I’m really good at starting and never finishing. My parents can tell you that. My husband can tell you that. Call it “Ooh, shiny,” or fear of failure. I walk away from a story, a project, or cleaning right in the middle and don’t finish.
The one person who won’t tell you that I never finish anything? My boss. I can’t explain it. There’s a switch that’s flipped every morning at 6AM when I enter my cubicle. Perhaps it’s mindless exhaustion that early in the morning. Maybe it’s all the caffeine. Somehow, I am able to produce all day long.
One would think that I wouldn’t have the energy to write when I get home, or that I would walk away and never finish. I write all day at work. Sometimes work is so frustrating that I come home and bypass Dr. Phil by flipping on the XBox and killing shit for a few hours (my prey of choice are Locusts — Gears of War 3). Most of the time, I come home and write. You know. “Ooh, shiny!” Because my fantasy world is bright and shiny.
I managed to finish a five-book fantasy series. 500,000+ words. This is my first attempt at high fantasy. I never really read fantasy until a friend introduced me to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time in college. Don’t worry. I’ve read a lot of it now. Jordan. Terry Goodkind. Terry Brooks. J.R.R. Tolkien. George R.R. Martin. Some I like. Some I hate. Some I wish I could tie the author to the chair and make him write the next book. I’ve also read most of Stephen King, so I could so make that happen, Mr. Martin. I don’t even mind that you killed the Starks. I don’t care who dies, who lives, or what happens next. Just keep writing, damn you!
Sometimes I ramble. This is the place for that, right?
When people ask what I’m writing, I say, “Fantasy.” Obviously, it’s more than that. They can see there’s more to the story because I’m a terrible liar. People always think that writers want to talk about their books, but the truth is, we want you to read them. If you can come at me with a point of reference, like, “I love when Al did blah,” or “Why the hell did Denny do blah-blah?” then, I might be able to talk about it. But if you ask me, “What kind of fantasy?” or worse, say, “Oh, you like making up your own little world, don’t you,” I’m probably going to freeze. Or, if I’m having a bad day, I’m going to turn and walk away. Or, if I’m having a really bad day, I’m going to punch you in the face. Yeah, I’m that girl.
My friend Ro has been my beta since day one. He was my beta when we were at Grinnell College’s Summer Institute in 1994. He was my beta on my first novel. He read the first 15 pages of this fantasy series the weekend I wrote them, and gave me the courage to keep writing. When I finished the first book, he called me and said, “You know this is gay romance, right?”
Gay Romance. Seriously? Me? Romance? My elves are definitely gay–no doubt about that. And there are romantic factors involved: belief/doubt in true love, destiny, and the lurking ex who wants Al all to himself. But romance? Can I do it justice?
My track record with love has been epic fail, with one notable exception. I love my husband. He is my best friend. He taught me to play Mortal Kombat so I could hit fake people instead of real ones. He brought fun and light, when at 18 I was ready to believe that adult life would be nothing but darkness and pain.
I know about darkness. I know about pain. I know about mind fucks, and abuse, and manipulation. I do not really know about romance. I question all forms of societal niceties that are supposed to come with courtship. I suppose this makes me a cheap date, but it also means that things that make others smile and say “Thanks,” will probably earn negative points in my book.
So me. Romance. Eye-opener. It’s hard to market a book as romance when the love interest doesn’t enter the picture until 2/3 through the first book. I’ve spent a lot of time editing, and adding Denny as a character throughout book one, even if my characters don’t meet right away. For some publishers, the story may progress too slow for them to be interested. All I can do at this point is make it the best possible fantasy that I can, and build the romantic subplot as best I can, so that when it takes over as the ENTIRE plot in book 3, I’ll have readers hooked.
Or maybe I am crazy, thinking that a publisher will give me the time of day. Who knows? I’m almost ready to submit, and this blog will be a good way for me to stay sane throughout that process. Maybe. If my sanity can be salvaged at all. *maniacal laughter*