Lime Issues: Relational Development

I wrote 10 pages…and then rewrote the last half, because it went a little too far for a second lime. It was perhaps a bit too humiliating for Labriella, even though she practically asked for it by directly disobeying Rome again.

But now I’m about ready to take out both limes—the one I wrote in chapter 8, and the one you haven’t seen yet that I’ve written into chapter 9. You see, I have this pet peeve about limes and lemons in plotline stories that don’t actually further the plot or the main characters’ relationship. And right now, I’m feeling a lot like that is exactly what I have done. I’m trying to heat things up, but maybe it’s just not time yet, or this is not the way. I still have that cut scene about Rome touching Labriella while she’s sleeping, which I wanted to add back in before he touched her while she was awake. I could easily work that into the next noble party, considering its theme. But I want to be careful to integrate the plot as well; I fear I am veering too far off-course.

So now I’m deciding whether to go back and change chapters 8-9 now, or to wait until I finish the story circuit and then make revisions. I might frustrate you if I go back and change it now. The trouble is, moving forward without making the changes could be problematic. I guess that answers my question, but I still don’t like doing it…

Chapter 8 is Here!

Chapter 8, “Rivalry and Provocation,” is now posted, as promised! Expect explicit kissing, and a very evocative lime. This should mark the beginning of an ongoing sequence of limes—just a fair warning.

I will warn you of two things:

  1. A character from volume 1 besides Suh Frane will be making a debut in this chapter.
  2. “Explicit kissing” is not limited to being between Labriella and Rome.
  3. Rome may or may not have had a little too much to drink by the end of the chapter. (Not that that really impairs his abilities…)

Let the noble games begin!

2-week Update

I’m back into a routine of writing, but I regret to inform you I am not back up to the pace I was updating at about 8 months ago. Some of this probably has to do with the fact that I was revising back then, not always writing new chapters. I restarted volume 2 while I was traveling. New material and frequent delays makes for much slower going.

Despite this, I have managed to complete chapter 8. It has taken me two weeks instead of the one-week quota I had hoped for. But perhaps you can excuse that, because the half of it I have typed is already 7k words—and that is before the lime. That should be enough to hold you over, until I figure out how to use limes and the tavern wench to bridge the gap between the end of chapter 8 and a new breed of party.

If all goes well, I will post chapter 8 later today.

Also, I am aware that National Novel Writing Month is only a few short weeks away. You better believe I’m excited for it! However, I want to give you a heads up that I will not be participating in NaNoWriMo. I’m sure I’ll be lurking around FictionPress reading the new stories that NaNoWriMo springs into existence. But as far as my own projects are concerned, the BeastKing Chronicles are my priority, and I don’t want to get too distracted. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to persuade me to change my mind, though, as I already find the NaNoWriMo challenge intriguing and tempting.

Finally, Chapter 7 is Here!

Alright all you patiently waiting people, I just posted “Livery Up!” Unusual name for chapter 7, I know. By “livery,” I mean a uniform. So, in essence, the title means “Suit up!” Maybe a little cheesy. But very appropriate.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE READ THE REVISED END OF CHAPTER 6 BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT TO READ CHAPTER 7! (I fixed a couple mistakes in there.) Otherwise you will not understand why Labriella is so surprised about the surprise guest, because you will think she has been forewarned! This is not so.

Rabbit Trails vs. Original

It’s funny how many rabbit trails I’ve indulged.

You know, when I originally set out to write this story, I had a very different expectation of where and how it would go. I was experimenting with a more abrupt style of writing, with short sentences that would pack a punch, in order to file down on my detailing habits. But more than that was different. As a beast, Rome was childish and violent; without Bre by his side, he had been unable to mature. As a temple servant, Labriella was innocent, naïve, and practical, and that was to carry over into her service to Rome. Labriella was never meant to be thrown out that many times, never meant to be a lady of the evening, never meant to throw attitude back in Rome’s face, never meant to be randomly kissed. Rome was never meant to give off the impression that he had it all together, or so easily fit into the noble slot for him. He was meant to have to rely heavily upon Labriella’s knowledge, which would inadvertently draw them closer together (without needing sexual tension to do so).

I have already changed the course of my story once, from a lady-of-the-evening relationship with Gian and Rome and a borderline-cheating wedding disruption, in order to preserve Labriella’s sexual innocence. But I lost some of her practicality and naivete along the way, I think. And Rome knows much too much about what is the “right” thing to do, so early on. So again I find myself in the position of contemplating another large-scale revision, as far as tone of the entire series. That is in addition to moving much of the noble stuff closer to the beginning of volume 1. I guess most of what is taking up that space before the nobles is info about Rome’s estate, and the tug-of-war cycle about whether Labriella should stay or go—two things which, I anticipate, many people wouldn’t mind seeing dispensed.

However, with my tendency toward hiatus, I realize that at some level I just need to keep writing. The more things I change, the more difficult it will be to keep track of what I changed and what I kept the same. It will be easier to implement character-consistent changes when I have finished this leg of the story.

I am 3,300 words into writing chapter 7, which is complicated because it involves nobility. As I go, I am jotting down new ideas and revision ideas, and I am reading and highlighting my way through an extremely helpful book called Writing New Adult Fiction by Deborah Halverson. So I want to warn you, although I am writing, updating might be slow going for a while.

To those of you who are new readers, I’m glad to have you, and welcome along for the ride. :) Making my writing and my story construction better is now a priority, and most of what I post online won’t be the final draft (everything is subject to revision). I invite you to review, and to become a part of the process.

Sugarcoated Knifeblade

Wow, I haven’t been on MediaMiner in a long time…

Frenchdiamond_1 just posted a review on the old version of volume 2, which made me curious about my writing from what now seems like “way back when.” I reread some of the volume (namely the first and last chapters), and then read my last two chapters of the new volume 1, and man, how my writing has changed! It’s hard to believe that was only a year ago! Maybe it just has to do with being the first draft. But even the tone of the characters is different. Do you guys like that change? Or do you wish you had the old Rome, and maybe even the old Labriella? I knew I was changing the characters (softening them, maybe), but I didn’t realize I was changing them that much. Cumulatively, Rome has developed into almost an entirely different persona. I intend to bring out more of his viciousness, and in some ways perhaps I already have, since I wrote in the slaughters of the wolves and of Labriella’s kidnappers. But compared to the old version of the volumes, it’s almost like I’m sugarcoating the serrated knifeblade that is Rome’s personality to make it palatable. I don’t know whether that’s perfect or distressing… Is it believable to you?

Revisions: To Share, or Not To Share?

The good thing about having been writing a story for a long time, or about writing a series, is that the longer you write it, the more you see what works and what doesn’t. In addition, you are able to see more ways to compact the story, where before you couldn’t see ways to shorten up the length. Likewise, you can see places to elaborate more where your explanations or transitions were sparse.

The first time I did a revision, it was more of an edit; I checked for typos, grammatical mistakes, etc. By the time I set out for a second revision, however, I had finally some clue of what a true “story revision” was. “Revising” is not one of those things they teach you in your English class—the one-time (or even thrice-timed) proofread before you pronounce your work “finished”—and it’s more than just polishing things up. It’s about seeing your story as an overall picture, and figuring out what could spruce it up.

The first time I did a real “revision” on my Beauty and the Beast story, I don’t think people really realized what I was endeavoring to do—and neither did I. There seemed to be a lot of people who thought my story was great as it was. But after I took those months to sweep back through my story and fix what I considered to be inconsistencies with where the story needed to go, two things happened:

  1. My original audience still liked certain parts of the original, but they said that my story had actually gotten better.
  2. I gained new readers who either could not tolerate my story before, or simply had not been interested in reading it.
  • I also got a lot better at writing interest-piquing summaries—which I have still been practicing.

I’m sure the sheer amount of revising I do irritates some people, because it means they have to re-read old content in order to move on to the new. But the truth of the matter is that that’s why I’m here: revisions. I take the risk of posting my story online so that I can receive constructive feedback to help me make my story better. There was a time when I was younger—perhaps 10 years ago—when I wrote simply to write, and I really didn’t care for others’ critiques, because I didn’t care what anyone else thought of my stories; they were written for myself, almost like journal entries, and I was extremely suspicious of others wanting to read them.

But I am at a point in my life now where I recognize how invaluable constructive criticism really is. So many people can say things to tear a story or a person down. So many people can say “good job,” and leave you wondering what was actually good about it. But a person who is honest, and elaborates on what they like and don’t like, and offers you insight on how to change what they’re questioning, is not just writing a comment; they are handing you a tool.

But my reviewers are not the only ones critiquing my story; I am critiquing it as well. As time goes on, I see where more of the holes are, see things that are not set in stone that might be changed for the better.

What I am seeing now, is that some of my in-story explanations are running in circles. I intentionally put then in circles at the time, because I believe real people move in circles in their lives that they don’t recognize as circles, and don’t know how to break out of. But I am entertaining the thought that it may be possible to reflect Rome’s circular, self-deprecating mentality without running the reader in literary circles.

I also see that more efficient lines may be made from the beginning of the story to Rome’s troubles with the nobles—namely, Rome’s eye color. If I followed that theme, instead of wandering around looking for relational and friendship rabbit trails, the relationship may just follow the plotline’s lead and take care of itself. There is also, of course, the possibility of taking out the childhood chapters altogether. While they provide a peek into Labriella’s temple life, my continuation of writing is bringing me to an alternate method of divulging this information and perspective. Thus I could dedicate the first volume to the nobles—”Ignoble“—and dedicate the second volume to the temple and Power distribution—”Irreverent.” It would be a lot neater organizing, and would keep its focus.

I’m honestly debating whether to post such a version, however. It might indeed draw more readers. But I feel that if I make these changes, I will come a lot closer to attempting to publish, and there have been advisions against posting a truly finished work online. So then, the question at this point for me is less about whether to make the changes to my story, and more about whether the feedback I will receive is worth sharing the revision online.

But don’t worry; I won’t stop writing the story from where I’ve left off. After all, it’s difficult to revise things when you haven’t written then yet. ;)