I'm doing something completely different than writing or thinking about writing.  I was walking up the stairs yesterday looking for a random item for Thing 1 or Thing 2 and bam, a great idea came to me.  I wasn't even thinking about my books.  How can looking for socks suddenly give you flash of brilliance that has been a plot problem for over a month?  I don't get it.  It will only be one sentence or one image and suddenly it makes hundreds of other things make sense.  It's like finding the missing dot in the connect the dot puzzle that you didn't even know was missing.  (Now the lion has a extra whisker that balances out his face better.)

My other source of inspiration is driving alone in the car, which of course is the worst place to have an idea.  I'm terrible at recording what I'm thinking.  I end up not even using what I said on tape.  Instead, I have to wait until I get to my destination and email myself on my phone the general outline.  To anyone walking past my car, it would look like I was having a texting war with someone.  I look intense and my thumbs are going a mile a minute trying to remember everything from a 30 minute car ride. 

I also find that my characters help me out as well.  As we all know this series has been sitting in my head forever and I have pictured what it looks like a million times.  Well, it took a character to enter into one of the Halls and look around and make a random comment to change something completely.  He added a history to the location that even I didn't know.  How the heck does that happen?  I have been there for 16 years and in 1 second he tells me something I never knew.  I was floored by that one.  It still gives me chills. 

I should be angry with my characters for changing my writing.  I will think about something and have this whole conversation or idea in my head and the second I put my hands on the keyboard and start writing for the character that is supposed to have the conversation, his or her voice takes over and the conversation completely changes.  Apparently they are a lot smarter than I am since their conversation comes out so much better than my original one.  I should be jealous or concerned that I'm losing my mind.  Either way, I usually happy with the result.  I find that when I write in my own voice, like in my blog, it's never as interesting as when I can channel the voice of the character.  (I usually delete what I wrote and let the character's voice win.)  It's funny when I got back and read the dialog and laugh out loud because I either forgot what I wrote, or it so completely fits the character's attitude.

The last 2 nights I've had trouble deciding on how to work a number of ideas and places into my first book.  I had to erase most of it because I hated it and it didn't feel right.  I realized that I had lost my character's voice.  Once I let them speak, I suddenly had the scene from the correct perspective and was actually able to write something decent.  What a relief.  Now if I only had the time and energy to write everything that I want to write.  I have forced myself to refocus on book one otherwise it will never get done as I play with the other books.  I'm dying to get to 12 now that I have an outline, and 8 since it doesn't seem as daunting anymore.  Even 5 would be more fun.  Sadly, you sometimes have to start at the beginning.  I have the pieces of the puzzle, I just need to get my crayons out and color them to match the rest of the puzzle. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why Write Romance?

While most people wouldn't bat an eye lash over someone writing a paranormal novel given the popularity of scary monsters and sexy vampires in our culture, many of them will raise an eye brow, or two when you tell them that you are writing a romance novel.  I get many interesting responses when I decide to share my secret with people that I know.  The responses range from interest and questions, to, "oh, that's nice", while changing the subject.  Others just don't quite know what to say.  The funny thing is, we are all adults and it's obvious that they enjoy intimacy with their spouses, yet it's still considered risque to talk about.  I try to limit my conversations when people hear that I am writing a book series and keep it vague on purpose.  Wouldn't want to offend anyone.  That isn't certainly is the kind of person I'm writing for anyway.  I am writing for the people who need a little kick start in their day who, even if they have intimacy, may enjoy hearing from someone else about their different experiences with relationships.  I know I do.

I didn't start reading romance novels, or even books, until I decided to read Twilight.  Before that I was more of a movie person, despite being an English major and writing for fun in my spare time when I was younger.  I always like vampires, so don't think Twilight turned me on to the paranormal, I have always been interested in the strange stuff.  But once I read Twilight, I realized that I could read for enjoyment instead of the books that I hated reading for English classes.  Much like me telling my son to write about things that interest him and blowing his mind, this book showed me that I could care about a character I had never seen in a movie (obviously I read it before the movie came out) and could make a connection to.  Up to that point in my life I had read Shakespeare, which was interesting, and some other books that were okay, but the majority of them were classics like Paradise Lost, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Tom Sawyer, The Yearling, The House of the Seven Gables, 1985, Brave New World, and the like.  While I could relate to some of the Shakespeare characters, as a kid I had trouble relating to fawns, kids from Missouri painting fences, futuristic government controlled worlds, new civilizations, odd mind altering drugs in a supposed Utopian society vs savage worlds and a house that had seven gables (my English teacher that year, God rest her soul, was terrible at teaching House of the Seven Gables and combined two different characters into one...Malborne Holgrave...even after being told by my one friend who had read the book, that she was making a mistake...so I only remember that much about the book).  My mind was had always been dark and has always sought out disturbing and dangerous characters.  Kids from Missouri who paint fences may have been real trouble makers at the time, but are not what I would consider dangerous.  Being a goody two shoes my whole life and having suffered from some seriously disturbing life altering situations, I tended to seek out the darkness to appease the side of me that was angry and frustrated with my life since I couldn't change it.  I channeled all my rage into the evil side of the stories.  I cheered for Maleficent when she turned into a dragon.  I wanted Keifer's vampire to win.  I would have been chosen for Slytherin.  So I had trouble finding my niche when it came to stories.

When I found Edward Cullen and his sullen life, I became addicted to him.  In my head, I removed his in action and recreated him into someone who had the best of both worlds.  He could kill with his teeth, yet he still got the girl.  In many senses I made him my own, just like most of the world.  What I was surprised to find was that I enjoyed the intimate moments that he shared with Bella.  Because of his raw power and killing potential, he had to force back his dark side and make himself kinder for her.  In many ways, I felt the same way.  I had to curb my anger and hatred and become kinder if I wanted my relationships to work out.  It was because of Edward that I remembered what it was like to want intimacy.  I had been going through a hard time in my life and I forgotten how to connect to people because of my pain.  <3 were having trouble talking to each other and remembering why weren't close anymore.  Edward unlocked some of the feelings that I kept hidden like, desire and love and kindness and compassion.  When people are in turmoil, they seal off the parts of themselves that can be hurt, to save themselves, and only show people what will keep their enemies at bay.  We snarl and growl to keep people away and protect ourselves.  Edward showed me how defensive and cold I had become.  In short, Edward helped me remember my softer side.  Ironic that a vampire, the creature I had turn to when I was angry with the world, could help me open up and discover what I was holding back.

After Edward, I wanted to find other books that would help to chisel away the ice inside of me.  I needed something to restart the fire and passion within me that I had buried.  My outer shell was too tough for anyone to get through so I needed to crack through it myself to be able to reach out to people. They certainly weren't getting in, so I had to get out.  I went to Barnes and Nobles and wandered into the taboo Romance section and was embarrassed at first.  What if someone saw the me there, oh no?  I picked up a novel and took it home and read it.  While the genre wasn't right, the cover had mislead me, I did find a little of what I was looking for.  I got to read about an impossible relationship and how the characters were attracted to each other and compatible, yet had to overcome great adversity to be together.  That was exactly how I felt.  Once I found the right genre, I made the connection complete.  I read about vampires who's emotions were locked away since they were warriors and how they found someone who made them want to change.  I read about how they learned how to love someone and be intimate.  Ultimately it helped me on many levels.  I found my passionate side, which is always fun.  But I also learned to how to trust someone.  I had to learn that it was okay for me to give a part of myself to them for safe keeping.  I didn't have to keep this wall around me to protect myself, even though I was already sharing my life with someone.  It taught me to rely on someone else for emotional support.  It showed me that I don't have to be an island onto myself.  For the first I trusted someone enough to be intimate.  So I fell in love with the genre.

My heroine was locked in Hell for years and years before I allowed to her to return to the human world.  In Hell she had been miserable, wandering around lost and insecure.  She feared everything and never grew up.  After years of holding her hostage, I finally let her interact with people.  That's when she found her romance.  Orginally, I came up with different men for her to deal with and learn from.  Over time she developed relationships with them.  That's when my story started to write itself.  Granted, as I've said, the characters in my head for 16 years aren't exactly the characters that I'm writing now, but the characters now have more substance to them.  When I started envisioning the men in her life, it was because they were cute or friendly, but once I started writing them, they took on problems and issues of their own.  In writing about her getting through to her men, I realized that I am writing about people getting through my own wall.  I have been able to throw all of my pain and experiences into my characters so that they can hold onto the pain for me and I can breath again. 

So when I write about romance, it isn't just about the intimacy between the characters, it'ss more about how they got to that point and what is going on in the moment.  They are allowing themselves to trust someone for the first time.  They are finding out that it's okay to have love and be loved.  That no matter what they did up to this point, they still deserve to be happy.  Most romance novels have that message at its core.  Unfortunately most people can't see past the bedroom moments to dig deeper into the message leading up to and following the bedroom scene.  I have cried more at my romance novels than I have from any of the books I read in High School or College and I think that's a good thing.  If you cry, that means you are connecting to something, whether good or bad.  While I may have cried with the deer died, it wasn't as gut wrenching as having a hardened man who had endured years of abuse finally embrace someone and tell them that they love them.  It gets my every time because it gives me hope.  At least they could eat the deer to survive if they needed to.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Good vs. Evil

When you come up with characters, you have to decide on whether or not your character will be considered good or evil.  There are plenty of gray areas in between to play with, but usually a character has to fall on their side of the line.  What happens when you have a character that has traditionally known to be evil and has been portrayed as a fiend forever but turns out to be good?  Can they overcome the predisposed notions that people have of them?  People have been turning vampires and werewolves from the horror novel/movie bad guys into redeemable people, worthy of love and human relationships.  Audiences have been falling in love these reformed evil creatures and now adore them.  Yet, there are still plenty of evil vampires out there to give us a good scare and remind up to lock our doors and windows at night.

What happens when you take a character that had been predetermined to be good and turn them evil?  I have been dealing a lot with angels in my books, but they aren't the Heavenly creatures that save people from burning buildings.  These angels all once started out as good creatures, but over time have been influenced by humanity and their wicked free will.  Now the shiny beautiful creatures are tarnished and are choosing sides.  Will they stay with God?  Will they strike out on their own?  I am playing with the ideas of good characters being less than good and evil characters being less than evil.  I don't think good and evil are as cut and dry anymore.  Evil has become redeemable, but what about good?

Think about the night in shining armor that rescues the girl from the dragon and the action hero that kills the bad guys and gets to kiss the girl in the end.  Now what happens if the dragon was really the one who was trying to rescue the girl and the night in shining armor had ulterior motives and wasn't really trying to hurt the girl?  What if the bad guys that are killed by the action hero are the ones who were stalking our supposed hero because he was running an illegal drug ring and our bad guys were really vigilantes helping the girl?  The lines become blurred when you try and decide a character's motivation.  Some of them are doing what is considered evil but for the right reasons.  How is a girl to know who to believe?  It becomes a matter of perspective.  I think it's time for the girl to decide for herself who's motivations are true and who is trying to snow her.  If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.  Or maybe she should stop looking to her white knight to come along and get herself out of trouble.

While I'm trying to write a strong female character, I still want her to fall in love and care for people, but at the same time, I'm trying to teach her that black isn't necessarily evil and white isn't always good.  She has to evaluate each situation and decide for herself what is real.  I want her to forget about the preconceived notions of different creatures and look at what they are doing before deciding to trust them.  Maybe there shouldn't be good vs evil.  Maybe there should just be, open your eyes and ears and figure out what makes sense.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The End Game

I was trying to sleep last night and I was stressing about what to do with the last of my character books, book 12.  (Book 13 is a finale book with all of the characters joining together or maybe it will be the beginning of something new.  Who knows?)  I have decided which characters will be introduced in each book, even if I don't know all there is to know about them yet.  I have a basic character structure for my main people and have an idea about how they will act.  Of course they tend to surprise me once I start writing for them.  Anyway, during my sleeplessness I came up with the plot for book 12.  This one has been driving me nuts since it's a difficult premise to deal with.  Happily I found my muse for the main character in this book and it took off from there. 

I had been toying with the idea of having a human bad guy for this one.  My heroine has faced off against monsters, vampires, werewolves and all the traditionally scary things of the paranormal, but she hasn't had to battle someone who was still human and completely evil. At least not as a main bad guy. So I came up with a basic plot, which of course will change once I start writing it, but at least something is down in print.  As I was thinking about the scenario and what the villain was like, I started to hated to truly hate my villain.  I think I hate him more than any other bad guy so far. 

It's easy to dismiss evil when it comes in the form of a creature that was either created to be evil or is synonymous with being bad.  Kill a vampire or a werewolf in their truest monstrous form and no one will cry for them.  Shoot a zombie and people start to cheer.  Kill a human villain, that's tricky.  You stop and think, can they be redeemed?  Will people cry for the human?

Have a person who is living and breathing makes you stop and decide how to handle him.  Do you keep him alive because killing people is wrong?  Do you have him go through the justice system and roll the dice?  Given that this isn't a criminal justice book, I doubt they will have to go through jury selection for this guy.  Yet it isn't so cut and dry.  You kill the monster without thought, unless you think there is some good in them.  Do you kill off the human who is doing more harm than some of the monsters you've faced?  Tough question.  That is something that I will have to decide once I write the end of the book. 

In the end, I'm just grateful to finally have a strong enough story that I think will provide enough for me to write about and enough for people to be interested in.  Hopefully I can sleep better tonight, though I still have to deal with Book 9 and 10 and 11, so we shall see.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Name Game

Whenever you decide to sit down and write a story you have to come up with the plot and location and twists and exciting endings, but just as importantly you need to name your characters.  Finding a name for a character is liking picking out a style of clothing or a facial feature.  A person's name tends to define them.  For example, if you have a warrior, you can't name him Snowbell, unless it's an ironic nickname or a silly comedy.  You typicaly want a name that sounds powerful and unbeatable.  Snowbell won't exactly strike fear in the hearts of the enemy.

Having a large cast of characters is hard enough.  You have to consider their motivation, their expressions, their way of speaking and you need a name that people can remember and pronounce and works well with the identity that you have created.  Some people use family members or childhood friends as inspiration.  Other people use names that fit with a genre or cultural heritage of the characters.  You don't want an traditional Irish character to be name Boris.  It doesn't really fit.  Personally, I scroll through baby name lists for different countries.  I either look for a name that means something or I go for a certain sound.  I have to like the name if I'm going to type it a thousand times a day.  If I need a name from a specific period of time I will pull up lists of popular names from a year and a location.  The internet is a wonderful thing.  Once in a while a name will just pop into my head and I'm ready to go.  Those of course are the exception to the rule. 

In addition to naming characters, I also have to name groups of people.  It's like naming a high school basketball team.  Again, you want something that is easy to say, easy to put on a jersey and easy to paint on your face, but it must also characterize the team and the school and motivate the teams.  Having gone to a Catholic School, not really a shocker if you understand that my main characters are angels, I understand the importance of having a cool, kick butt team name.  Our school team mascott was a Seraph.  Have any idea what that is?  I didn't for the first year of school.  I was told that it is a 6 winged angel and high up in the ranks of angels.  I don't know if I was told or it was implied that they were tough.  Currently Wiki is blocking their content due to the government wanting to limit the information on the internet, so I can't give you the actual definition.  Regardless, angels don't strike fear in the hearts of the other high school teams especially since they were mostly public schools.  If the Catholic kids don't have a clue what their mascot is, it is unlikely that anyone else will either.  We faced off against the Lions, Eagles, Colts and the Admirals.  Somehow angels didn't seem to stand a chance against them, unless you are talking about some of the Fallen angels that I'm writing about, then that would have made our opponents cry for their mothers.  So when I am trying to name my groups of people I turn to the Google Translator.  I usually have a word or a phrase associated with my group and I try to find a cool sounding translation for that word.  For example, night is translated to Nacht in German.  Personally I think that sounds cooler.  Or you can go with Nott in old Norse.  (There is an accent over the o.)  Again, I like it.  In short, the Google Translator has saved my butt on more than one occassion and I swear by it. 

With all of my name experience, having created about 80 different character names, so far (I've just scratched the surface) and having to use a spreadsheet to keep them all straight, one would think that giving someone a name would be a breeze for me.  Well, apparently my mad naming skills have deserted me when it comes to one person in particular, my husband.  In a previous blog, I referred to him as "hubby" for the lack of a better word.  Forgive me, but I was trying to be cute.  He somehow took it as an insult.  He said he would rather be called something else, anything but hubby.  So I gave him is big chance to some up with his own nickname.  He shrugged and said he didn't care.  I asked if he prefered "jack wagon", which I saw on a commercial and it never fails to make me laugh.  He said would still be better.  So I have wracked my brain and I still haven't figured out what to call him.  I could be snide and come up with nasty ones, but I'll save those for "that time of the month" and try to pick something a little kinder.  In the meantime, I guess I will have to use a symbol when I refer to him.  <3 will have to do for now. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beginning at the End

This morning I was focused on Book 8 for some reason.  It started to work on one of the ending chapters even though I only have a rough outline for the beginning and middle of the book.  I guess I was worried about the big reveal with a new character and was as stressed as my heroine about how to go about it.  It was somehow worse than asking a guy to the prom.  How do you tell someone that you like, that likes you, a terrible secret that might send him screaming in the opposite direction?  I was actually nervous about how to explain to someone about Hell and angels and vampires and werewolves when this character had no idea any of them actually existed.  Up to that point the majority of my characters either knew about some or all of the above and it wasn't a complete shock to them.  Most of them had been swept up into the drama and learned about these things as the story progressed.  The good guy for Book 8 was isolated from all of the craziness and my heroine had to decide what to do.

I was afraid how my good guy was going to react to the bizarre world that surrounds my girl and even worse, felt guilty about doing it.  She had a choice.  She could leave him alone forever and let him think that the world was a safe boring place without evil creatures bent on destroying humanity or should she go to him and reveal everything.  I had to decide if she would take the high road and leave him alone or be selfish and bring him into her world.  I had to wonder what I would personally do.  Do you tell the guy you care about something bad or let him live a normal life without you?  Sadly I think most of us would be selfish enough to tell him the truth.

The ending for Book 8 plays directly into Book 9 so I need a big close.  Book 8 & 9 together show my heroine how far she has come on her journey.  She realizes how commonplace all the things in her life have become even though they are far from common.  These stories become a test for her.  How far has she gone down the rabbit hole?  How much as she changed?  Does she like the person that she has become?  It's hard to look back on your life from when you were a child through to present day.  We have to examine all the things that have made us who we are. It begs the question, can we ever go home again?  Have we changed so much that we don't recognize who we once were and worse, will the people that we knew growing up even like the person we have become. That's what my character has to ultimately decide in Book 9.  Will the person she is now be worthy of someone who knew her before she changed?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Taking a Day Off

Yesterday I didn't write for various reasons, cleaning the house took the priority, yet I always feel guilty for not sitting down and a least reviewing what I've written so that it feels like I accomplished something.  Even though I never typed a word I came up with a battle scene for Book 3 and a grander scheme for book 5.  I always find inspiration at weird times.  I get my best ideas while driving or spending time alone in the bathroom.  On my way to the supermarket I had a whole conversation between my heroine and one of her bad bodys for Book 5.  It was nice getting out for an hour but it actually accomplished something in addition to the intended task.  For the first time I got a feeling for the main characters in 5.  I've putting off thinking about them because I'm having trouble with their motitivation.  Suddendy I'm pulling into the driveway and come up with a whole conversation.  Granted I didn't write it down because I have a feeling it will change once I think about it some more, but it was a start.  I wasn't sure if I was going to like my bad boy in 5 but as he started speaking I realized he isn't as dark and distant as I once envisioned him.  When he found his voice he was more endearing than I had thought.   I guess there is hope for Book 5 after all.

Today I came up with an awesome ending for Book 4, even though I only have a few chapters written.  I have the concept and characters, but haven't devoted much time to it yet.  Book 3 has been gnawing away at me so I am focused there for now.  I was surprised at my ending since I never thought I would go there with one of my favorite characters, but it will flow into Book 5 and allow Book 5 to be even more dramatic.  I love when things work themselves out.  I'm still surprised by the way my brain knits all of these things together without even trying.  I'm hoping that it's proof that I have something good on my hands.

So far the hubby likes what I've read him from Book 1.  The one chapter was admittedly a first draft and not as focused as the rest, but that's the point of a first draft.  I have at least two more chapters to write before I can read the next solid chapter that was written.  I guess I'm going to have to write faster if I ever want him read him what's going on in Book 3.

While I'm upset with myself for not sitting down and working I'm glad that I took the time to take care of things away from the computer, otherwise I would still be mired in my depression over the lack of understanding in Book 5.  While I have the concept it was written in black crayon and was a giant mess.  Now at least I was able to add a few colors to the mess and make a few straight lines instead of swirls.  The foundation is coming into view.  I guess I just need to make a few more Dorito runs before all the lines are straight enough to build on.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Skipping Around

Okay, so most people probably sit down and decide what they are going to write.  They decide on a plot and characters and tell the story in their heads.  Well here's my problem, I've had this story in my head for over 20 years.  The characters have evolved, which is nice and my storyline has expanded, great.  Now I have just to pick what I want to write about.  Sounds easy right, well not so much.  I am very emotional about all of my characters and sometimes they pop their heads out depending on my mood or what my brain is doing that day.  So sitting down to write one book about all of these adventures would be impossible.  Instead I decided on a series, great.  It gives me more room to introduce these characters and expand my landscape.  The problem comes when I sit down to write the first book, because most people start at the beginning.  It sounds logical enough, until one of the other characters demands attention.  Since I'm trying to create a cohesive environment, sometimes I have to know what's coming down the road because it may effect earlier books.  It's foreshadowing wonderful? When I start planning what may happen down the road, I suddenly get a great idea or a whole conversation magically happens and the next thing I know, I'm working on book 8 when book 1 only has 2 chapters done.  Hard to publish a book when you can't finish writing book 1 or 2 or 3 because 7 has reared its ugly head and start you obsessing. 

The issue other I've run into is when I need a group of characters in later books, so it's mentioned earlier for a setup.  Then I start thinking about this new group and one of them is louder than the rest and I have to capture that character and start putting together their scenes.  For example, I have a warrior that I knew would exist but in my head really didn't have much of a personality.  He was called in when the heavy ammo was needed or I needed a scare tactic to make a point.  The second I decided where to put him, in the middle of the series as it turns out, he suddenly grows from a guy with a sword to a complicated character and his entrance into my world changed.  I never really had a huge affinity toward him before, but now I think he's a pretty great guy.  He's more of a minor character compared to the others, but the kind of guy you could fall for or at least count on as a friend. 

I now sit here with a 13 book series, for the time being.  I have a feeling it will eventually expand, I can almost see 14 in the distance...it was supposed to be 12 but I needed a good showdown.  I have different parts written for 1, which is the most difficult since it's the setup for the whole show.  It's also frustrating because I don't have all the fun and exciting characters that have made the series addicting to envision.

My husband asks me all the time what I wrote and I say that I did something in book 2 or 8 and he thinks I'm crazy.  He doesn't understand the complexity because I haven't even told him the whole premise yet.  Granted it would take a really long time explain everything, but he is content with finding out as he goes.  He hates having the ending spoiled for him when watching a movie or reading a book.  Unfortunately I'm basically on my own since I can only tell him up to Chapter 4 of Book 1 since there are missing chapters but the middle section is being worked on and I have some of the ending.  I also can't tell him about Book 2 because I have the middle and the 3/4 mark written.  So here is the rundown:

Book 1:  Beginning done, middle bumpy but I have a better understanding, a few good chapters, and notes for the rest, though I have a pretty good idea of the layout.

Book 2:  Intro is kickin, mumble, mumble, mumble, few good chapters midway, a few good chapters beyond that, know what the ending will be.

Book 3 is the furthest along but needs rewrites on the later chapters.  I have been working on it for the last 3 days. 

Book 4 has 2 good scenes done.

Don't even ask about Book 5.  I came up with a few things today. 

Book 6 has a few good chapters.  I'm in love with one of the characters, so I typically write him and decide what the rest will be.

Book 7 so far is my Empire Strikes Back.  I have cried more times while writing different sections.  This was supposed to be a novella but has become a full blown tear jerker.  It will end on a downer, that much I do know.

Book 8 was empty until I tried to go to sleep one night and envisioned the whole thing start to finish, with room for expansion.  I actually got out of bed and wrote quick notes on each section.  That was a relief since I had no idea what to do.

Book 9 another tear jerker.  This one was a surprise to me.  Because I'm writing them all at the same time and because I thought about how the characters would be introduced, it changed my whole first book in so many delightful ways.  It made things deeper and allowed for a more explosive Book 9.  Bonus:  Book 8 accidental worked in my favor and allows me to slide into Book 9 when I thought I would have a rough transition.  Go me!  My brain was on fire that night.

Book 10 I have the concept and nothing else written.

Book 12 will be tough.  I think I need to explore more of the beginning before I can handle this one.  I also changed my muse for the main character, so that should help.

Book 13 I have a pretty good opening going.

Now I have to find the time to allow everything to come out and put it together like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why Would I Bother Writing?

I am not surprised to find out that not everyone in the world likes to write.  Personally I have never really understood that.  I have been writing short shorties and silly things since grade school.  High school, though, was when it really became an obsession.  I had a concept for a book and I wrote it about high school kids from a high schooler's perspective.  I did manage to finish it at one point, though it took longer than needed because time would pass I would gain more knowledge and wisdom and emotions.  I would finish something then go back to it and try to evolve it so that it matched my age and interests.  I ripped it apart and tried again college.  I knew the characters, but I had to make them grow up and become more mature, changing them time and again.  Finally I stopped.  I had come to a point where I would never finish because I realized I would never stop growing and learning.  It was an endless pursuit.

Flash forward to the present.  I'm now married, have 2 kids, 2 dogs, a house, a car as well as old therapy bills and enough trauma from living past the rip old age of 18.  I have enough scars now to be able to sit down and pour myself into my writing.  I've laughed with friends, I've cried with my husband, I've guided my children, I've learned to stand up for myself and I've decided who I want to be.  I feel like I have enough steps on the pathway, though I know I have many more steps to go.  I'm finally at a point where I am secure enough in my thoughts and opinions to not have to write and rewrite to evolve my characters beyond infancy.  They too can start from the steps that I'm on.  Granted they will still grow and change but they won't start of in diapers and be rewritten 10 times until they have beards.

The concept of this book came to me when I was 15.  I was in a dark place and had many dark thoughts.  I have a lot in common with my heroine and I'm finally able to write it from a place of survival.  While she still has a long journey ahead of her, I have gotten past a lot of my horror.  I feel for her, which is why I need to drag her through the mud so that she can finally say she survived it too.

I had written a story that involved my concept and my heroine but I was too bogged down in details for the look and feel of the main location.  I also didn't know what was going to happen to her in the end.  I honestly haven't even read through it in decades, but have vague recollections.  I needed to start fresh and give her a purpose this time.  I told myself that I didn't have to get caught up in so much unneeded detail.  I had to be able to move the story along.  I always had the paranormal aspect of the story, but didn't even know about the romance part of it.  Not until I learned about romance.

I had left my heroine rotting for years, almost 16 years, until I dug her back up and decided that she needed to be around people again, instead of her prison, both literally and metaphorically speaking.  She was in a prison.  She had been a coping mechanism in my youth, so she had stayed locked away.  Once I let her interact with people, or more specifically men, that's when she took off.  So for the last 7 years or so I have allowed her to develop in my mind.  Whenever I was bored and needed a break from life, I would try and figure out what she was doing.  Overtime I gave her a back story and more people to interact with and before I knew it, I had a concept worth writing about.

Now putting words on a paper, or typing them, it easy enough.  The scary part is accepting that you are actually committing to someday having people read it.  I hated showing anyone my writing since I thought they would lock me up.  Teenagers shouldn't be envisioning Hell.  They have special medications for that.  So before I even wrote a single, new, word down, I had to get a general consensus from my family and friends.  Was I nuts to think I could do this?  Would I be condemned?  Would anyone be willing to read it?  I wasn't sure of the answers.

I asked my husband if he thought I should do it.  He responded with, "I'm surprised that you haven't already."  Check that box.  I asked a few friends who may have internally thought I was crazy, but were positive and encouraging.  Next box checked. Then the biggest test was my mother.  Everyone has mother issues, there wouldn't be therapists if they didn't.  She had read my original writings and never seemed to understand what I had written or support it.  I figured she would be the test that counted, after all, we all care about what our mothers think about us, even if we scream to the world that we don't really care.  Secretly, we do.  In my mother's typical short answer style she said, without any surprise in her voice, "Well that's what you were meant to do.  You were meant to be a writer."  Holy crap.  Positive feedback from my toughest critic.  Even if she never reads the books, I know that she will tell people that her daughter writes books.  Even if I never publish a word, she will still believe in me.  Wow.  I still get choked up about it.  Final test passed.

iPad.  I try really hard to remember what had happened and get it down the next day.  Sometimes it's better than what I thought up other times I'm mad I couldn't just Tivo my brain and work it out from there.

Sitting as my desk and coming up with these amazing characters and conversations has been a joy to me, but apparently from the perspective of my son, it seems boring.  He doesn't understand how I could sit here for hours typing away.  Too much work for him.  Though he has decided to write his own stories, something you would've had to tie him to the desk and glue a pen to his hand to accomplish prior to this.  He writes about the puppy that we got and the misadventures of his demon dog.  He still thought that I was crazy.  While he's not allowed to read my stories,but I told him about a character that I had created and how creepy and gross it was.  He's into monsters and mild horror like Goosebumps and adventures like Percy Jackson.  I explained how difficult it was to kill this thing.  He proceeded to come up with ways that he would kill it, should it ever cross his path.  I gave him a star for originality and may actually use his idea as a side note from one of the characters fighting it, should he ever come across one again. 

My son started asking me what else I had come up with.  I told him about the other characters and monsters and he was fascinated.  He kept asking questions and trying to come up with solutions.  He wants to kill one of my unkillable creatures and is insisting that it dies.  I'm resisting him but I may have to give in eventually.  Half way through our monster expo he looked at me and said, "I had no idea that you could come up with stuff like this.  I saw you sitting and staring at the screen and typing away and thought that you must be really bored doing what your doing.  I had no idea that it could be this fun."  I was surprised.  I felt that even if this project doesn't take off for one reason or another, at the bare minimum, I have shown my son that writing doesn't have to be tedious and boring. It can be whatever you have an interest in and whatever your mind can create.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Today It Begins

Well, today were are gearing up our social media aspect of this project.  We're working on our Facebook and Twitter sites as well as this blog.  I'm hoping to get everyone is excited about this new series since this has been a dream of mine that has been a long time coming.  Check in and see how this series progresses and even be apart of some of the decisions. 

You will be able to learn about the series, about me and how I have come up with the stories, creatures and motivations that drive the whole thing.  Currently this is a 13 book series with the intention of expanding it beyond that, provided there are enough people who are dying to get their hands on the next book.  I certainly am ready to give more of myself to these books than I have with any of my other writings.  I want you to fall in love with these characters as obsessively as I have. 

Welcome to my world!  It will definitely be dark, emotional and thrilling.

Welcome to the official Tabitha Barret blog!

This blog will contain thoughts, insights, information and updates on the works of supernatural romance novelist Tabitha Barret.