Thursday, June 27, 2013

What Kind of Love Story?

Write what you know. Isn’t that a popular saying in almost any writing class you can take? If writers only wrote about things they knew what a dull place fiction would be! I decided to take another pundit’s advice instead: write the story you would want to read. It may be wishful thinking. It may be unmarketable but some things just keep coming out at the end of my fingertips.

1.     The love story doesn't end at the altar. All right some of them do but some of them actually start there. And I fully believe some of the best love stories grow from there.

2.     Attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder.

3.     Geeks can be attractive. . .and sexy. Do you think they are all alike in both form and function? You haven’t met the geeks I have! 

4.     Women over 40 can be sexy, too. Do I really have to address this?

5.     Everyone has family! Stories may be easier to write for orphans or near-orphans but really!

6.     Parents do have love lives. If you're a parent, you understand this.

7.     Sex can be funny. I mean come on! Think about it.

8.     Men are often more romantic then they are given credit for. One of the advantages of being older is by this point is I've actually witnessed this over and over again. I don't have sisters, daughters, or nieces; I have brothers, sons, and nephews.

9.     Love at first sight does happen. Hey, this is romantic fiction after all. And, I am sometimes struck by the number of times I've heard a man say, "Yes, I knew the moment I saw her I was going to marry her (or something similar)."  Women have said it, too.

10.  A love story isn't always a romance but it is always a love story. I have a couple of projects on my writing list which fit that description.

These aren't all the little ideas or rules that make their way into my stories and I can't say they all make their way into  every story. Some do and some don't. They're just the ones I've become aware of over time.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Looking over the last six months: an updated writing list

It's been six months now since I wrote my "writing" list. I thought it might be time to refresh it and look at what I've accomplished plus what I still have to do.

Writing projects (as of  June 2013)
StClare Chronicles (all are "working" titles)

In chronological order:

 "Evelyn and Alexander"- This is still simply an idea, back burner material and I'm not completely sure of it. It's going to take a great deal of historical research about a time I know very, very little about.

"Summer Heat"-  This is the same place "Snow" was not too long ago. It has been started and my organizationally challenged brain sometimes swerves to it when I'm working on "Snow".

"Rain" - The rough draft is completed and I'm letting it "set" for a bit before I start revision. I've actually pitched it (albeit not well) to an agent. Currently my plans for it are simple.

  • Do a revision which satisfies me.
  • Write a query letter and send it out into the great publishing beyond.
  • Keep sending it out until I at least have the rough drafts of "Snow" and "Summer Heat" completed or someone in that great publishing beyond shows some workable interest. All right, the rough draft of "Snow" at least.  

"Snow"- The current work in progress (WIP), of course. I started it out thinking it was strictly a romance but, as happens, that simply isn't possible. Once past the third or fourth chapter of the rough draft I realized there was more to the story than simply romance. Research, again! But I want the rough draft completed by the end of the summer. Now whether Aaron and Desiree will cooperate with my ambition I'm not entirely sure but I'm hopeful. More than likely I will end up taking it completely out of this category.

"Couples and Pairs"- I've started this one already, too. It seems to be habit of mine---start something then go back to it later. When I  get an idea I hate not recording it somehow and just writing the first few scenes is my favorite modus operandi.

"Breaking Precedent"- This short story is complete and I have no issues with it but since I am not going to submit or publish it I think I will leave it off the public list next time.
"Fatherhood"- This story has also already been started and is begging to be finished. Eric will have to wait. I understand---I really do but he's very young for my usual male protagonist/hero. But I like him very much; I think he'll manage.
"Scenes from a Wedding"--- Nope, I haven't started this one except in my imagination but it is very clear there: setting, characters, dialogue. I don't want to go any further with it right now.

Fairy Tales

"Dani's Song" (subtitled: "The Veiled Queen")- Ah, I'm a little disappointed. Things haven't progressed the way I optimistically wanted. My illustrator has been overwhelmed with family responsibility. I would like so much to get it up in e-form and out in the world.

"Dragon in the Snow"- Until I get "Dani's Song" out in the world my very first dragon story will have to sit on the back burner.

Other Projects

"Familiar Strangers"- I'm six chapters in, a lot of 'snippets' written, and the final chapter done but it will probably be next year before I get it into rough draft form.  

"Taste of a Man"- Would you believe, except for one or two chapters, the rough draft is complete? I couldn't either until I looked at it recently. But there it was.  I hadn't realized.

"Troika"- Another six chapters in and more 'snippets' written. I just haven't made up my mind if I'm doing a series with "Taste of a Man" where "Troika" is the final book or if "Troika" is a stand-alone or both.
Future Ideas

While I did include this section on my original list I've decided not to include it this time. Perhaps another posting? I certainly don't need more characters nagging me to start their stories. I have enough  work right now to keep me busy for a couple of years.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Bad Poetry? Of course, it is!

A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits.
Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, 1978

I have found the quote by Heinlein I mentioned so many posts ago. I'm glad I remembered it correctly enough to google it.
I don't know if Mr. Heinlein liked poetry or not. Well, not beyond the odd limerick and the songs of Rhysling, the Blind Singer of the Spaceways from The Green Hills of Earth. And I think he liked Kipling. But beyond that I'm not entirely sure. I will leave it to more scholarly Heinlein students to answer that question but I don't think he liked many and the quote states that clearly to me.
I haven't been reading my verse in public but I've certainly been publishing it for all the world to see here.  I've never seen a study or made a survey but I can't help but draw the conclusion that a poet either considers their work to be very good or very bad. Yes, I consider mine bad poetry. Very rarely do I consider it good at all. Sometimes I think a particular poem approaches what I consider "acceptable" but that's about it. This isn't false modesty. To me it is simple fact.

Poetry is an emotionally dense medium to me. I love reading it but can only manage a couple of poems at a time then I must put it down and digest. If the poem is extremely dense I may put down after a few lines. My own poems are not as dense to me, which may be a matter of personal perception. On rare occasion they capture the moment and the emotions. I just keep trying. I have no ambition whatsoever to be a true "published" poet. Sometimes there will be one written especially for a friend who seems to enjoy it but that is as high as I wish to go.

One could, I suppose, study poetry, take classes, and 'bleed' on the paper (or screen) but that is so 'not me'. They are simply bits and pieces of my heart, however inadequate they may be. My heart sings and I, the musically inept, try to put it down on paper. So, to me, it's "bad" poetry---always "bad" poetry. If it happens to touch one person in any fashion whatsoever I smile and say "thank you". That is enough for me.

So, if you happen to like the poetry that appears here, thank you. And if you don't, that is perfectly alright. It really is. I will try not inflict too much on you. I do understand. It is bad poetry.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Excerpt from "Rain": Prologue

I've stalled out a bit on Snow.  I realized as I wrote (since I seem to be a total 'pantzer'--i.e. someone who writes by the seat of their pants rather than outline a story) there was more to the major subplot than I had information. So I will be off to the library and the local courthouse for research over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully I will be able to keep myself from chasing red herrings. It's a risk. I could write Snow strictly as a love story but I don't think it would be the story it could be. Love comes in so many forms.

But I said in an earlier post I would publish an excerpt soon. I would publish another one from Snow but I want to finish the research first. So I have chosen an excerpt from Rain. Actually what I've chosen is the very beginning.