Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category
I was out on a walk Saturday morning, listening to my iPod, when a song by my favorite band came on and it hit me: This could be Mike James’ theme song.
Mike, you might remember, is the hero in Bree & Mike’s story (the one with the crappy title). He’s the one who wants everyone to think he’s a playboy so he can avoid romantic entanglements with nice girls like my heroine … the one who doesn’t think he deserves a nice girl to love and love him.
The song that seemed to fit him to a T is Depeche Mode’s “Wrong.”
I reached the wrong ends by the wrong means
It was the wrong plan
In the wrong hands
The wrong theory for the wrong man
The wrong eyes on the wrong prize
The wrong questions with the wrong replies …
I was marching to the wrong drum
With the wrong scum
Pissing out the wrong energy
Using all the wrong lines
And the wrong signs
With the wrong intensity
When it comes to Mike, all true. Well, he does say the right things (at least the right things for an outrageous flirt), but for the wrong reasons.
I shouldn’t be surprised. Depeche Mode has been my favorite group since high school, and I often find ways to apply their lyrics to life. In college, I quoted “New Dress” (about how changing a vote can change the world) in some political science paper.
Now I’m wondering if this makes Mike more of an anti-hero. Oh, he’s definitely not as dark as Gareth, the alcoholic since age 14 who’s trying to escape his abusive father by taking refuge with my almost-as-messed-up heroine.
But Mike at least fancies himself a “bad boy,” courtesy of his past.
I love this story. I hope I can find someone who likes it as much as I do.
The working title has been “To Catch a Wife” … but that’d be coming totally from Mike’s perspective — and only AFTER he realizes he wants one, about 1/3 of the way into the book.
I could call it “To Catch a Spouse,” since they’re both after one of those (Bree at the start and Mike later on) — but that’s kind of generic. I might just need a completely new title. Maybe “The Virgin and the Playboy’? (Except Mike’s not really a playboy, he just pretends to be one … and Bree doesn’t stay a virgin for long. She and Mike get together in Chapter 3 … or maybe it’s 4. I’d have to check.)
Speaking of titles, I’m not wild about Cassie & Dustin’s, either. (That one’s been dubbed “Daring to Love.”) That’s probably why I continue to call those stories “Bree & Mike” and “Cassie & Dustin.”
Brad and Erin (“Operation Snag Mike Brad”) and Kari and Damien (“Blind Date Bride”) are different. Those titles sprang, fully formed, from the depths of my imagination, and I often use them when referring to their stories.
Ugh. Titles are nearly as bad as queries and synopses. They have to convey so much in so few words — tone, substance — and they have to be interesting enough to jump off the shelf and into readers’ hands (or at least out of the inbox into editor’s hands).
Any tips on coming up with a good one? I’m all ears!
I recently discovered the blog of Nathan Bransford — Literary Agent. He’s both witty and wise … and rumor has it that he responds almost immediately to queries, whether he wants to see more or not. I’ve yet to test that myself because I haven’t quite perfected my query for “Blind Date Bride” and he doesn’t do category romance.
Anyway, after reading his latest entry, “The Greatest Strength of a Writer: Willpower,” I was inspired.
The last line, in particular, spoke to me:
If writing is always fun, you may be doing it wrong.
So simple, yet so true. For years, I’ve been one of those “I write when the muse inspires me” people. As a result, I haven’t gotten much done. Several partial MSs lurk in my computer files — all about half finished.
Now that I’ve committed to writing more regularly, first preparing my Golden Heart entry, then in the NaNoWrimo and now through our NARWA Word Count Club, I’m accomplishing a lot more.
- I entered a revised version of my very first MS (Operation Snag Mike Brad” in the Golden Heart, didn’t final and just found out my scores were solidly mediocre.
- I wrote about 25K of the 40K I wanted to get done during the NaNo, finishing the complete MS in early December. I’ve done some revisions and just shipped off the first 55 pages to the Orange Rose contest. (Blind Date Bride)
- I finished the first draft of another category-length MS. (Beauty and the Ballplayer)
- I’m almost done revising and expanding the second story in my “Women of Willow’s Grove” series. It was about 10K too short for category romance … now it’s just about right. (It’s tentatively titled “Daring to Love,” but I’m thinking it needs a new title.) Next up: fixing all the head-hopping in the third book in the series, “To Catch a Wife,” and expanding it. (It’s also about 10K too short for category.)
- I’ve started querying on my GH entry (receiving about 5 e-rejections in response to my e-queries). I also just finished a query and synopsis for “Blind Date Bride,” but haven’t started querying yet because I’m not sure it’s ready.
Whew! That’s a lot of work in the last seven or so months. And I owe it all to commitment. Sometimes I even sit down to write when I’d rather be doing something else.
OK, that’s rare. These days, I don’t want to do anything else. Our NARWA guest speaker back in January, Jennifer Ashley, lit a motivational fire under my behind when she said, “Treat writing like your day job and it will become your day job.” (You can read my post-meeting blog post here.)
Tomorrow is a day off from work. I’m planning to get in some more quality writing time … after I sneak in a workout. I’ve been neglecting my health/fitness goals lately and need to get back on track.
That whole “butt in chair” thing works in a healthy lifestyle, too — except it might better be phrased as “feet on pavement” or “butt in gym.” The point is, you have to do it regularly to get good results.
I thought it was tough to find balance when I was on my own, but this week has given me a glimpse of what writers go through when they have husbands and families.
I was on vacation this week, and I spent it with the Boyfriend. Don’t get me wrong: It’s been great. But my writing productivity has gone way down.
When we were home together, he wanted to play. When I was here alone, I had time to write … but about the time I hit my stride, I had to stop to cook or answer the phone or do a load of laundry or run to the grocery store.
Anyway, I’m tipping my hat to you writers who juggle family responsibilities and still have time to create the stories I love to read. Maybe someday I’ll get better at doing the same.