Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Meet Caleb and Theresa

About two weeks after Jon passed away, I got an email from an old friend. It was actually a mass email, and my husband and I were included in it, letting many people know that he had just self-published a novel and giving the link to it on Amazon. Frankly, considering the type of people I have been friends with over the years, I'm surprised that this is the first email of this kind I have ever gotten. I suspect everyone I went to college with, plus a whole lot of others, thinks they have a novel in them. God knows I do. I've had one particular story in mind for many, many years, and I plan to start working on it for reals soon, but until then I have to face the fact that many first-time authors neglect: I've never written a novel and I don't actually know how to do it.

Sure, I know how to put a damn pithy sentence together. I can write a hell of a paragraph when I'm of a mind, and I've written articles/columns that were not vomit-inducing as far as I know. But novels are complex and while I think I'm smart enough to figure it out, I don't think I can make it sing on the first go. I feel like I need to take a couple practice runs at it first, not just to get the feel of novel writing, but also just to get back in the practice of writing fiction. You know, made up stuff and not just a description of my primitive quilt binding techniques. (I use large rocks and a series of grunts.)

I wasn't going to tell you about this until I was ready to do it, but since I have nothing else to tell you about today and it's Tuesday, I'll go ahead and fill you in on what I plan to start later this spring.

First, let me say that I love romance novels. LOVE THEM. I love many different kinds: contemporary, historical, "urban paranormal." Yes, that last one is a thing and it's awesome.  A lot of people really hate romance novels because of all the sex, and yes, romance novels are, in many ways, just erotica with a LOT of plot. I see nothing wrong with this; I think it's fun. I have absolutely no issues with graphic descriptions of people getting it on, and some authors are better at it than others. But the sex is not the main reason I love these books. I love the hunt for a writer who can take a genre that is, frankly, fairly routine, and make it sparkle with snappy writing, great characters, and a story that might be just a little more interesting than the usual I-need-you-to-pretend-to-be-my-date-even-though-I-actually-hate-you-whoops-I'm-attracted-to-you-even-though-I-hate-you-let's-go-bump-bits-to-get-it-out-of-our-system-nope-it's-not-out-yet-so-let's-get-married-instead plot line. So, it's not like I whip every Harlequin off the shelf and love them all unconditionally. I also feel this way about mystery/thrillers, but not with quite the same affection, and I don't feel personally compelled to write about a hard-boiled detective who just can't play by the book because of his inner demons and sense of justice. There's just something about boy-meets-girl and their long pursuit of connubial happiness that I just think is fun. (Don't worry, I also have a whole list of "serious" writers whom I worship with something akin to a religious fervor, so I'm not just wading in pulp ALL the time.)

Anyway, I always thought it would be fun to try and write a romance novel, especially a comic one, and that it would be a great way to get the feel of character and pacing and plot that one needs in order to write a full-length story. Then I discovered the most glorious thing ever devised by the human mind: The Romance Novel Plot Generator. You can choose straight romance, LGBT romance, paranormal romance, or mystery/crime romance. I knew right away that I wanted paranormal, because I know I can make paranormal really funny, and this is what I got:

The girl's name is Theresa and she is energetic and a hard worker. She enjoys crafts. Her occupation is artist and overall she is suffering a physical problem . She is also able to heal through physical contact.
Her hair is blonde and long and straight. She is 5'8" and is softly rounded and with generous curves . She wears off-the wall, unique clothes that make her stand out in a crowd
She meets Caleb at his work. He is a Fireman , distinctive and sad , and he enjoys gardening. He appears to be worried . He is also able to sense the emotions of animals.
His hair is streaked with blonde highlights and very long. He is 6' and has a well developed chest and strong arms. He wears sexy shirts and expensive trousers, like a playboy.
The paranormal situation these two face is a coven of good witches has been spotted.
Answer these questions:
  • Why do they meet there?
  • Why is she there?
  • Why is he there?
The obstacle to their romance that they must overcome is that if people found out about the paranormal situation and their involvement, there would be serious social consequences. When one of them is willing to sacrifice themself to save the other it brings them to the realization that they can overcome the obstacle.

IS THAT NOT THE GREATEST THING EVER? As soon as I read this—well, okay, after I got up off the floor and wiped the tears of laughter off my face—I knew I had to try and write it. A blonde, long-haired, sad fireman who enjoys gardening and can sense the emotions of animals? I'm on it. A curvy blonde artist/crafter who wears "unique" clothes and can heal through physical contact? Needs work, but we'll get there. But the absolute best part is where it says the obstacle to their relationship is that if anyone found out about "the paranormal situation" there would be "serious social consequences." That is so hilarious, it makes me happy every time I read it.

So, in a month or two, I am going to start writing this book. It will probably suck, but that's okay, because it is meant to be for practice. And for fun. And I'm going to share it as I write it. I'm going to start a new blog, serioussocialconsequences.blogspot.com, and as I write, I will post the sections and chapters there. People who keep up can read the posts as they appear, but I will also maintain a section of pages that has the whole book in order. 

I think this is going to be a lot of fun and I hope you'll pop over now and again to see how it's going. I'll warn everyone if I decide to write anything steamy and I'll probably offer alternative scenes for prudes, wimps, or relatives. There's no reason the victims of our sex-negative society should miss out on the fun. A coven of good witches has been spotted! This could have serious social consequences! I think this is a plot we all can enjoy. And make fun of. 

I'll make another announcement when this is ready to go. Meanwhile, I'll be daydreaming about a hunky fireman dressed like a pimp, wiping a tear from his eye as he pets a basset hound who only pooped in his marigolds because of low self-esteem.

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