Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Kiss Scene that Would Not Die

I was going through some discarded scenes the other night when I came across a file entitled, "The ___ Kiss Scene that Would Not Die." (substitute character's name for blank.) I opened it with a smile and gave it a read.

I didn't actually discard this scene. I have not even used it yet. When I wrote it, I didn't have a place for it because I had not reached that point in the story. I wrote it prematurely because the scene would not leave me alone. It would not let me write anything else until I got it down.

I encountered a similar situation for the second book in my epic fantasy trilogy, which is called Honing a Myth. I had some scenes in mind for an interaction between Abriel and Leordis, the barbarian king. I just HAD to get it down. I call these scenes pilot scenes, because they give me direction on where to go with a character. I may never use them.

However, I AM going to use the kiss scene. I love that scene.

It amuses me because I originally invented the character--I'll call him Jones--as a sort of a creep. He was almost a villainous ally. Well, he refused to take that role. He muscled his way into a much more prominent role. When I was writing one scene where Tory muses on the men in her life, I realized, when Jones leaped to the forefront of my mind, that he would leap into Tory's mind as well. I decided to let him do what he wanted. What emerged is what I think my best love story yet.

Jones is not a handsome man. I describe him here:
He was short, only a few inches taller than me, which would put him at about five feet seven. As if to make up for it, he was as wide as two men, bulky with muscle. He wore a common man's suit. Since our mission would take us to the manufacturing quarter, he would have to blend in. I didn't think he would have any trouble. He had an unremarkable face; bland and rather round, with sandy brown hair. He hardly glanced at me when we met. I curtseyed and his answering bow came across as awkward.
Here he is again here:
I had never seen him dressed in such a way before. He appeared as five feet, seven inches of solid muscle. He walked like a gorilla that I had seen in a menagerie once.
Not very appealing, eh? But now look at him, here, in an excerpt from the kiss scene.

As I watched him sleep, I wondered why I had ever thought of his features as unremarkable. Now I realized that he was quite possibly the most attractive male that I had ever laid eyes upon. I felt as if I had discovered a delightful secret, an elusive magical quality about him that only I could see.

And I realized that looking on the sleeping object of your attraction is very dangerous for your heart.

I realize it needs work. For example, how is he the most attractive male? I think it needs some specifics. This is a first draft.

What I'm trying to do with him is gradually increase his appeal, the way we gradually become more attracted to someone the more we fall in love with them.

What do you think?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Writing Goals for the Week

Inspired by April, here are some modest writing goals for the week:
  • Finish my polish on my short story, Spin, and find my top-choice market to submit it to.
  • Write two author interviews for Fantasy Debut.
  • Work some more on Starcaster.
I'm keeping the final goal as a reward goal. I also have daily posts planned for Fantasy Debut, because there are five debuts to announce this week. But they only take about 20 minutes to write, tops.

Incidentally, if I might be indulged in a bit of a brag, my Technorati authority for Fantasy Debut is now over 100. I get about 2300 visits a month there and while it is thrilling, it's a bit daunting as well. Editors check out what I have to say as well as writers and readers. So it's more like writing for a magazine than writing an informal blog. Good writing experience, I would say.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

4,700 Words!

My breakthrough from this morning resulted in a writing flood of 4,700 words! Do you have any idea how rare that is? Usually, I write that much in about a week! However, my daughter was unusually placid today, and I had much more time to write than usual. Oh, and I was able to re-include about 700 words that had previously been cut. (Never delete anything that you cut--that's my adage.) The changes are all fitting together so nicely, but of course it now requires that I reread and re-edit the entire thing.

I'm now over 80,000 words. I after going through it a time or two and retooling the ending, the finished novel will be about 90,000 words.

Breakthrough!

I think I finally came up with a way to work out a Starcaster plot tangle that has been plaguing me since the middle of January. What I wanted was a romance that doesn't work out. However, it was important to me that neither party be guilty. They both have compelling reasons to agree that it is over, but I didn't want either to come across looking bad.

In the "before" scenario, Tory had been compelled to betray Sam as part of one of her missions. Therefore, there is a trust issue between them. However, I couldn't pull this off without making Sam look sullen. This is not in keeping with his character. I want him to be a great guy with lots of "it could have been" potential.

In the scenario that I just worked out, I changed a lot of stuff. I realized that I needed to take the focus off of Sam for the history between them. Therefore, I brought Sam's older brother into the mix, and he is a true villain. I didn't want him to be a younger brother, because then it would just seem like he was "misguided." I also found a way to bring one of Tory's leading men into the scene. Also, I'll be able to give the reader background information without infodumps.

And once again, I can't wait to write. I probably wrote two or three thousand words of stuff over the last month and a half that I'll have to throw away, but that's what you get when you try to force your muse.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Case of the Missing Post

If you think a post is missing, you are correct. I deleted it. It was way too negative for me to want to keep online. Thanks to those of you who commented on it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Busy Writing

When I'm not posting here, you can bet your bippy that I'm writing. I've been feverishly writing a short story--which I usually don't do. However, I'm quite excited about this one. It's called "Spin" and it's derived from the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. It has inspired other fairy-tale based stories. So far I have ideas for Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and The Little Mermaid. Can you tell I have a little girl? However, these are not children's stories.

I think I've finally learned how to write a short story. "Spin" has had some very positive feedback from my critique group. I'm thrilled!

I've updated my Forging a Legend website with the excerpt that I sent to the novel contest in January. Someone sent me an email from the site, pointing out some possible problems with my old excerpt, so I figured I'd better get my tush in gear and update my website. Therefore, I have done so.

Now I need to visit some of my blog buddies.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Why I Love to Write

I had a weak moment the other evening. It went something like this:

Why do you keep doing this, Tia? Why don't you shut off the computer and stop trying so hard?

The answer to myself was:

What else would I be doing?

Well, there's all sorts of other things I could be doing. I'm never one to be bored. But my weak moment only lasted about thirty seconds. Why? Because my answer to myself was, This is my leisure time activity. It's better than watching TV.

And it is. If it pays one day, great. If not, I'll self publish about 20 copies and distribute it to my family. Maybe one day, one of my descendants will enjoy it. Maybe they'll even enjoy it before I die.

Why do I write? I'm 42 years old. I've been doing this for about 20 years now (late bloomer). Here is why I love to write.
  • I have stories to tell. Role-playing games help me get some of these stories off my chest. I always have an audience for my novels because my husband reads every novel I write (except the first one, which I didn't inflict on him). I suspect when I'm old, I'll be telling stories to the other old folk in the old folk home.
  • I can be whoever I want. When I'm behind the eyeballs of my characters, I can cast off my Tia-skin and wear someone else's. I can be a black girl. I can be a kick-ass warrior. I can be a sneaky thief. I can be a mystery-solving slave. I can be a god. I can be a movie star. I can be a virtuoso violinist. I can be a twelve year old girl.
  • I can fall in love again. And again. And again. Romance does not play a heavy part in my novels (except one), but it's always there. Everyone loves a love story. When they made the movie Top Gun, they realized that something was missing. A love story. So they wrote one in. I always think something is missing from novels if there is not at least a small love story. (Notice I'm not using the word Romance, which I think is different.)
  • I can be a man. I have no desire to be a man in real life, but I simply love writing about one from a tight third person point-of-view. I always run it by my husband for a reality check. I think my background in Air Force flight shacks listening to men talk helps me out here.
  • I can be 20 again. Or 30. Or 40. I don't know if I would be comfortable writing about an age much older than my actual age, but I can handle any age up to this point.
  • I can go to space. I can go back in time. I can go forward in time. I can go to heaven or hell, or somewhere else, entirely.
  • I can die without dying in person. Who knows what death is really like? But I can guess in my novels.
You get the idea. Why do you write?