MJ Monday: Manuscript — Keeping Characters in Character

I recently finished the revisions on my next book (stay tuned for more details closer to publication date).  My editor and I went back and forth on the ending. She wanted me to do something I felt wasn’t in character for my hero/heroine. I thought that what I had written would suffice. She wanted more. It was a delicate balance. In the end, what the reader wants (according to my editor) won out.

I guess I’m not a typical reader. When the same thing happens in books I otherwise love, I want to toss the book against the wall. There is a Very Famous Author who does this all the time. Her rough-and-tumble heroes suddenly start sounding as if Shakespeare wrote their dialogue at the end of the book. That guy is not the guy I (and the heroine) fell in love with! It’s fraud. Bait and switch.

I lived with my characters for a couple of years. The hero has been knocking around in my head closer to twenty years. I know this werewolf. He’s not a gushy male.

I once saw an older couple being interviewed on TV. The question to the wife was, “When was the last time he told you he loved you?” She gave an exact date, which was kind of weird. When the husband came out, he was asked, “When was the last time you told her you loved her?” He gave the exact date. The wife explained: “It was our wedding day. He said I love you, and if I ever change my mind I’ll let you know.”

I think that’s who I had in mind when I wrote the final scene in my next book.

 

MJ Monday-Manuscript: What is to Come

I am in the process of finishing up the final book of the Service for Sanctuary trilogy.  I’ll share the cover and the playlist when I have a release date.

In the meantime, I’m between projects. I’m hesitant to start something new right now, because I don’t want to be so deep into research or writing then get pulled out to revise the upcoming release. At this time, I have the luxury of time.

The next book I have in mind is a mystery. I’ve developed a lovely backstory. It may be a trilogy. I have lots of notes. I have been doing research, in spite of myself.

One of the exercises I’ve been doing is to go back and re-read my favorite books that are mysteries with a touch of paranormal and define what it is about those books that keep me going back to them time and time again. It’s surprising how “steadfast” I am in the tropes that appeal to me.

I hope I can pull off the same magic in the book(s) I plan to write in the same genre.

 

MJ Monday-Manuscript: Finding Nuggets

As I type this, I’m “between” projects. I’ve turned in the last book I have contracted with my publisher and have gone through a couple of rounds of revisions. All good. My editor makes my book better.

I’ve been noodling around with an idea I first had back in 2010. I have the notes to prove it. Periodically I would think of something and add a note.

This past spring, ideas started coming fast and furious. New twists on the original idea.

I picked up a book belonging to my husband that I thought might be helpful. Reading it turned out to be a “gold” mine of ideas. So many nuggets! A basic plot started coming together in my head. A little more research revealed I had a “six degrees” relationship to the idea. Actually a second six-degrees relationship.

All I’m going to say right now is that I’m deep into research on something I think is going to be wonderful. I’m fairly certain it’s not a romance.

Here’s another confession: the nuggets I found weren’t gold–they were silver.

Office Update: Oct 2020

My office redo is coming along–not as nicely as I would have liked, mostly due to the fact an airline is holding my money hostage–I had to cancel a trip due to the pandemic and Delta Airlines won’t give me back my money. Thieves.

But I digress.

This book case is now behind the door.

I moved the printer into the office from the hall.

Did some more rearranging of books.

 

And brought in the white board I hope to hang at some point. I have used it several times.

 

I spent a lot of time here this summer, including a four-day virtual conference. It’s much more comfortable now than it was a year ago. More user friendly.

MJ Monday-Manuscript: Update

As I type this blog, the first draft of the next (so very delayed) book is complete. A preliminary round of revisions have been noted. I plan to delve into revisions after finishing this blog.

I used my three-week July vacation to push to the end. The problem, you see, is my writing process. And it’s not a problem, really, it’s simply the process.

Some people refer to what I do as the Headlight Method: write as far as you can see in the headlights, then wait for the headlights to reveal more.  And that’s how it goes . . . sort of. What I need to know is apparently already in my head. But my brain won’t release it to me until it’s good and ready, which is frustrating as all get out. So all the while I was making myself crazy trying to figure out how/why on a certain aspect near the end of the story, my brain was sitting back, smirking. Then, as I was typing a scene, my fingers revealed the whole thing. Without ever letting my consciousness know.

It’s enough to make a sane woman crazy.