Sunday, April 27, 2008

Writing life

A week ago I was writing an erotic thriller and sticking my butt to the chair and my fingers to the keyboard for the requisite hours a day needed to make progress. When the swamp monster, that passes for my muse, burbled up a story concept.

I recognized it instantly as the response to a request I’d sent down a month earlier, prior to getting into the erotic thriller. Bad timing, but what can be done about that? The swamp creature pays no attention to calendar or clocks.

Naturally, I did the sensible thing. Taking a half hour out of my precious writing time, typing up the concept, and then tucking it firmly into a story idea folder. But the story line wouldn’t leave my mind. As I returned to the erotic thriller and tried to conjure up the next bits of action or dialogue to move the story forward, the new characters talked over the current cast.

I fought it for a day and then gave in, setting aside the thriller to commence on the new story. It’s times like this that I think it’s a darn good thing I don’t sell on proposal. Though, I know myself--if I had contracted to complete a story I would do so. What does bother me is the growing list of stories that need something--either deep revision or completing. Some are partials, others concepts, still others completed manuscripts, which need a stern editing pass to polish them into compelling tales.

Not long ago, I browsed a prolific author’s page and was stunned by the list of WIP’s down the side. If I were more organized this blog could sport a nice little sidebar list of its own. Aside from the time consuming nature of template modifications, I think the entire list might discourage me. Especially, when I calculate the amount of time needed to actually accomplish all of these projects.

Ignoring the backlog of stories that need work and excited about the new story, I babbled on to my brilliant and insightful CP about the concept, which has in one week bloomed into a nice partial of a futuristic erotic novella.

“You’ve got enough plot for freakin’ four hundred page novel, and then you’ll have left half of the story off the actual pages,” she said--no doubt tired of giving me the same advice.

I squirmed and excused myself with the necessity of some world building. “Send me what you’ve got and I’ll see if there’s enough romance in it,” she offered, cutting right through the smoke screen with her sure knowledge of my weaknesses.

More squirming on my end of the conversation, knowing there’s no romance in it at all. Twenty some pages into a seventy page project, and the whole thing is world building and setup. Entertaining for me, perhaps even important, but it wouldn’t work for a reader--especially not in a novella format. There are days when I wonder why I try to write romance. But then I remember that I love a challenge and that nothing worthwhile comes easy.


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