01 November 2013

NaNo is Here! Gay Vampires, Shorter Chapters, and Why I'll Always Be a Pantser

The time has come! It’s finally November 1!!! The first day of NaNoWriMo. I’m so excited to finally be doing this. I just hope I’ll have enough time to get it done.

I guess I’ll start by revealing the plot of my NaNo book, since I’ve been so psychotically secretive about it. You might as well know it all. Here’s the synopsis I’ll be posting on my NaNo page for Blood Lust (Blech. Titles. Why do they vex me so?):

Alex is still breaking in his fangs. The vampire who made him is long gone, and he’s stuck with Jackelyn, his psychotic protégé—a former slayer who may still want to kill him. With only two years of being a vampire, he’s taking immortality one night at a time. But after saving a boy from a group of bullies, everything changes. Benny is shy and a little damaged. And he’s gay. For some reason Alex feels drawn to him, and is now forced to question his sexuality along with his existence. When he finally accepts the relationship for what it is, a new threat arises when an older vampire comes into town, wanting to probe into every aspect of Alex’s life. Now Alex must protect his human companion and prove his love, not only to an unbeatable enemy, but to himself.

Thaaaaaaaaaaat’s right. I’m combining my love of fantasy with my love of gay fiction. Someone had to have seen this coming. Besides my sixteen-year-old self. This all started with a really bad short story that I wrote, and then I tried to develop the characters more, but it just never worked out. But it always stayed in the back of my mind, and now I feel like I’ve finally figured it all out.

Obviously my NaNo book is going to be completely self-indulgent. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think it’s a good story. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, plotting out scenes in my mind, repeating lines of dialogue over and over so that I would remember them. But I haven’t written down a single word. I’m really a pantser when it comes to writing a book. I don’t like to outline. I don’t usually even write in order.

My favorite thing about a new story is to imagine the scenes in my head like a movie, sort of indulging myself with the story before I write it down. If you can’t enjoy your own ideas, then how can you expect other people to enjoy them? The images will usually plague me until I get the words down, and then they’ll be gone. Since these scenes will relentlessly bother me until they’re written, I don’t really worry about forgetting them. It’s actually bittersweet to write them down and let them go, but I can always go back and reread.

For a while I’ve thought about plotting out Blood Lust, maybe making an outline or just writing down ideas for a few scenes. But every time I tried, it just didn’t feel right. Because that’s really not my style. And I’ve learned not to fight my instincts when it comes to writing. They’re usually right.

Some good news! On the editing front, I had an intense two days of marking up my manuscript, and managed to get through the whole thing. It was like editing boot camp, with the muse as a drill instructor, screaming, “What do you mean you’re hungry????!! Food is for wimps! Pick up the goddamn pen!!!” (Side note, Jordan says he could never be a real drill instructor. Too much distracting eye candy.) Surprisingly, there aren’t really any scenes that I feel need to be cut. Several that need to be rewritten of course, or trimmed down, but everything feels necessary to the story.

What I have realized is that my chapters are waaaaaaaaaay too long. I need to break them up. For the most part, I think each individual scene could work as its own chapter. My next step before rewriting will be an outline of sorts (gasp!), writing down each scene with a brief summary, maybe on notecards. I’ll be able to see what scenes can stand on their own, maybe shuffle a few around, and, the most exciting part, writing a few new scenes to fill in the gaps. If I can somehow manage to balance this with NaNoWriMo, I think I’ll have a second draft by the end of the year. Then I’ll probably get some readers and maybe even start querying. Ahh! Scary times.

Well, I’ve got to start cranking out my NaNo book. I’ve got work all this weekend, so I’m aiming for 3,000 words then I’ll do a lot more during the week. Of course, Jordan will be taking over on Monday for his monthly post. I have no idea what he’ll be writing about, so that probably means he doesn’t either. Now that’s scary. 


  1. It's always good to indulge yourself in your writing. Sounds like you've got an interesting story ready to unfold. Good luck!

    1. Thanks! I try to fight my indulgences but it never seems to work...