When I started my NaNo project this year, I had a picture of my hero. Dr. Simon Oliver was a a goofy professor type – a man who studies the paranormal, but was kind of funny and doing prat falls while he rode in on his white horse to save the day. My placeholder? Nathan Fillion. I mean, who doesn’t live Captain Mal/Rick Castle? So I had a plan and a starting point.
But then one day I was driving in the car and there was nothing worth listening to on the radio. Little did I know what an impact crappy radio would have on my current work in progress. I popped in the first CD I could find, which happened to be a mix I recorded eons ago. I’d forgotten what was even on the thing, but soon found out I had a lot of Billy Joel, some Beatles (Blackbird always makes me cry), Blondie, Concrete Blond – my normal eclectic mix of everything from soup to nuts. And then a song came on I hadn’t heard in years. I’d forgotten about it, but the second it came on, I was transfixed. The singer’s voice was smooth as velvet and his face came to me the moment I heard him sing.
Suddenly had a new hero. He wasn’t goofy at all, but this completely implacable guy who could take anything my heroine (the crazy writer Evelyn Grayson – and she’s full of writer crazy) could throw at him with a grin and, eventually, affection.
I hesitate to share my placeholder images with you, because I like the reader to come up with their own picture for my characters. Heck, normally by chapter three, the character has changed in my mind’s eye, anyway. But not this guy. This guy is staying Hal in my head. Not that I know anything about the real Hal; heck, I don’t even own one of his albums. But the face, the voice – it’s all sticking. And the character who formed around him… all I can say is wow.
I like my male characters, don’t get me wrong. Kevin always makes me grin, Max made me want to hug him, David makes me want to go out and watch NewsRadio and Kids In the Hall (I mean who besides me bases a hero off Dave Foley?), but Hal makes me want to fall in love. I am obsessed with this guy, to the point when I think of him, I get a silly grin. Really. Me? An almost 40-something mother of three has totally got a crush. On a fictional character.
So Dr. Simon Oliver/Nathan is no more. As of this morning, my hero has a new name, a new background – hell, he’s a whole new guy. And his name? Hal, of course. Hal Buchanan. For now, anyway. He might change. But his character won’t. He’s as clear as day in my mind’s eye, and good God he’s a sexy Southern gentleman who just happens to chase ghosts for a living.
Oh, and the picture above? My new desktop picture. And yes, I grin silly every time I turn on my computer.
So tell me – ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Well, Cursed is actually going pretty well. I’m behind, but I’m always behind on NaNo.
At the moment, I’ve decided I need a sex scene. A no-strings-attached kind of sex scene, which breaks the rules, so to speak. But since they hero and heroine will get their HEA, is it really cheating? And since I probably won’t actually let them do it…
I don’t know why I like ripping the rug out from under my characters just when they’re about to get busy. And since I use that phrase, a lot of people are suggesting I actually use a rug. Huh. We’ll have to see how that works its way in.
So far I’m on page 18, and I’ve killed a window washer, injured a bike messenger, put an office building in computer crash chaos, and have an editor in ICU. Not sure I can keep up this pace!
So long time no see again. But I have a good excuse this time. I do, too! I’ve been reading.
I discovered a new author – well, new to me. Jacqueline Winspear writes absolutely fabulous 1930s English mysteries, and I have been positively sucked in! I put one down, I have to pick up the next one and start reading.
In doing this, I realized something. Like some kind of crazy college kid with a literary fetish, I am a binge reader. I will suck down four or five books at a time, then not read again for a month. Recent medical issues have granted me lots of page time, I’ll admit, but I’ve always done this. I have no real excuse. But I might have an explination.
When I write, I tend to get sucked into the world I’m writing. When I’m actively writing a book, I cannot read – at least not something close to my own genre or an author with a strong voice, because I will tend to suck up a little of that voice and use it myself. Not consciously, of course, but after reading Jennifer Weiner’s Good In Bed, I totally mimicked her voice in a project I was working on. Didn’t realize it at the time, but reading it now, it’s clear as day.
I think this is why if I get involved with a series, I need to read as much of it as possible before I move on. I get into that world, then need to get through it, soak it up, and then let my palate cleanse before I pick up the next series or author. If I read one series immediately after another, or picked up a different author immediately after finishing a book, it would be like eating hot chilli and moving onto fettucini Alfredo. My taste would be burnt.
So I’ll keep binging, then take my breaks. And November is coming, folks. You know what that means.
So I am starting a new novel! Yay! Not a whole lot of plot done, yet, but that’s not usual for me. But what I really need is a working title.
In a nutshell, the story is about a book possessed by a demon that kills or injures everyone who comes in contact with it. The author needs to find a solution before it takes more lives and the demon possesses her.
So here are some possible titles. Let me know what you think:
Devil’s in the Dialogue
That Damned Book (yes, I’m kinda kidding with that one, but I’m desperate)
Any other ideas? Recognition in the acknowledgments is up for grabs. And maybe some actually cool prize.
Well, I did it. I just put in my application to re-join RWA. This is just one of many steps involved in coming back to life as a writer. Real life has kicked me in the butt for a very long time now, and I’ve been distracted. As evidenced by the lack of activity on this blog. But writing has to become a priority for me again. It’s what makes me happy, whether I’m under contract or not, so I need to carve out a space for it in my life.
But it’s a delicate balance, that writing career paired with the job, the kids, and the marriage. And the house work. Oh, volunteer work. Oh crap, what’s wrong with me?
A prime example of why I haven’t written a new book in a couple years came this last weekend when I had planned to go to the South Dakota Festival of Books. I had my reservations, got my registration in early, and even planned dinner with a friend. However, Friday came and the youngest was having some issues about attending his first Boy Scout Camporee without me. He’s been camping before with these same folks, but going without Mom – well, he was trying to be brave, but the tears were flowing anyway. So since I was pretty much pushing him into going (he hates camping – can’t blame him), I decided that my mom duty was more important and reservations were canceled. The mommy-guilt would have killed me if I totally threw him into the deep end without me.
So I now have a huge mark in the “Good Mommy” column that I can later transfer to the “Selfish Bitch” column to cash in for guilt-free writing time. And I plan to do that this week, settling down at my favorite coffee shop and writing a synopsis for Guys and Dogs.
Except I forgot I promised to be at a friend’s Home Interiors party tonight.
I know a lovely lady who is just about beside herself juggling a three-book contract, a full-time crazy job, family and home. She’s very together most of the time, but this is pushing her to the edge. Hell, I can relate, and I’m not even under contract. But if I want to be, I’d better get on it.
So is this the writer’s lot in life? Full-time insanity walking the tightrope? Did I say this made me happy? Oh yeah, it does. So I guess I go nuts for awhile. Or the rest of my life. Whatever.