I’ve been taking a mental health weekend. Yesterday was all about getting prepped for the first official public show for Don’t Tell Joe, which went well despite some problems with the weather and a last minute move of the set up inside. And today has just been, for the most part, blissfully lazy. I’ve been working my way through the Wolf Lake marathon I DVRed and cooking (brownies, chicken noodle soup and batch cooking some black beans–contemplating some scones later).
Pot and I have been doing some more discussion/analysis trying to get to the bottom of my problem with HiS. She made a few interesting observations that I hadn’t really thought about. Because of the fact that I am a strong-willed, proactive woman, I usually gravitate toward heroines who are the same. I historically write stories about “a woman who…[fill in the blank]”. I write heroine-centric stories. Despite my great love of hero-centric stories, it’s just not what I typically write. HiS, as currently written, is not a heroine centric story. It’s not exactly a hero-centric story either. Everything about this book is atypical for me. Usually, when I start a book based on a “what if…” premise, characters follow very shortly thereafter. And then the “what if…” premise becomes their story. In this particular case, I began with my “what if…” premise and I carried on through an entire book with these two people who I manipulated in an I am the author god and I dictate that things happen like this sort of way. Instead of writing their story, I wrote A story. And I think that’s a reflection of something else we observed. Somewhere in the last year or so, as I have moved toward being more of a professional about my writing, it has become an issue of creating a product rather than telling a story. The story has become not a story about a woman who or a man who… to becoming a paranormal romance/urban fantasy in which x,y, z happens.
So it needs to become Marley’s story. A story about a woman who is willing to go to the ends of the earth to find the best friend who disappeared. And Conall’s story, a story about a man who must embrace the nature he hates to save the woman he loves. And the story about how they come together, how Conall chips through the mile thick layer of ice and knocks the chip off her shoulder enough to make her fall in love with him. You know, the actual story, not just the convenient “they’re fated to be mates, so of course they fall in love with each other”. I have to look at them as people, not pawns on my own mental chessboard.
And in the meantime I’m getting a handful of brave souls to beta read this rough draft, knowing that it’s been unedited and has some holes in it big enough to drive a semi through. I want to see if my gut is right and whether unbiased readers see the same problems with it that I do. I’ve had a couple of kind offers. If there are any other takers out there who like giving honest, gut reaction as a reader beta reads, let me now. I’m game for multiple opinions.