Musings Over Coffee: That Loving Feeling

So according to this page, I’ve got 44 days before Falling for Jordan launches, 41 days before I need to upload the final file to the retailers. Yup, I had to make a countdown page for myself because after I’d written 23K words, you’d think I’d keep going but NO… I had to start over and whip my heroine into “shape.”

  1. Remove her blah-blah-blah thoughts. Let her go right into the action.
  2. Remove her parents – hell, make her have a miserable childhood, unlike the original version where she had a beautiful one for a change (none of my heroines have nice childhoods by the way. Readers have asked if I hate my heroines so much…). Check.
  3. Remove her mother’s college education background and make her a mysterious bar maid and kill the dad off early on. No, he’ll leave her because that’s what men do in a novel and make the woman suffer suffer suffer. Check.
  4. Remove any happy thoughts the heroine may have had over being pregnant. Check and double check.
  5. Oh, and make her triple horny. So horny it’s all she thinks about even though she’s got a 10-week old baby. Check.

Now on to the hero. 

  1. Remove his happy parents. Check.
  2. Remove his happy friend. Check
  3. Remove his happy demeanor because, you know, a hero can’t come out of the gate likeable, right? There’s got to be something wrong with him. And her. And everyone in the book. Check and triple check.

Result?

I now have 8K brand new words of characters I absolutely detest and don’t recognize. It’s like I sent them to the cosmetic surgeon so they’d fit into whatever is sitting on the top 10 of any Amazon sub category and had them altered to fit what readers were buying even if it’s not what I write. This morning, I hated the idea of waking up so I could finish the beautiful story I’d butchered. No wonder the characters now refuse to talk to me or if they did, this is what they’re telling me:

So this morning, I woke up thinking, screw the rewrite. Screw writing to what fits the market. There was nothing wrong with the first draft that I wrote that was filled with happy characters who hooked up one night and end up with a baby. My characters were likeable and just the way they were meant to be. There’s nothing wrong with being happy. Nothing wrong with having a happy childhood for a change. Nothing wrong with letting the characters tell their story, sex or no sex.

Nothing wrong with writing the way I’ve always written–by the seat of my pants and letting the characters tell me their story–something I’ve acutely forgotten in the last few months…

Anyway, how’s your Friday shaping up?

Oh, and before I forget, don’t forget to enter the preorder giveaway!

Back On the (Right) Track Again

Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash

After going off the rails with my last project, it’s crunch time right now. I’ll either make my preorder or I don’t. And if I make the deadline, I’ll probably end up with subpar work because, well, I don’t know how I can come up with a good story in less than a month. But I’ll have to work at it because I have to come up with a story either way, whether it’s the scheduled pre-order or something else. Of course, preferably, the preorder because the date’s been set and I really do want to finish it.

If only I can finish it without having to remind myself to listen to my gut next time and walk away when the doubts keep on coming. If your gut doesn’t shut up and screams its head off that you’re going the wrong direction, listen, for crying out loud. There’s a reason for that. Your gut instinct always knows what’s right.

So… lesson learned and it’s time to get back on the tracks and keep going.

Speaking of tracks, my current story features a mile long unused rail platform in Manhattan’s West Village that was almost demolished if not for the Friends of the High Line raising over $50 million to create what is now the High Line Park. It features lots of plants and even seasonal exhibits and viewing platforms along various parts of the tracks where you can sit above traffic and chill. My character lives in a prewar apartment building close to the High Line and so a few of the scenes I’ve written so far feature this location.

And I know I’m definitely on the right track again. You know why? My gut feeling isn’t screaming its head off. It’s quite happy. Very happy.

It’s A Tough Business

Writing is a tough business.
It’s tough getting the “right” idea on paper
and pushing through all the words until the very last one.
Tougher when you realize that you can’t just write one book.
You need to write the next one (preferably a series), and just get it done.
It’s tough to listen to well-meaning critics go on and on
about how traditionally-published books are a hundred times better than yours,
tougher still when you believe all the hype
and so you find yourself knocking on closed doors.
It’s tough to hear people say anyone can write a book–even their cat.
It’s tough knowing it’s not enough to pour your heart and soul onto that page,
You also need to wear that business hat.
It’s tough seeing yourself fumble through all the marketing
only to see your beloved book buried beneath all the rest;
visibility is the writer’s worst enemy, it’s true, but keep on hustling
for this gig is not a test.
It’s tough when you don’t have the supportive network of family
and friends to help you through the tough times;
not that you’ll want them to buy your book for their buying habits
will only mess up your also-boughts, and that would be a crime.
It’s tough when you find out that no one’s bought your book;
tougher still when you realize that no one’s heard of it. They haven’t even looked.
And when you think you’re doing everything right,
it’s tough to hear about the ones who game the system and win.
It’s a tough business over all, just don’t do as they do,
don’t let your morals wear thin.
Because it’s a tough business any way you look at it,
made even tougher when you’ve got things to prove to yourself.
It’s tough when you hear the doubters say you’ll never make it,
made even tougher when they’re all inside your head.

EDITED TO ADD: I wrote this as a response to an author saying she was quitting the business after the latest KDP ranking manipulation scam (click-farms) that hit again during the weekend. So a lot was lost in the absence of context. 

Windblown

It’s been a long detour, I tell you, and I think I’m finally back on track. And whose music gets me back on track for the series his song started in the first place?

Yup, Brendan James!