21 October 2019

A Very Good Bad Idea

So...I got this crazy idea...

It all started when I finished Chapter 27. [Holds for applause]. Yes, finally! But I'll talk about that more another time. Once I finished the chapter, I wanted to give myself a break by writing something fun and easy. Now, I don't know if it was because of the book I just finished reading, or knowing what I have to write for the next chapter (and I need some no pressure practice), or just because this idea was in my head, I decided to write some SEXY FLUFF.

You know sexy fluff, right? Just something that's like, cute lovey dovey with a moderate amount of sex and a dash of angst. I don't read a lot of romance novels, but the ones I typically read are like this. The thing I started writing actually happens between Books 2 & 3 in my series, and no one will ever read it besides me, so I could just do whatever I want with it.

But I realized something as I was writing. The words were flowing rather easily. Now, I wasn't trying very hard to make the words perfect like I usually do, but I was writing PAGES. And so fast! I was just staring at the screen wondering, what is this sorcery??

My story ideas are usually ridiculously complicated. UL has taken me over 8 years and I'm still not done. Even Shiny New Story, while a lot lighter than UL, is still pretty complicated. Since the fluff was coming along at such a rapid pace, I wondered, am I doing this all wrong? Should I just be writing sexy fluff all the time??

That's when the idea hit. What if I *did* try writing sexy fluff? It's not my usual style, but I could totally do it. And I would have fun doing it. I even thought, hey, what if I wrote my fluff under a pen name?? Then my super complicated novels could be under my real name. And since it was a Saturday night, I was home alone, and I'd had a few cocktails...naturally I started researching romance novel tropes and brainstorming my pen name.

Half of my brain was like, I AM SO DOING THIS, while the other half said, PUMP THE BRAKES, SISTER. But I could not shake off this idea of, what if I could bust out sexy fluff novel after sexy fluff novel and ACTUALLY MAKE MONEY DOING IT?? The only downside being, for the love of God and all that is holy, I really need to finish Uneven Lines. I can't be distracted by all the shiny.

But then I thought, what if I just spent one day a week working on fluff? Or, I could use it for those times I'm feeling blocked, or just feeling depressed because the writing isn't happening. Maybe the fluff could fuel my work on UL when it's stalled (as it typically is). I even came up with an idea for a book! (Eeek!) I liked the idea of enemies to lovers, so my brain just kept thinking and thinking and suddenly I've got a full fledged plot, about a couple of former high school rivals who then become work rivals years later which naturally leads to sexytimes. And now I can't stop thinking about it *facepalm*.

I know I shouldn't do this, but part of me thinks it's a good idea. If I can find the right balance between these projects, anyway, where I'm still devoting most of my time to UL. Part of me just wants to see how fast I could bust out a fluff novel (don't NaNo @ me).

So...will I do it? I don't know. I'll probably write this first fluff story at some point, at least. But like SNS, I'm putting it on a back burner. Or, more accurately, in a glass case labeled TO BE USED IN CASE OF WRITER'S BLOCK.

BTW, I decided for my pen name I would use initials. My middle name is Anne, but for some reason I didn't want to use S.A. So I thought of S.J. (I got that exactly where you think I got it). Then I started thinking about a fake last name. First I thought of S.J. Adams, which gave me a chuckle. But then I thought of S.J. Gray, which sounds totally fake but I also like. Feel free to vote or suggest something new! Or talk me out of it!!!

07 October 2019

In the Pie of the Beholder

If you're like me (crazy), you like to sneak symbolism and themes and all that literary nonsense (that you swore writers never did on purpose when you read Lord of the Flies in sophomore year) into your books. You think it gives your story more depth, and gives the reader more to think about. Or you just worry your book would be a massive trash pile without it. Either way, is it possible to have too much symbolism? When is enough enough?

Ok, so A LOT of tiny little details in UL are totally planned. I've got symbolism, parallel lines, parallel characters. You name it, I probably have it. So when I come across something that doesn't have some sort of double meaning, I wonder if it should.

Chapter 1 ends with Jordan eating an entire pie in one sitting. I have no worries about the act itself, it really works, it has different layers and whatnot. The thing that keeps nagging at my brain is the type of pie. This is some serious literature here, right?? When the type of pie you wrote doesn't feel quite right...

Ok, so since the dawn of time, aka, when I started writing this book, the pie in question has ALWAYS been key lime. HOWEVER...I had absolutely no reason for making it a key lime pie. There is no double meaning, no symbolism. If I ever publish this book and someone asked me, "why key lime??" I wouldn't have an answer. So I wonder if I should have a more symbolic flavor of pie (words I didn't ever think I'd be saying).

I've thought of a few. There's cherry, which could totally have some sexual symbolism (I think...?). Plus red is a color I use symbolically throughout the book, so diving into a cherry pie and making a mess of it would seem more meaningful.

Then there's apple pie. My obvious thought is the whole apple/forbidden fruit idea, which would totally work in the book itself. But I also know I'm throwing in a lot of Garden of Eden themed symbols in Book 3, so this could also connect to that.

But then I also wonder...does it really matter? Should I just keep it key lime because that's what it's always been? Or because I already have enough symbolism in my book? Do I really need ANOTHER THING??? I also think eating a whole key lime pie in one sitting would be way more doable than an apple or cherry pie, but I also don't have a teenage boy's metabolism.

So what do you think? Does the pie really matter? Or am I overthinking this way too much? Or are you all just hungry now??

02 October 2019

Let Crappy First Drafts Lie

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's the posting day for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Click here to learn more and sign up!

Well, another month has passed and where am I on my third draft progress? Err...about the same place I was last month. Ok, ok, not exactly the same place! For my last IWSG post, I said I had written 3 pages for Chapter 27. So, good news...I currently just went onto page 11! So, obviously, words are happening. Just very slowly. And we will ignore my concerns that this chapter is turning out way too long and I'll probably have to split it but that will leave me with 30 chapters and I need them to be UNEVEN, hello??? *deep breath* Yes, ignoring that for now. 

I know one of the big reasons this chapter is taking forever is the fact that I don't often make myself just sit there and write it. Especially on a work day, I just kinda want to sit there watching TV and go to bed early. But another problem is that when I actually do sit down to write, I find it very difficult to actually get the words out. I know it's because I want those words to be perfect, and sometimes it's just hard to make it that way. Probably the worst thing I do is that I won't even write a sentence down until it's perfect in my head. So when perfection isn't happening, words aren't happening, either. 

But I think something kinda clicked. At one point while working on 27, I said to myself, "UGH. This feels so first drafty." Then I realized...well, it basically IS a first draft. While I'm working on the third draft of the novel as a whole, almost everything I've written past Chapter 19 has been brand spankin' new. Not rewritten, like everything before it, but completely new stuff that never even happened in the first two drafts. So the words I'm writing right now are essentially a first draft. And can you make a first draft perfect? HELL NO!

It's difficult to part with that idea of finishing this draft and basically having it ready to go, but I think if I keep clinging to it, I'll never even get to the end. I just have to put the words down and if they're kinda crappy, just let it be. I can always go back and fix it. I just have to look at everything before Chapter 19 to see how great things can turn out if you just keep working at it. But you can't fix what isn't there. And trying to make it perfect before it's written will just lead to a whole lot more waiting. 

So I'm plowing through this chapter. Even if I think some moments are illogical. If I think two characters should have gone deeper with a certain conversation but can't quite figure that out right now. If some moments were too drawn out, but others were rushed. I may not know how to fix certain things, but I'll at least know what needs to be fixed. And maybe some time and distance will make the figuring out much easier.