I’m not going to get into the ring with Tolstoy. – Hemingway

It’s been a while since I’ve updated about my own writing. Needs to change, so here we go.

The editing on The Drake is not going well. I had some luck with the first chapter but I’m just not feeling it. I’m trying to determine the cause.

Is it because I know the editing process is going to be hard? I mean, really, really hard? Knock down all the walls and just leave the basic foundation kind of hard?

Is it because I’m just not feeling the story itself? I’m asking myself some serious questions about my main characters and how I feel about spending 75-100K words on them. I have to admit that I’m ambivalent.

Am I just not understanding my characters? Do I need to do more background work so I can get a better handle on who they are?

Am I trying to do too much in this story or not enough?

I started this particular story when I was bitten by a plot bunny (it’s got big sharp, pointy teeth!!!!) after listening to a Harlequin Meet the Editors podcast. They mentioned that they don’t get enough dragons and I laughed to myself but then, I had an idea. About a dragon shape-shifter who was a detective. And then I was off.

But it’s been road block after road block with this story. I’ve really had to beat my head against anything I could find to make the story come out and even then, I’m not sure what I think about it.

I know that writing isn’t easy and I never thought that this would be an easy process but based on previous completed works, this just seems so much harder.

Is this a sign that this isn’t the story that I’m supposed to be telling right now? OR is this just something that happens from time to time and I need to just buck up, little soldier, and get it done?

I’ve been bitten by a different bunny (the teeth! Look at the teeth!) for what I think is a short story or novella. M/M, which means my editing and crit group options are limited or I need to find completely new ones. I was inspired by a friend of mine to write this one, about a farmer and an army medic who fall in love.

I really like writing Jake, my medic. He’s an Iraq war vet, just home to Ohio. He saw a lot of action, had to deal with a lot of injuries and death while he was there. He’s not okay. PTSD, sadness, depression- he’s got it all. But he wants to find something better in the world that can show him that it isn’t all bombs and blood and death.

I played around with the story a bit on Saturday and got out what I feel is a really strong scene between Jake and his family that touches on just what he came back to and where he’s coming back FROM. I’m excited about exploring Jake and his life and figuring out ways to make the choices that he needs to make for this story to work make sense to the reader.

Alex, the farmer, is a bit tougher. To start with, I’m not sure that Alex is the best first name for the character. I’m not sure if fits the guy that I’m trying to create and I don’t want to stick with that name for too long in case it starts to affect how I craft the character. I almost want to just name the guy Xander but I don’t want any Buffy bleed over. But you know, as I type that out, the more I think that Xander is the answer. Hmmm…

Alex’s problem is that he wanted to leave town and do something bigger but he was forced to come home and run the family farm for his grandfather. I’m trying to express his unhappiness without making Alex unlikable or whiney/ungrateful for what he has. I want the reader to like Alex, to feel for him and understand why he’s not happy but I feel like it’s a fine line between unhappy and whiney.

I know there is an audience for this kind of story- I’m that audience myself. I’m just not sure if I should jump the good ship Drake to write about my new boys.

I haven’t heard a peep from the editor that my pages were sent to in February so either they never got there, the editor didn’t bother to read it or they were so unacceptable that she tossed them (and if that’s the case, I’d rather not know).

I’m looking for advice, if anyone has any to give- writers out there, have you been in my shoes before? What did you do?

PS: Check out my money blog over at ING DIRECT’s We the Savers. Read, laugh, comment!

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2 Responses to I’m not going to get into the ring with Tolstoy. – Hemingway

  1. DragoJustine says:

    Obviously, I have no advice. But every time I hear you talk about your writing you make me want to read it, and I just haven’t gotten a chance to see any! I mean, a detective dragon shape-shifter? YES, PLEASE.

    You mention that you know there’s an audience for Jake and Alex, which is definitely true- and it’s good to write things you yourself would like to read, for all sorts of reasons- but it almost sounds like you think there’s NOT an audience for dragon shape-shifting detectives. When obviously there IS. *grabby hands*

    • Alison says:

      @DragoJustine- I do think there is an audience for the dragon story. I, myself, am part of that audience.

      My problem is that I’m not sure my heart is really in the projeect and that’s the kind of thing that will show in the work. I’m sure that you’ve read books where you’ve wondered if the author wrote it simply for the paycheck, which is what I’m worried about here. Am I writing this because I think it will sell FIRST or am I writing it because I love the characters/story/situation, the thought of selling it a SECOND thought.

      When I feel more confortable with the project, I’ll let you know and see if you have time in your busy school schedule (OMG YAY SCHOOL!!!!!!) to read anything.

      Thanks for the support, btw. It means a lot, esp. from a writer of your caliber. (I LOVE YOUR WORK!!!)

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