Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

October 24, 2010

Bethany & Cody, Musings

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I took a short break from editing Golden Heart entries today to let Bethany and Cody out to play.

Their conversation took a turn (for the better or worse?) to that age-old question that has plagued the males of our species since the debut of “Gilligan’s Island”: Ginger or Mary Ann?

Cody, being the kind of guy he is, says he’d rather have a wholesome girl like Mary Ann. Then he proceeds to tell Beth she’s the best of both โ€” wholesome looking like Mary Ann but with Ginger’s sensual nature (though he thinks to himself he’d get a lot more rest if Beth were less Ginger-esque).

My question for you (should you choose to answer): Would your hero pick Ginger or Mary Ann?

 

I'm ready โ€” are you?

 

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, and I’m all in.

In 2009, I participated for the first time. My goal was to finish a novel I’d already started, “Blind Date Bride.” I had about 40K to go. I only got 25K written during NaNo, but finished my first draft before Christmas.

This year, I’m going to go for the whole enchilada: A complete novel, from Word One.

That’s not to say I haven’t done a little prewriting. The idea is actually one I came up with while working on my first MS, Brad & Erin’s story. It’s the tale of Brad’s brother, Kenny. Because he lives in the same city as his mother, poor Kenny bears the brunt of his Ma’s matchmaking efforts … and it’s driving him crazy.

On the day Brad brings Erin home to meet his folks, Kenny also turns up with a woman he says is his fiancee … but she’s really just a friend Kenny has asked to pretend to be his fiancee to get his Ma off his back. But Kenny, always a practical joker, decides to take it to the next level โ€” he has Kristi pretend to be a completely unsuitable fiancee, complete with clothes short and tight enough to give his dad apoplexy.

Of course, since I write romance, Kenny and Kristi have to fall for each other. But by the time they do, his Ma can’t stand the poor girl (who is really very sweet). Kenny, afraid to just come clean about the mother of all deceptions, convinces Kristi to undertake a “Pygmalion” type of transformation. (Hence the cheesy working title I put on my NaNo page, “My Fair Fiancee.”)

Don’t knock it. I told you I suck at titles! For me, they’re like the photo kickers I have to write for work. Once in a while I come up with one that’s a real gem: The picture of a deer in a field, looking straight at the camera comes to mind. I slugged it “You lookin’ at me?” But most of the time, they’re pretty lame. (Think “Fun with science” for Flagstaff’s recent science festival. Yeah. That‘ll bring home the prize for headline writing.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

I did the pre-plotting work a while back, after one of our NARWA meetings went over the “Book in a Month” book. The goal was to do it in 60 days, before the next meeting. I got up to Day 4 or 5 (research) and petered out. Research isn’t my favorite thing, so I try to make my characters at least a little like me. I worked as a DJ for my college radio station (Kenny’s a DJ). But I still need to talk to someone, because I’m sure it’s different now that radio stations are all-digital. (Heck, most of our music was on CDs, but we still had to cue up vinyl from time to time … and that was way back in 1993!)

I’m also going to try to come up with character arcs for both Kenny & Kristi before Nov. 1. I see a cram session with Debra Dixon’s “GMC” in my future. Maybe if I focus on that before I even start, I won’t get the “your book doesn’t have enough conflict” criticism. (I seem to get that a lot … and as much as I wish I could, I can’t discount EVERYONE who’s told me that. I’m a Libra โ€” Libras don’t like conflict … or so I’ve been told. I believe it, too. I’d rather attempt to swim across a flood-swollen Mississippi than have a fight with someone.)

Check out my NaNo page here. I put a few more details in my “novel info” page.

With all the re-reading of my old stuff I’ve been doing, I have way too many characters running around in my head. Suddenly, they’re all jockeying for attention.

As a result, I’m getting a lot of nothing accomplished. Why is it that more ideas does not equal more productivity?

I’m still editing my Golden ย Heart entries, and yesterday (my birthday) I got a little new work done on Beth and Cody’s story. It’s probably not the best scene I’ve ever written, but it offers Cody a chance to shine a little.

Next up (on my next payday) is to actually send in my Golden Heart entry fees. The deadline is creeping nearer.

September 29, 2010

Stories

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My friend Pat and I had a nice chat today. I made it to her place at around 11 a.m. and didn’t leave until close to 2 p.m. โ€” and then only because I had to get ready for work.

We shared a lovely lunch (salad, spaghetti and chocolate chip cookies) and settled on “Li’l Slugger” … or maybe “Big Slugger.” What guy wants to consider himself “li’l” anything? ๐Ÿ˜‰

A good portion of our time was spent discussing various stories we’ve written (or are still writing) and it got me thinking about some nearly-finished manuscripts that I haven’t thought about in ages.

One is a Harlequin Presents type of story (high-powered businessman and successful author) with a twist: The two knew each other in high school, when he was an exchange student at her school. They started dating by graduation and she eventually transferred to university in London … but she up and left him with no explanation while they were in college. Now, four years later, their paths cross again when her book is being turned into a movie filmed at his hotel chain.

The other one is a sci-fi romantic comedy that I seem to recall having some very funny moments. I don’t think I’ve worked on it since moving from Indiana, so the details aren’t quite as fresh. I remember I got the Earth girl back to the planet of her hero, who’s as human as she is, just from a different galaxy, and then had no idea what direction to take it in.

I started the other one much more recently, basing it on characters in a collection of short stories my roommate and I wrote about life in high school (tentatively titledย  “High School Hell”). got it to a certain point โ€” probably the point I abandon most projects, somewhere in “the sagging middle” โ€” and stopped writing.

Anyway, before heading to work this afternoon, I dug them both out of hiding. (I was pleased to discover I knew where they were โ€” one buried under a stack of magazines on the nightstand, one in a satchel I packed to save get out of the house in case of wildfire several summers ago when one threatened.)

I got sucked into the Presents, and plan to read more when I get back home. It’s pretty near the end โ€” I hope, because I’m nearly out of story. It’s all hand-written, so I have no idea what the word count is.

So far, I like what I see. I may have to see about reviving it after Golden Heart season and the NaNo. (I already have my NaNo idea in place … it’s the story of Brad’s brother, Kenny.)

Of course, I still have Bethany and Cody to contend with. (Even though I still love the story, I think they’ve lost a bit of their luster … They no longer call me to work on their book. I’m probably coming to that dreaded middle again.)