Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fleshing out the Elements of Romance

Recently I stretched out on my favorite couch and reread my three current works in progress, trying to get a feel for where I wanted to go with them. I’ve been in a writing slump lately, which sucks, because I want to write, but several of the things that I need to have in order to be able to get into my character’s heads and get words on paper are sorely lacking at the moment. My first drafts are almost exclusively on paper. I find a quiet place in the woods and write, or I road trip and I find a spot that appeals to me and I hang out for a while and write. Those two options aside, I have a studio in the attic and tons of music and TV shows that I can put on for background as I curl up in my easy chair and write. Unfortunately, the heat has made all three impossible, even with the fan going on high; the attic is just too hot for me and my heat sensitivity to deal with.

So that left me re-reading the stories I plan to finish before the end of the year, and one thing that stood out to me as I did was that I never quite get the romantic elements to go where I want them to go. The groundwork is there, the characters themselves certainly want to be with one another, so the only conclusion I could come up with was that I was the one holding them back. So laying under the fan on the couch in the living room I decided to ponder why that was.

Surely I have nothing against romance and I love reading them. I want my characters to be happy, so then why do I only give them glimpses of it? Psychoanalyzing myself never gets me anywhere but I did look back on past relationships and after a time, I came to the realization that so many of them never got past the feeling out stages. I was a self-sabotager, I discovered that in my twenties, but somehow I never thought it would carry over into my stories, and yet, there it is, in the way Jax works so hard not to have a relationship with Danny in my WIP …And all Shall Fade to Black, and in the way that Darian fights his attraction to Zaiden in my WIP Serpent’s Kiss. It’s very plain to see in Ryker and Jesse’s as yet untitled story, and while I know that some resistance makes for good plot, I’d like to see my guys get to the couples part sooner, so they can face the challenges that await them as a couple, rather than trying to come together in the mists of whatever shit they are dealing with.

That having been determined, I decided what I would be working on for the remainder of the summer. I’m going to be redoubling my efforts to focus on the romantic elements of my stories, up to and including readjusting the notes and outlines I’d previously made and giving some long, hard thought to how I want the characters to come together. Three times now I have set out to write a romance novel, and I don’t think I’ve landed at what I was after just yet.

One of the joys of writing though, is that there is always that next try, that next story to explore and feel comfortable with elements that maybe I was sketchy about before. Two years ago it was like pulling teeth to write an intimate scene, and yet, in my next two upcoming releases, Racing the Sky and Guitars 2, I was able to overcome my own shyness about writing those scenes and give my characters what they really wanted. In Burning Luck, I went all out and dove into the BDSM scene with my characters, even attending the Everett, Washington BDSM con to learn more so I could flesh the novel out further. If there was ever a time to overcome shyness, it was there, and now, I’m heading back to BDSM con New York as a featured author.
So now I feel like I’m ready to tackle my next hurtle and that’s overcoming my inability to fully realize and flesh out my romantic elements. I’m looking forward to the journey, and I get the impression that my characters are looking forward to it as well. One thing is for certain, I have plenty of homemade wine (strawberry, dandelion, and strawberry rhubarb) to tide me over and with the berries growing in the yard, there’s always a chance to make more.

I’d like to give a special shout out to all the blog’s who have hosted Roadhouse Reds and Spider Webs and Cover Art and all of those who have taken the time to review them. Some of those reviews have confirmed my thoughts earlier in the blog, about the romances never going as far as they have the potential to. Seeing those comments in writing not just on the current novel but for previous ones only reaffirms my desire to work harder at fully developing the romantic elements of my work.

I’ve also been working on jotting down ideas for a series of flash fiction stories for my newsletter. Nothing over 1000 words, but something fun for subscribers that wouldn’t appear anywhere but in the newsletter. It would be a fun way to revisit old characters and introduce some new ones. Speaking of the newsletter, it will be launching at the end of the month. I’m actually excited about issue one. To subscribe to the newsletter, click here:

A few things of notable interest
Roadhouse Reds was released on June 17th and is available through Wayward Ink Publishing and all noted ebook sellers.

Wayward Ink’s Collars ‘n’ Cuffs Anthology was released on June 23rd. My short story Forged in Steel is included in the anthology.

I will be kickstaring my newsletter at the end of the month. I’ve been looking forward to this project for a while. Issues will contain sneak peeks into upcoming works, pieces of flash fiction, original artwork, conference updates and photos and so much more.   

I have decided to cease updates on my freebie Friday story…And all shall fade to black. That doesn’t mean the story will go unfinished, it won’t. I plan to go back and flesh out what’s already been written, then continue the story and submit it for hopeful publication.

Am planning to do a podcast in September as well, it will be my first time trying one, and I’d like to invite people to send in questions about any of my books, characters, or short stories, my writing process, inspirations, ect. and I’ll be answering them during the podcast.

I will be attending the BDSM Con in New York In August and will have a table at the event and print copies of Guitars and Cages which I will be signing. I’ll also have some cool swag to give away and look forward to meeting folks in the area who drop in.  

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