Posts Tagged ‘characters’
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. — 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? 😉
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 titled “High School Hell”). got it to a certain point — probably the point I abandon most projects, somewhere in “the sagging middle” — 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 — 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 — 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.)
It’s no secret that I hate the working title on Bree and Mike’s story, “To Catch a Wife.” I blogged about it way back in May.
Last night, inspiration struck as I drove to the grocery store. I thought I’d found a perfect replacement: “Virgin and the Tramp.” A play on “Lady and the Tramp” … a description of the heroine and hero … perfect, right?
Not so much, apparently. When I posted the suggestion in my Facebook status, it was almost universally panned. One of my friends, someone I went to high school with, said it sounded like two lesbians. I have nothing against gay romances …. however, I did not write one, so I don’t want the title to make it sound like that’s what it is. I was thinking of Mike as the tramp (at least in everyone else’s mind. He works hard to maintain that image!)
Another of my friends said she’d pick up a book with the first title, but not the second.
So “Virgin and the Tramp” doesn’t play well in the Heartland.
Knowing that, I went back to the drawing board … again. “To Catch a Wife” was a decent title for the original draft of the book, in which Mike spent a good portion trying to convince Bree he wanted to marry her (because he thinks she’s pregnant, which she’s not). That still happens, but the book’s focus has shifted a bit, focusing more on Mike’s journey from pseudo-playboy who uses his bad-boy image to push away girls he doesn’t think he deserves to guy who knows he not only deserves but needs the love of a good woman.
Again, I started toying with the words I’ve been kicking around for months: mirror, image, playboy, virgin (because the heroine is one). I’d been down this road many times before and came up dry. However, the thought crossed my mind that Mike moonlights as a stripper — and a new perfect title was born: “Moonlight Madness.”
At first, I thought, “No way.” But it quickly grew on me. I walked through the parking lot to my car thinking, “That’s not bad.”
I think I even said it aloud: “That’s pretty good, actually.”
Why? Well, Breanne has harbored a crush on Mike, a coworker, since she started working at the paper … but she’s resigned herself to being just friends. As the story opens, she and her roomates are at a bachelorette party at the local strip club. She’s enjoying the show despite herself — until she discovers Mike’s the masked man shaking his junk at her.
Madness sets in and she can’t stop fantasizing about Mike. (She’s only a virgin, not dead!) When they get snowed in on assignment with one hotel room between them, she gets drunk and screws up the courage to give him her virginity (even though she knows it’s a bad idea). Mike, who’s sworn never to get involved with another virgin, doesn’t handle it well when he discovers he’s just taken it … and they spend weeks not speaking until Mike, who has a bad habit of eavesdropping, overhears what he thinks is Bree telling her former roommates (both of whom are now married) she’s pregnant. (She’s not.) Guiltily, he flashes back to that drunken night … yep. No condom. That’s what three hours of foreplay and a six-pack’ll do to a guy. But despite the image he goes to great lengths to create, he has old-fashioned values. So he sets out to seduce Bree back into his life. (Thus the original “To Catch a Wife” title.)
Unlike the crew from “Saturday Night Live,” I don’t have a lot to report: I’ve been reading/editing most of the weekend.
That means I’ve done no new writing … and I’m waffling about entering a third MS into the Golden Heart. A couple of nights ago, I started to wonder if I should enter Bree & Mike’s story. (I reread it, and I still think it’s pretty good. I LOVE Mike James. Visually, he’s beautiful and he’s interesting on the page — sordid past he keeps to himself, potentially questionable morals.)
Right now I’m leaning toward not, though. It’d be in the same category with Meg & Matt, the story I think is stronger … It had better be, since I’ve been honing my craft between the two. Of course, a lot of what I really like about Bree & Mike’s story is the stuff I went back and added in this spring, when I was expanding it to the proper length. (It started out at about 38,000 words.)
Besides, I’d have to write a synopsis AND come up with a better title. The frontrunner, thanks to my Facebook clan, is “She’s Snow Virgin” … but I don’t think even that works. (Better than “To Catch a Wife,” though, which is what I’ve been calling it.)
Does SNL even do “Weekend Update” anymore? Working most Saturday nights, I haven’t had a chance to watch in years.
I’ve been having lots of family fun on vacation. Driving around the country, exploring Mall of America, playing games with the kids …
But I’ve had next to no time to write. One day when I fired up the computer, the Boyfriend interrupted me about 10 minutes later. I’d just finished re-reading the last scene written to refresh my memory. No new writing got done.
Guess that’s why “they” say you shouldn’t stop to reread what you’ve written. (Who “they” are, I’m not certain. But I have heard that particular piece of advice before.)
Oh well. I’ll be back home and back to the old grind of my day job soon enough, and then I’ll get back into my writing routine. It shouldn’t be too hard, because Bethany and Cody are still chattering away in my head.
When I get back, it’ll also be time to get started on the next NARWA newsletter … and work on my goals for our next meeting. I believe I said, “revise BDB to incorporate judges’ comments” and “send out at least 2 queries on Meg & Matt.”
Busy, busy, busy. And I’ll only get busier when I head home at the end of the week.