Alonza’s Party

I got my second writing book that I ordered. It’s called Passionate Ink, by Angela Knight. I just started in on it, but I’m already thrilled with it. It looks like just what I needed to fine-tune the sexual tension in my story, and orchestrate a successful progression of limes.

Speaking of limes, I’m moving things around in chapter 9 again. I wrote one scene, then wrote another, then completely rewrote the first. Now I’m going to do-si-do them, and connect in between. So now all the material is there; I just need to reorganize and slip a few things in.

Alonza’s party. *groan* I’m about ready to take it out. Okay, let me rephrase that: I’ve figured out a vital role for it to play in the revision of volume 1, which should bring Rome out of the forest and into the noble world in a more realistic way, and spur the plot and romance forward at a quicker pace. Anything I can do with Alonza’s party in volume 2 at this point sounds counterproductive to the ending I’m working toward. I really need to bring the temple back into the story. Alonza’s party is just going to distract from that, by being too big of an anti-climax…I think. I had a plan, and Alonza’s party was not the climax of that plan. It was going to be sexy, risque, and hardcore, but reading one of Janice Hardy’s blog articles recently confirmed for me that it would not be necessary, because it was not integral enough to the plot. I’ve been entrapping myself by working toward Alonza’s party, acting like the nobles are the mainstay of the novel, when really it’s Labriella’s estrangement from the temple (and everything that goes with it) that should be driving the entire story forward.

So, I’m going to finish rearranging chapter 9, and post it. After that, I don’t know. I have to figure out if I can go forward without doing another round of large-scale inter-volume revising. I think part of why writing has been so difficult, is because I have to keep trashing content because I’m meandering away from the plot as I write from scene to anticipated scene. I wish I could say that by doing this, I’m developing a more efficient way to write in the future. But I think what I’m discovering is that for me, writing is a continual process of trial and error—generating “cool” scenes that stick in my head as landing points, and then having to continually rearrange and/or rewrite them as I slowly discover more about my characters and my plot begins to reveal how it needs to be written. Maybe I’ll get faster at doing this the more times I craft a story from scratch, or the more volumes I finish. But I doubt the process itself will change, because of the way I draw ideas out of my head.

New Adult Resources Wanted

There are sooooo many people posting writing tips on the internet. So how is it that I cannot find the advice that I actually need?

How to get an idea for a story is not my problem; I have plenty of ideas that pop into my head all the time.

Struggling to reach a 50,000-word count is not my problem. The first book in my current series is at 200,000 words! PLEASE don’t encourage me to multiply my words or tell me how to lengthen my story! I want to know what to condense, what to cut, and what to move to the next book.

“There are plenty of online resources.”

WHERE IS THE NEW ADULT COMMUNITY?!?!?! Seriously, Young Adult is everywhere. But when it comes to New Adult, all a Google search does is turn up lists of NA books, or YA writing resources. Can somebody please point me to where I can research the NA Romance and Fantasy genres specifically? Or where I can find an NA forum community? Or an NA critique partner? Everyone is promoting publishing for NA. Great! But I’m not there yet! I want stuff to help me get there! I want people to point out what I don’t already see. So where are those people?! The writing community is so big, I don’t understand why this is a problem! There is only one book I have been able to find about writing New Adult fiction, by Deborah Halverson, and I own it, and it’s uber helpful. Am I to believe that this is the only book marketed on the subject?

Alright, I’m done ranting. But this isn’t just a rant; it’s a cry for help. I’m mostly past the my-story-is-my-baby-please-don’t-slaughter-it sentiment; now whenever someone offers constructive criticism on my story I’m ecstatic, because it’s so rare. So if you know of a writing community, or a conference, or a workshop, or something that can help me with writing New Adult Paranormal Romance set in a fantasy world, I would LOVE for you to comment. Blog recommendations, book recommendations, forums…anything.

Online Profiles & The Indispensable Lime

Wondering what’s taking me so long?

It’s probably because I’m doing so much at one time. Here’s a snapshot:

  • I moved many of my pins into a new Pinterest account, which I created specifically for my story. I’m using Pinterest as a brainstorming and idea-compiling space to help me design buildings and clothing, and to better understand the function and originality of my characters’ personality dynamics. I added the link to my Pinterest page in the sidebar. Please note that any pictures pinned under characters’ names bear resemblance to the character in a particular area; they are not an exact representation.
  • I connected my Goodreads account to this site. You’ve seen the kind of story I’m writing. Now you can see the kinds of stories I’ve read over the years, which helped form me into the reader and writer I am today. You can also look up some of the books I’m currently reading as writer reference tools. I added the link to my Goodreads page in the sidebar. Any book reviews I write on Goodreads should automatically show up on this site.
  • I rewrote my summary of volume 1. It was too generic, did not have enough of a hook, and did not accurately portray the tone of the story. I might post the new summary in the next couple days, or I might update the summary when I post my new chapter.
  • I started a list of revisions I want to make to volume 1. I even mapped out some of the plot points and alternate progressions.
  • I wrote a WAFF lime into chapter 9 of volume 2. Don’t think that sounds like Rome? Neither did I. But hopefully, after reading this lime, you’ll change your mind. And yes, this lime is rather indispensable to the plot.
  • I ordered 2 new books to help me with my writing. One is about writing paranormal novels. The other is about writing steamy romance. I’m excited about the first, but annoyed about the second, because the shipment of the latter has been delayed. Drat. I hope I get that second book.

The good news is that I have been writing chapter 9, and I am pleased with what I have written so far. The bad news is that even though I’ve been working on stuff for my story every day, my word count for chapter 9 is still at only half of what I normally post for a chapter. That’s okay, because I know what else I want to put in the chapter; it’s a scene I’ve already written. But that scene needs to be revised, and probably added to, which means you’re going to have to wait a bit longer for an update. Don’t fret! You will have two limes in one chapter, which should more than make up for the lime I took out of chapter 8.

Yes, I decided I could fit a lime into the aftermath of the kissing contest. No, it does not look like it did when I originally wrote chapter 8. The premise back then was forgetting about the contest. The premise now is something deeper, older. Rome gets moody and broody, and Labriella draws a startling comparison that helps her to see what Rome is actually feeling underneath his natural façade. Then she decides to do something about it, to help him…but she runs into a couple confidence-crippling issues: Labriella begins to realize what Kitiora meant about being with Rome being a dark path, and Labriella comes face-to-face with what she really thinks of herself in light of Rome. How’s that for an indispensable lime?

I know what I’m doing for chapter 9. After that…I’m not real sure. I know where I’m going, but without the revisions I have in mind for the story arc as a whole, it will may be difficult to build a meaty bridge from Lord Symeon’s party to Lord Alonza’s. Even my perception of what should take place at Lord Alonza’s party is changing. There is going to be a whole lot of carnality and bondage going around, but as for my main characters…it seems like they should be above that somehow. They’ll definitely be affected, as will their relationship. But how they handle the situation needs to be different from how the nobles handle it. Moral high ground is going to be a moving target. I have to figure out how Rome and Labriella can remain above the discretion line, and yet still provoke one another to action. Sounds like lots of tightrope walking to me.

Revision Points & WAFF on the Way

The more I write, the more revisions I see. I keep seeing where I could take things out, or thinking of scenes I could meld together to make my books feel more action-packed. I’m keeping a list of such notes, so that when I finish writing the current volume or the mainstay of the series, I’ll already know exactly what to go back and change. But it makes it hard to write new scenes when I’m questioning how many of the old scenes I can play off of; I don’t want to build character relationships off of a scene that I know will later cease to exist. But I can’t build off of the new orchestration in my head, either, because my readers won’t know the order; they won’t have a reference for what I changed. So I feel like I’m writing two stories at the same time.

A huge part of me wants to go back and revise the things on my list now. But I’ve already kept you guys waiting for an update for almost a month. And besides, I don’t want to lose touch with my story again; we all know it’s harder to get back into the writing game, than it is to continue it. Revisions are easy, because the core materials are already there to rearrange and add to or subtract. It’s creating the story from scratch that takes the most time—a careful, slow plodding along that involves writing scenes and then scrapping them because they don’t fit.

I’ve rewritten a good portion of chapter 9. As you may recall, I rewrote chapter 8 and scrapped what I had written of chapter 9, because I felt the limes were not indispensable enough. I have since determined that that is due to the brashness of the approach. I felt a lime after the kissing contest was well-placed, but would have to pack a hefty punch. I have since realized that, since this would be the first REAL lime between Rome and Labriella (assuming the one in the dream state doesn’t count), the problem is that the lime actually needs to be softer—no less extensive, but much more kindhearted, and emotionally rooted in things that have been going on long before the contest ever came into play. So yes, my dear readers, that means I am writing WAFF. (If you don’t know what that means, check out my Basic Online Fiction Vocab page.) and because it is WAFF involving an emotionally unstable character, I am being very careful. Which should explain why it is taking me so long to write.

Editing for Invisible Narrative

I did some more editing on my revision to chapter 8; there are always things left to nitpick, especially where flow in style of writing is concerned. All the novel-writing books and tips I’ve been reading say I should aim to make my narrative as invisible as possible. That’s a bit difficult for me, as there are many places I want to purposely draw attention to my narrative. Thus is the nature of writing in a recollective tense. But I see their point. There are places where a certain kind of wording will involuntarily jerk you out of reading a story, if the writer is not careful. The places to draw attention to narrative are more likely the openings and closing of scenes, so everything else should flow unnoticeable smooth. That should emphasize when I do want to draw attention.

Today, I start in on revamping chapter 9, to make sure it flows in from the new ending to chapter 8.

I would like to offer a special “thank you” to XAbsoluteZeroX for their lengthy review of my story after my latest chapter revision. They pointed out that my summary is rather weak, because it does not accurately represent the depth and distinction of my book. But they did not just leave me with that criticism; they pointed out where the weak points are, and gave suggestions on what was wrong and how to change it. Thank you so much, XAbsoluteZeroX! I’ve known for awhile that my summaries were falling short of how I wanted them to be, but nothing I read online about how to fix them seemed to help. I’m so glad I know what to work on now! The volume 2 summary will probably have to wait until I am finished, since anything could happen in the story between now and then. But I can work on the first volume’s summary right away.

Relational Hurdles: Terrifying Attraction

I finally finished rewriting chapter 8! The revision is now posted on FictionPress, under the same title as before. The scene after the kissing contest is now completely different; even the tone of the chapter is different. The ending does not offer as much closure as the previous version, but it plays into an important relational hurdle for Rome and Labriella. Labriella is an argumentative pacifist, and Rome likes to kill his problems to make them go away. Ignoring that would romanticize the nature of the beast, and I cannot do that. Sorry, but you’re going to have to take Rome with all his faults.

That is something I really appreciate about my favorite authors: their ability to make me love a volatile character. The reality is that a beast would be terrifying, even if you found them attractive. A lethal predator doesn’t suddenly become tame because he has a woman. It’s my job to make that terrifying wildness attractive to you. :)

Rewriting Chapter 8

Happy NaNoWriMo, everyone!

As I mentioned on my FictionPress profile, and in my last post, I have been revising chapter 8. I actually started in chapter 7, reforming Rome’s view of the party. If all he sees when he looks around is captivity, then there’s no reason to tell how beautiful the party is. That’s better related by Labriella’s wide-eyed wonder.

So far, I have rewritten the scene in chapter 8 where Rome confronts Labriella about her interactions with Suh Frane. This sounds like a simple matter, but it was not. I wanted to tie in the end of chapter 6, which is where Labriella gives Rome a taste of his own medicine. The trouble was that following Frane’s re-entrance in chapter 7, Rome made accusations toward Labriella that were largely uncalled for. In order to address the incomplete ending of chapter 6, I had to restructure Rome’s entire argumentative premise to be more emotionally focused and more factually relevant.

Last night I finished rewriting part of the kissing contest. Rome’s kiss simply did not fit with the emotions he was feeling during the contest. And, from Labriella’s perspective, the kiss scene with Rome needed less physical comparison and more emotion.

The next step is the contest aftermath. I am going to completely redo this scene. I wrote it twice, and each time erupted in a lime. I hate to say it, but that just doesn’t fit there. It’ll get closer to that at the end of the next party day (which is already written, by the way). But, based on past reactions, Rome should be more temperamental after watching Labriella get kissed by two different guys. That kind of thing typically makes him turn into a rage monster, not a tender affection sort of guy. So what changed? Nothing…unless he isn’t sure how Labriella feels about him anymore. But my rewrite of his part in the kissing contest should ensure that charged emotion is still there. Sounds more like “duke out feelings” time to me. Could I end that in a lime? You betcha. But would that be most conducive to the story’s long-term development? Eh, probably not.

Remember that when I post this revised chapter, it will simply replace the already-posted chapter without notifying you. I will notify you here though, and on my FictionPress profile.