Old Enough… these drafts, I mean…

 

Today I’m blog-hopping again with Romance Writers Weekly and the question on the blog hop today is from Leslie Hachtel:

What is the writing project you’re thinking about doing next and why.

My Next Project

My next project is the same next project I’ve had since the very last day my bosoms were perky. Two books: one a romantic comedy and the other? A cozy mystery. I started these back when I had abs and a sense of self-worth. Like me, the drafts are old and tired now. Over-worked in some areas, neglected in others. When necessary, flip and glib dialogue is hoping to distract from narrative falling arcs. (That’s an old-age falling-arches joke I tried on but I can tell as I re-read it…. well…. are we halfway to pathetic yet?) You get the idea. My next projects are ageing. Not like wine, like fish.

I’ve been writing the same two books: the eponymous Old Enough and Ugly Enough (chipping away at this for more than ten years) and The Paper Bag Party (a new wine into an old skin…. very bad for narrative, great for word count).

Old Enough and Ugly Enough

The OEUE book is my favourite of the many drafts hogging space in my mental life. It’s a love story. It’s funny. I wrote it while I was writing hideous (well, kinda ok, mostly hideous) novellas I was hoping to throw to then-budding Carina Press. They didn’t bite (rightly so) and I self-pubbed (regrets). Just for the record, though: I was the first to jump on the zombie romance train. I wove these semi-atrocities into the OEUE narrative eventually. Having a minor in Semiotics, I felt very meta and overweening self-reference seemed the way to go. Screw you fourth wall, I was going for footnotes and a YouTube study-guide. (Actually, I have indexed all my novellas and short-story collections so if you’re on the ‘Zon and buy some random self-published atrocity BUT it has footnotes and/or an index… I likely wrote it.)

In truth? I was tired of all romance heroines being 23-27, short, and either svelte or “curvy.” I wanted a 40+ love story and maybe a bit of sag. I’m not very curvy. I’m what happens when an athlete in her forties has large babies. I’m floopy.

The dude? Not pretty. I hate pretty. He’s handsome. No shaved chesticles. No tattoos (or maybe one or two old craggy ones). Just a real dude. Like the dude I married.

The story? Plausible and not suffering from bull-poopy tired “conflict” tropes which can usually be settled in a five minute conversation that could happen if one character just STFU for four of those five minutes and hear the other person out. No way man. I went for our story (plus some embellishments because, frankly, I am a bit dull). It’s a good one, I think (ignore previous aside LOL). It’s 44K but because I felt it was my “good” book (the one Richard Curtis will buy and make into a film) I focussed on the second book because it was easier to write (and shorter). I needed REAL writing time for OEUE. That’s not something I have just now.

The Paper Bag Party

This offshoot sprang from my experiences working in less glamorous (but more lucrative) places, having some technically unsavory clients (nothing I’d put on a CV) and published in some brown paper-packaged magazines. Totally legit, don’t get me wrong. We always say “I don’t judge” but you know what? We always do. I have a friend randomly wrapped up in some branches from this gig and I rolled it from some of her experiences. But by this point I was grokking cozy mysteries (ask me how much I love those first few authors Henery Press had… in alphabetical order): Gretchen Archer, Terri L Austin, Susan M Boyer, Larissa Reinhart, LynDee Walker. I met them all from their first books and decided, then and there, that this was my new favourite genre.

I’ve got the comedy part figured out. The romance figured out. I keep trying to bribe Terri to write the rest for me. No luck. (Terri, if you’re reading this, please finish my book for me.)

This year, as with every year, I vow that I will finish a draft. I have beta reader offers coming out my wazoo. I know a ton of people in “the industry” (play racquetball, people!) and am all set with readers, editors, branding, blah blah blah. What I don’t have, ultimately, is the concentrated time. Writing in ten-minute increments is good only for, well, writing blogs. I write about 100K+ worth of blogs every year (that’s word count, not $$) and at least half of that is for other people. I think I’m chickening out a bit (a lot).

So having said all that: my next two projects are as above. My real project is to stop writing blogs and just, to quote the exquisite Sarah Hegger who rides my tail when I whine thus: “finish the damn book.”

One last thing….

In a fit of pique, and recognizing that not all things started should be finished, I DESTROYED a manuscript for which I actually had an interested publisher (who sent notes on fixes they wanted to see). I hated the book. Everything about it. I just didn’t want to write that one anymore. It’s gone. I feel great.

Thank you super groovy muchissimo for joining me today. Next stop on le hop is A.S. Fenichel. Just keep hopping ’til you get back here then remember to subscribe to my blog. Now that my noggin is out of my keister, I’ll be writing more this fiscal. Lent’s coming which means it’s prolific time for my writing sphere.

 

 

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