Friday, May 13, 2011


So a friend in my writing group asked me today, where do you get your inspiration.

I think all writers get this question at one time or another. And we’ve all read a million answers that sound similar, dreams, random life acts, etc etc.

I wish my ideas were that easy.

Almost every moment of every day I have stories playing in my head. It will probably sound weird but I take the stories, novels of others and think about them in a what if scenario. For example, I recently read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward and have been working on what if. What if the brothers had other children, other relatives, what if they formed a separate gym and started actively recruiting soldiers who didn’t have warrior blood as well?

I invent characters, personalities, scenarios that would likely never happen in a Ward world. But it keeps me thinking. I spend each night, usually from 8 to 9 pm dancing around my bedroom, ipod in hand thinking of ways to make my characters musicians.

Eventually the characters evolve and want their own stories. And for those who've read my work, they are nothing like the stuff they originally evolved from.

You’re probably thinking it sounds very fan fic like, and I suppose it does, though I’ve never truly written fan fiction. Used to read a lot of it. But my ideas get to be these giant monster octopuses with 8 legs of random ideas lashing at me from all directions.

So I tried to weed out the most viable idea and then present on the page. If I struggle with parts of it I take it to the writing group to help feed me things. Often they throw out ideas that I can’t use, but it does inspire others to build and usually gives me a focus.

Unlike most I don’t do a lot of outlining. I usually have a general idea of where the story will go, but I really let the character’s guide me. Sounds crazy to people who aren’t writers, but for those of us who are, sometimes it’s just better to let the voices out.

It's how I know Seiran isn't done yet, cause he's still pretty strong in my head. The others, they come in slowly and need some work to build. But the character comes first, and once they are strong enough in my mind, they tell me about their situation and world. So I don't spend much time world building, or backstory building, cause these guys know who they are and what they have to say.

Yeah it sounds crazy to me sometimes too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finishing a Book

I wrote last night from 5:30pm to after 10pm working to finish the third novel in my Dominion series, and though I couldn't figure out how to work another sex scene in there without extending the ending past what was really needed, I did finish.

Often times I hear people speak about writing a book someday. I always smile a little and think, yeah, writing the book isn't the hard part. Finishing it is the hard part.

I started Redemption in December of last year shortly after I finished writing Inheritance (the first Dominion novel). At the time I really expected that Redemption would be the second in the series, but as it happens sometimes with characters, Sei just wasn't done talking. So I put Kelly's story aside and wrote Reclamation.

Then in February this year I got sick. For over a month I was terribly sick, missing work and not feeling strong enough to read a book let alone write one. So Kelly was again put on hold.

Then when I started to feel better, the story just wasn't working for me anymore, so I began rewriting from the beginning trying to reconnect to the character. It wasn't until last week, when I was packing, getting ready to move and thinking about all the issues the book might have that I realized I was missing out on the secondary character who was supposed to help build the novel.

Oddly enough, with 80% of the book written, I went back to add those scenes and found them easy, even flowing effortlessly. Then back to the ending which had stumped me for months. And all of a sudden it was there.

Of course it wasn't as simple as putting it down on paper. I had a few breaks in the four + hours of writing to pause and think, then go back to an earlier scene to be sure it fit.

But I remember as I was writing that last bit how I kept thinking is it enough? Can I conclude it here? Do the characters have more to say? 

For now they are finished. Of course next comes the editing, which is just as challenging as writing a book. Sometimes scenes are lost. Sometimes rewritten, sometimes added. Holes will be poked and corrections will be made.

I just wonder, for all those people out there who want to write a book, if they really get that writing's not even the hard part.