Tuesday, August 05, 2014

One of the Guys

My first book was a psychological thriller I wrote shortly after I graduated high school. To this date, Whispers of Insanity is my shortest novel and the only novel that has only a male main lead. I didn't purposely choose to do it that way, I just knew the story belonged to Codey Mathews, no one else. I really confused agents with that one because apparently I wrote him very convincingly for being a *gasp* woman. I also did something they didn't like. I gave the antagonist his own viewpoint scenes. To please interested publishers, I tried to ditch those scenes.  Didn't work. The story lost heart and I lost interest in it until I took the plunge and threw it out there. Funny, readers loved my antagonist as much as Codey in some aspects.

Then I wrote my second book, a horror suspense. I was Mom at that point and the book grew from a nightmare I had. If you read the prologue of the book, that's built on details from the nightmare. What can I say, I dreamed very vividly back then. It turned out to be just a tad longer than Whispers of Insanity and had my first no-nonsense, don't mess with her, female. She was a mom fighting to save her children from old black magic. She had to be so.

And then the Manipulated Trilogy sprouted in my mind.  Funny, it started from two characters I had developed for another psychological thriller I thought I wanted to write. I developed the characters more and BAM - Ravyn didn't want to be merely human or from Earth. She also wasn't some alien life form. She also got impossible if I tried to direct her story. So I let her lead it all along with Kyle, Kyle, the college man who kept Ravyn grounded - who actually starts out the story and shares the stage with Ravyn and a few others through the trilogy. Again I apparently pulled off writing a male convincingly because readers loved it too. And Ravyn, well, she didn't much care what anyone thought, including me. She did a fine job driving the entire trilogy, though, and I have to give her credit for the surprise ending everyone adored.  She ran with the guys, that's for sure.

And then came Desire. A hundred years into our future, her people and world star in Rise of the Arcadians. She's stubborn, but a tad uncertain too. Still, she accomplishes everything she sets out to do and she does so with the support of the male lead, but with her own stubbornness, smarts, and determination.

Among the Ancients was more of a challenge for me because Kynly is more timid and uncertain than any of the other females I wrote. She grows into her own though and takes on the responsibilities she doesn't want but ended up with anyway.

The Disillusionment Series was a whole other beast. Seven books, a fantasy family saga that included a war with the gods of old and spans hundreds of years. Tryn Brye Annis was a warrior from the start but frail until being reborn. Then she's a force to fear if anyone threatens her or her family. I have to admit her life story surprised me a bit, as did her daughter Kira. But it was Tarenek, her son and his descendants who were the funnest to write. Tarenek, yes, another male main character.

The thing is, I never saw the male or female. The characters came to me naturally, the females maybe a little softer, but in no way push-overs. I read other books where the females must be taken care of by their men and, honestly, I can't relate to those women. I don't think badly of them, I just can't relate.

For me, my female characters take care of themselves and those around them, sometimes entire worlds. They usually need support, but can also stand alone. Those are the female characters I also like to read and watch in movies. And they are the females I will continue to craft into my stories because I know not how to do it any other way.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Time to breathe life into new faces

I've spent a good deal of the last few weeks quietly pondering how to jumpstart the WIP that's been sitting patiently in my electronic device, waiting for me to jump on board again. Somewhere along the line with all that went on the last couple of years, I lost the connection I needed for it to take life. But it's beginning to spark again. The more I remind myself who the characters are, the better the plotting in my head is going.

For some crazy reason, though, I decided when I started this new book to skip a step I've done with my books from the beginning--drawing the main characters and having their portraits on the wall till I finished the novel. Part of that had to do with time restraints. Part of it had to do with the removal of character faces that had been on the wall for several years while I wrote the seven books of the Disillusionment Series. Maybe it seemed wrong to replace them so soon, I don't remember now. I did sketch out the world, however. And now I'm going to sketch the people.

Time is still a little tight with family, job, household, yard work (it is still summer) but by fall, I'll have things ready to go again. And I hope I'll have time to finish some more dragon paintings among other planned pieces of artwork too.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

No words are enough

There's been a long stretch of silence for this blog again. But I'm still here. A little older, a little different.  I simply don't know what it is I have to say that is interesting enough to chatter on about. Many things that drift through my mind each day would work well, but they are gone before I can toss up the mental net to grab them.  Some return, others don't.

It's been a rough few years for me and my muse. My dad, a young man in my eyes (early 60s) fell very ill. He escaped his failing body in January and is free, though I and my family will forever miss him, his well thought out advice, his laughter and silliness. There's a missing part now, an emptiness that won't be filled. But we also welcomed another to our family just a little over a month later. The first boy in our family for two generations on my side. He's growing so fast and smiles all the time and I wonder if he'll be just as silly and fun as his great grandfather.

Sometimes I think I just have too much all bottled up in my head trying to get out at once either in my writing or my art. I'm having trouble making sense of it all. Too much to take care of in the real world right now, I suppose.

It's crazy how tenuous the muse can be. For years while I was raising my girls, my oldest throwing challenges at me at every turn, I wrote. I wrote my first two books in the early 1990s using nothing more than an electric typewriter on the kitchen table next to the baby food and highchair, and later a word processor. The first computer came to this house in 2000. It was amazing to work on compared to what I had been doing. Then it crashed one day taking a rewrite of my second book with it. That's when I became a crazy saver and backer-upper. I had it backed up on a floppy disk, but everything had somehow gotten corrupted. I had an old version of that book in hard copy and typed that in, but I never did build it up better like I had in the file I lost.

I wrote Rise of the Arcadians, Among the Ancients, and the first of my seven book Disillusionment Series on a laptop that crashed more often than not, but by then, CDs and then travel drives existed, so I backed up all the time. And then I invested in a MacBook and got lazy again because it was so stable. I finished the series on it.

Now, I'm toying with going back to a smaller screen, a small and easily portable tablet with a small keyboard, but maybe I need to make friends with my dinosaur (it's 6 years old now) Macbook again. It saw me through some of my most complicated story creations.  Or maybe I need to find my muse again, maybe a wiser more subtle muse than before, I don't know for sure. But I'll have to find some solution soon before I can't even stand to be in the same room with myself.  A mind full of too many ideas stuck in a rut tends to make a cranky creator lol.