Monthly Archives: February 2015

Writing Bad Boys

I love a bad boy. Love. I’ve written some great ones, my favorite being in a series of books that shall  never see the light of day…I think. I always redeem them in the end, because not only am I a sucker for bad boys, I’m a sucker for redemption. But I have a problem, and I blame my husband for it.

Writing the bad boy is fun, but he’s always a secondary character in my worlds. My main protags tend to be those noble heroes who always come through, and that’s why I blame my husband, because he’s who I love, and who he is–a noble hero. He has spent his life in service of others, always thinking first of what’s right for all, not just right for him. He is by no means perfect; gads that would bore the hell out of me. But Frankie D is a hero. He’s my hero. And he ends up in all my stories.

All my stories but this one…

I’m working on Waking Savannah the third Bitterly Suite Romance. From the start, Adelmo Gallegos–my male protag–was to be a bad boy. He’s a player who’s been played, bigtime, and hiding out in the relative anonymity of Bitterly, CT. He’s not a bad guy. He’s charming. He doesn’t set out to hurt people, but he’s not opposed to using them either. Problem is, though I started out with that in mind, he became the noble hero somewhere along the way, always saying the right thing, doing the right thing, putting others ahead of himself. (Dammit, Frank!) I ended up going back to page one and giving him a POV, as a way to get more of him into it.

Just like I knew I wanted him to be a bad boy, I knew I wanted him redeemed. This is a romance, after all. Giving him a POV helped, but it wasn’t completely cutting it. I was redeeming him way too fast. Farts. I went back to page one again, and magic happened.

I hadn’t boffed the first draft like I thought I did. On the contrary. It’s all there, just as it needs to be. What wasn’t there were the little nuances to show his evolution from faking it, to being sincere.

Ade’s scenes are not going to change much. His interactions with Savannah–my female protag–will remain largely the same. It’s the internal bits and pieces that will change. He’s a charmer, and she’s been alone a long time. Her vulnerability is, in part, what helps him to evolve, to become the person she believes he is. It’s that nuance I’m missing, that evolution from faking it to sincerity.

I started filling in those pieces this morning, and I’m finally out of noble-hero-mode and into bad-boy. Whew! Sometimes, it takes some wrestling to get my thoughts and intentions to align with fast-flying-fingers working somewhat on automatic.

 

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Round-About Inspiration

I am fortunate. This I know. In all the years I’ve been writing, I’ve never lacked for a plotline, the time or the drive to develop it into a novel. I never have fewer than two ideas waiting for their turn in the spotlight. Again, I’m fortunate enough to have the time to go along with the imagination–something I never feel the need to justify, or would dare to squander. That’s why I write everyday.

The  original spark for Seeking Carolina started with a writing-group prompt a couple of years ago. The scenario was, “What do you do when someone else gets what you wanted most?” Up popped Johanna and her sisters, and the locket they were all promised. Once again during writing group, the very-talented Renee Paley-Bain told us that she needs to get her hands in the dirt. Gardening is her solace and inspiration…and up popped Benny, the young widow in Dreaming August, who plants a graveyard garden and talks to ghosts. Discussing with my son how awesome it would be to, one day, live in an old-folks-home populated by writers sparked Traegar’s Lunatics, a novel unconnected to any of the others; I can’t wait to write it, but I have to finish Waking Savannah, the third book in The Bitterly Suite, as well as write the fourth, Being Charlotte. Then, thought I, would be the old-writers-home book…maybe. Because last week, while reading the latest edition of RWR (Romance Writer’s Report,) most specifically, the article about series work, a new novel was born.

There are plusses and minuses to writing in a series. A minus is getting pigeon-holed, being stuck writing in one place, with one basic set of characters, because that’s what your readers want. Well, readers wanting more is fabulous, of course, but writing in the same place for too long begins to lose its shine–especially when one is writing about a small town. The antidote for that, the article said, could be a spin-off series…spark!

Out popped Tabitha, foil for a grown-up Caleb, who appeared in The Bitterly Suite as an incidental character. The bakery first introduced in Seeking Carolina is located in Cape May, New Jersey, a gorgeous little sea-coast, Victorian town. Bitterly, Connecticut and all her locals are still present, though nebulously. Transplanting Caleb to Cape May brings both series together, while giving me a new world to write in. Now, Charlotte and Peter’s story is no longer Being Charlotte but Cape Maybe, first in the Bitterly’s Bachelors series, followed by Caleb and Tabitha in Wayward Point, and Will and Vanessa in Ocean’s Edge. Once the first novel melds The Bitterly Suite to Bitterly’s Bachelors, I can move away from the Bitterly completely and settle in Cape May. How cool is that?? I’m pretty stoked.

Never lacking for a story is a wonderful thing; keeping focused on one while the others nudge you in the back isn’t quite as wonderful, but it’s still pretty fabulous. I never know when inspiration is going to strike, but I love when it does. What about you? Where does your inspiration come from?

lighthouse

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