Tag Archives: romance

Why Does This Keep Happening?

So, what do we want to talk about today? Politics or writing? How about the fact that no matter how hard I try to write a nice, PG-rated story, somehow everything turns into a creepy horror-fest.

Is there something wrong with my brain? Have I got some strange kind of disorder that wants to color everything with Crayons from the Dark Side? Or have I just been watching too many zombie movies? (Is there such a thing as too much zombies?)

I do try to keep things from circling down the abattoir to Hell, but it isn’t easy. Take my last story, for example.

It started as a chase, with two people running from a group of soldiers. They came to a field, one where the hero apparently had some prior experience. He led the soldiers into the field, despite the fact that he knew he was in almost as much danger as they were. But he got lucky. He wasn’t eaten alive by the intelligent, land-based piranha people who lived there. Instead, their leader talked to him and somehow it turned into an impromptu wedding to the girl who was with him.

I’m still not quite sure how I turned a horror story into a romance, and it may not really work the way it is, but I’m counting that as a win for the side of goodness and light.

I don’t know what it’s going to take for me to write something that doesn’t require parental supervision to read. Maybe I need to be more careful about plotting out my story. Maybe I need to start watching and reading more romances. Or maybe I need to start hanging around with kids (come here little girl, I’ve got candy!).

Maybe not.

Maybe all I need to do is embrace my dark side and see if I can become the next Stephen King. Because if there’s one thing I have learned in my forty-plus years on this planet, it’s that life is hard and darkness is everywhere.

Depressing thoughts for a Sunday morning. I’ll see if I can do better on Wednesday. Wish me luck on my story for this week! (I wonder what it will be…)

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Filed under The Writing Experience

Filling in the Middle

I’m at the point in my story where things are slowing down. The middle of a book can be the hardest part to write. You have to keep the reader’s attention and move the story along, but you also have to be careful not to blow the ending prematurely.

Despite my issues with false starts and self-doubts about the path I have chosen in the beginning, overall it was pretty easy. I knew where my characters needed to be in order to get their super powers, as well as being introduced to the serial killer. But now I’m past that, and I have to fill in all the things that they need to do and experience before they can catch the villain.

My little group of kids has discovered their powers, so now I need them to learn how to use them. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do this. Probably with a mix of scenes involving other kids in the camp. Some of the situations may be set up by the bad guy as he tries to kill them without giving himself away. In case you are interested, here are the powers I have chosen for the kids:

  • Carter (boy with a temper): strength, invulnerability, water breathing
  • Andy (borderline sociopath): intelligence, prophecy, energy blasts
  • Cailin (kleptomaniac girl): telekinesis, agility/reflexes, speed
  • Lisa (girl with reputation as a slut): shapeshifter, regeneration, telepathy

The villain has powers too. They are: memory manipulation, illusion (including invisibility), energy drain

I decided each of them should have three powers. No real reason why, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I may adjust this as I write. So far, the powers that have been revealed are Carter’s strength, Cailin’s telekinesis and speed, Andy’s intelligence, Lisa’s regeneration, and the killer’s illusions. I may change Cailin’s reflexes, because her speed power would cover that as well, and I don’t want a duplication. The memory manipulation may also go, just because that would make it too easy for the killer to get away with murder, and too hard for the kids to keep up with him if he keeps wiping their brains.

So now I need to present these powers in a way that lets the kids learn how to use them without revealing themselves as freaks to the rest of the camp. At least, not until the end. The killer will also need to find out about their powers at some point, so he can plan something that would let him take them out despite their advantages.

As far as the powers go, I also think that I may have pushed them too hard, too fast. I gave away too much, too soon, and now I think in my editing phase I will want to pull them back and only hint at their powers in that scene. That will let me reveal them in their full strength later on, and make it more of a slow buildup. That should give the story a little more tension. And tension is good!

The other thing that I am struggling with is the personality of the kids. When I started plotting it out, I thought it would be best if they were ten or eleven years old. During the outlining process, I changed that to thirteen and fourteen. But now as I write it, they seem to me to be more like fifteen or sixteen. This is being shown by the budding romances between the kids. I didn’t intend to have much in the way of romantic developments here, but it seems to be coming out anyway, especially between Andy and Lisa. I’m not sure what to do about this. Should I just let it go and let the story be what it wants to be, or should I nip it in the bud and tell them to cool their jets?

On a positive note, I have over 18,000 words now, and should have no problem hitting 20,000 by the end of the month. I have been posting my daily totals on the Word Count image on the side of my blog, so you can see for yourself where I am on any given day. I’m still not sure what the end total will be, but I am still hoping to finish the book at around 60,000 words by the end of September.

I hope everybody else is keeping their word count up! See you in a few days!

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Filed under ROW80, The Writing Experience

July 21 – Writing What You Know

Okay, so this post is actually being written on July 22. I was busy yesterday and forgot all about it until this morning. But I’ll post it as a Thursday post so the archive looks nice. Call it author’s privilege, or creative license, or whatever you want.

Anyway, today I thought I would talk about writing what you know. That’s some writing advice you are practically guaranteed to hear, but there isn’t a lot of agreement on what it really means. So here’s my take on the subject.

Every person has their own experiences that form a basis for who they are. In my case, I am (currently) a forty-plus white male living in Wisconsin. I’ve had many different jobs in the past, including working as a shop clerk, in a restaurant, in construction, on a farm, and as a public servant. I’ve been married twice and divorced once. I have lived on the east coast and the west coast, but lived most of my life in the middle. I have three brothers and one sister, and I have five sons myself. All these things (and more) define me. They make me who I am and guide me in my every day decisions.

So how do I use this to write about Valkyries and demon invasions? In what way does this help me tell a story about a woman who is impregnated by the spirit of a dragon in Florida? The answer is that the story isn’t about the monsters (or aliens for you sci-fi fans). It is about the people. And since I am a “people”, I can write about them.

The Finding Valhalla story isn’t about Valkyries and Ragnarök, it is about a woman falling in love. I’m not a woman, but I have fallen in love. I have also read quite a few romance books (or at least books that have a romantic plot), so I know something about this subject. The demon invasion isn’t my primary focus for Dragons at Dawn, but it is about a man struggling to protect his family any way he can. With five kids, I think I know a little about that (even though my kids may not agree). Six Days to Sabbath isn’t about being kidnapped, it’s about finding faith in adversity, and trust me, I know a lot about that. And “Losing Control” isn’t about having sex with a dragon, it is about making mistakes and paying the price, something I am practically an expert in.

Every day I experience something that I can use in my writing. Something that helps me tell a story about a person and how they deal with their problems. The short story/novella that I am working on now, tentatively titled “The Hunt” is about a young woman trying to feed her tribe. I set the story in the building I work in every day, but it is after the demon apocalypse so it is in ruins. I have the perfect setting, all I have to do is imagine what the building would look like after a decade or so of neglect. I have seen a few abandoned buildings in my past, and I have watched enough disaster movies to be able to figure out how that works. The woman is hunting deer with a bow. I have shot a deer with a rifle, and I have used a bow before, so I know enough to be able to combine the two experiences in order to tell a story about bow hunting. The woman will end up being hunted herself, and I’ll handle that by drawing on my past feelings of persecution and despair, which most of us have at some point in our lives (high school, anyone?).

So write what you know. Tell us a story about the people (or aliens) that you meet every day. We’ll understand, because we have met them too.

See you again on Monday! I promise not to be late….

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Filed under About Me, The Writing Experience

Love is in the Air

It’s February 14 and the first draft of my paranormal romance is finished. I have started sending it out to several of my friends to see what they think of it. I also offered it to my blog readers to try to get a more unbiased opinion, but so far no takers.

I have been seeing romantic advertisements everywhere for the last couple weeks. Of course that is to be expected. Valentine’s Day has always been said to be a holiday created by the flower and greeting card industry. But that doesn’t mean it can’t also be a good thing.

I have been married to my wonderful wife for almost fourteen years now, and I love her just as much now as when I first met her. I tell her this every chance I get. When I wrote my paranormal romance novel I tried to channel that feeling into my writing. I’m not sure how well that worked out, but that’s what edits are for, right?

I have to confess that I really struggled with the romance part of my novel. First of all, I’m a man, so that’s one strike against me. Can anyone tell me of ANY male romance authors? I can’t think of a single one. Or are they writing under a pseudonym?

Secondly, I’m usually a calm and reserved person, so writing a passionate love scene was EXTREMELY difficult for me. I mean, I feel that passion for my wife, but allowing myself to open up and share it with the rest of the world was kind of against my nature.

Third, I felt uncomfortable writing about sex. My faith has taught me to respect the love of two people, which should not be sullied by things like premarital sex and pornography. So I felt that when I was writing about my heroine and her man having premarital sex I was encouraging behavior that I didn’t believe in, even though it was what the characters demanded.

I would be interested in hearing what the rest of you think about this. And if you are interested in reading my first draft of Finding Valhalla just let me know and I’ll send you a link to the file on my Dropbox share.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Filed under About Me, The Writing Experience