Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Threat Level: Cautiously Optimistic

As I posted last week, I’ve been in a real funk lately about my writing. I’ve had little progress on anything, and until the last couple of weeks it hasn’t been for lack of trying. I had hoped to kick start myself with the High Noon Challenge that took place over the weekend, and guess what? It worked! Cue choirs of angels.

From Wednesday until Friday of last week, I perused about half a dozen (and completely read three) Young Adult books recommended by various lovely people, and I sketched out a vague outline for a YA series I’ve been wanting to try. But whether it was my recent (repeated) viewing of Underworld, the YA vampire book that I could NOT put down (Jana, how much do I *heart* you for telling me about Twilight?), the Muse had a different direction in mind.

Between Friday night at 6pm (the start of the challenge) and Monday at 9pm, I wrote about thirty pages of an adult paranormal novel, the plot and characters of which I’ve only toyed with very briefly until now. Hmm. Where did that come from, you ask? No idea, but I’ve also written a pretty decent background for the characters and the Rules of Engagement for this particular universe. This is definitely not chick lit. It’s grittier than what I normally write, and the heroine is both a tortured soul and a calculating killer with super powers, so she’s not exactly someone I’m used to having in my head either. So far, though, I’m enjoying this departure. Maybe what the Muse needed was a break from the same old, same old and a jaunt into something a little darker.

One of the reasons I’ve shied away from paranormal thus far is that editors seem to want their paranormal with a side of steaminess, and I hate—HATE—writing love scenes. But while I haven’t progressed to writing that critical element yet, I can already tell that I’m a little more comfortable with it. The characters I’m writing about are not regular human beings, certainly not people with whom I have (pretend) relationships with. It’s easier to write sex scenes when you’re writing about slightly surreal characters. Or so I hope, anyway. Don’t get me wrong—this isn’t going to be erotica, not even close. But when you have a hot-tempered killer for a heroine and an ungodly beautiful vampire for a hero, you’ve got to have some shagging. It’s just expected. I’ll let you know how that goes when I get there.

At any rate, I am relieved and happy to be writing again. I’m still in the honeymoon phase with this project, in which I’m discovering how the characters mesh (or don’t) and shaping plotlines so that they will eventually intersect. I’m figuring out tone (though that seems to be coming easily at the moment) and working out character backgrounds, and doing some historical research because you can’t write seven-hundred-year-old characters without cracking some history books. This part is fun—the real test will be in the next few weeks when I find out if this puppy will work at all. But so far, all is well and I’m pleased with my progress.

This is SO much better than last week.


Anonymous Anne said...

Cool! Sounds like an intruiging thing you've got going on there. Sometimes it's good to step outside your norm, I think. It's challenging, but it forces you to grow, and that's good. I need to do that more. Lord knows my class last fall did a bit of that for me, but not quite enough!

I'm glad the Muse came back and that you're making progress :) Very good things there ;)

5:12 PM  
Blogger Jana J. Hanson said...

And how much do I love *you* for admitting you can't write sex scenes (though I seriously beg to differ but whatever).

So glad you liked Twilight -- isn't it wonderful? I cannot wait for the sequel in October (New Moon). Stephenie Meyer is going to be a guest blogger at OOTB soon too, probably in March.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Melanie Hayden said...

Anne, you're right--stepping outside my comfort zone can only be a good thing. It's stretching me as far as tone, characterization, research and a whole lot of other things as well!

Jana, I'm just being honest--I am really, really uncomfortable with sex scenes. I think I might have to be drunk to write them, in fact. And I LOVED Twilight! I was wondering about a sequel--now I have a countdown. Yay! I'll keep an eye out for her blog at OOTB.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Loribelle Hunt said...

Congrats on finding your muse!

Do sex scenes ever get easier lol? I've written over a dozen and they are always a struggle.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Barbi Kremen said...

Mel- from what I've read so far I love this story. It's cold; it's hot, and it oozes sexiness. If it's hard for you in the bedroom scenes you certainly got it right in the fight scenes. If you keep plugging along like you are, I'd say Ann Rice will have some better dressed competition in the occult world. xo

10:20 AM  
Blogger Crystal Jordan said...

Congrats on the kick start, Mel. Hope this project works out!

3:31 PM  
Blogger Faith said...

Hello? Anyone in here? LOL!

1:53 PM  

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