Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lines 11/20 - Fearless Part IV

It's really hard to pick lines out that aren't chock full of spoilers from this section! Release date for Part IV is Dec. 19th, so less than a month to go.

From Fearless

Part IV: Follow You Home
Copyright © 2014 by Lauren Gilley

           Ava wasn’t like that. Ava was rational, gathered, self-possessed. Ava was responsible in ways he himself had never been at that age. Not meek – no, her cooperation could never be called that – but secure enough to not be so filled up with questions and rebellion.
            Yeah, Ava should have been born a boy – the true prince.
            And he shouldn’t have sent her knight away five years ago. He’d always wanted a king for her, someone she could rule beside. But it was the knight who was devoted, who was in her thrall and would die defending her.
            He lived and he learned, and wasn’t that a shitty way for things to play out?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - Characters and Romance

I've wanted to watch this movie for a while now, and had the chance to do so this weekend via iTunes. I enjoyed the heck out of it. I want to do a full post on it, but for today, it fuels the next post in my character development Workshop Wednesday lineup.

For me, character development is the most important component of fiction. That's what elevates a novel from a story to a slice of truth. Character development is emotional; romance is emotional, the very definition of the word an emphasis on the emotional connection as superior to the physical. The physical is important too, but it's the emotional that enables characters (and readers) to connect to one another; the emotional and the physical feed off one another. The challenge for any writer is to create a romance that is grounded in a plane beyond the purely physical. The writer has to establish a deep, many-leveled connection between the characters, hitting all the notes that make it feel real: accepting, charming, nurturing, chastising, when necessary.  All the visceral heat in the world can be overshadowed by a plasticized, disconnected state in which the characters don't know one another at all, and that final "I love you" of the novel feels like some forced note that needed to be hit in order to squeeze into some framework.

What I so enjoy about Only Lovers Left Alive is the string of small moments that highlight personality and compatibility. The true chemistry and intimacy. The subtle, ordinary moments, the ones that in our real lives have such impact, and have to be brought into love stories to in fact make them love stories.

There's countless ways to write a love story; so many framings and situations and possibilities. And to each artist, different models appeal. This is my terribly humble list of things to think about when writing romance, and they are just personal, not professional:

 -- Nothing about modern dating rituals is romantic. All that "I just can't be tied down, bro. I'm too awesome." Not cute. Today's world of checklist dating is anything but romantic, tabulating compatibility through lists. Ugh. Can't stand it. There's no room for wonder or infatuation anymore. That's something I seek to correct through writing, not perpetuate.
 -- Jane Austen believed that the best romances were accentuated by strong friendships between the two parties. I agree with this personally, but more importantly, I think that underlying friendship makes for a more intimate, heartfelt romance on paper.
 -- The emphasis should not center on the man or the woman (or whomever) as an individual, but on both parties. I want both characters to be dynamic, intriguing, strong and valuable in their own ways.
 -- It isn't so much about opposites, but about complements.
 -- It's important to understand what the characters love and value about one another, so you can translate that to the audience. A deeper, more emotional connection will leave a more endearing, lasting impression on the readers.

I still get that question that plagues all romance writers: "Oh, so you write romance?" And the questioner always says the word like it tastes bad. The answer is, Why yes, I do. So did Shakespeare. Every story is a love story of some sort. Some girls get to live them, and some girls write them. I'll happily hold the pen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Part IV

Blogging has eluded me all day. Ugh, trying to sound interesting is painful most of the time. Especially when my brain is nothing but Part IV right now. It's taking up so much space in my mind that some of it has to leak out into a post.

Writing the last installment is a little bittersweet. I love Mercy and I love Ava. Is that wrong? Am I supposed to be more impartial? Writing them together is the most fun I've had writing in years, no lie. At this point, Ava's whole life has been laid out; she's an open book. In Part IV, we get to go to New Orleans and open up Mercy's life. His was a terribly modest upbringing, and it's complicated, and I love the way New Orleans is one of those Southern cities that gets in a person's bones.

He grew up in a tar paper shack that looked a lot like this shotgun house.

And it was perched right on the water, like this bayou house.

And the dark water and the trailing moss that evoke tangles of ghosts and monsters - that was home for him.

I love, as always, exploring the non-glorious, non-spectacular, achingly normal and minimal world of a character with nothing to offer but himself. Anyone can love money, fame, prestige. It takes someone special to love a person's truth.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dartmoor Series

A little bit of a news update this morning. I've had several questions about what's going to happen after Fearless, so I decided I ought to talk about it here on the blog.

The Dartmoor Series will continue! As of now, I've got a rough sketch of three more novels after Fearless, and with a cast this big, there's potential for more, along with short stories. I've been asked by several readers about a Ghost/Maggie story, and I'm thinking about how to handle that - whether I want to do a short or a full novel. There will for sure be an Aidan-centric novel. And as with all my stuff, I like to bring all the other characters and couples into the story.

Book Two in the series, after Fearless, will be called Price of Angels, and will center around Michael, and the bartender, Holly, you met briefly in "All-American Monsters." Holly has a past full of trauma and violence, and she'll be a special addition to the family, I think. Can't wait to share with everyone.

But, before I get ahead of myself, I've got to write Part IV. December, December.

I also wanted to let readers know that I've started a Dartmoor pin board on Pinterest. You can find it here. You can also find these amazing Durango boots there, which Ava has, and I want. There's not much on there now, but I'll be adding to it day by day.

Have a great Monday. As always, feedback is welcome; media links on the right.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

This Right Here

This right here is the reason I've been hesitant to set fixed release dates the last couple of months. Turn your back for a matter of seconds, and behold the carnage. What was once a cozy bed with mattress foam filling is now another relic for the garbage heap. What's hard to see in the photo is the fine, fine layer of fuzz that came off the bed cover, and was floating merrily through the air.

This dog. Handful is too delicate a word. He is so happy, and so affectionate, and so wild. I work during his nap times. And times like now, when he's playing with the minis and I can steal a few minutes. Off to work on Part IV!

Happy Sunday.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Magic of Bookstores

Have you ever found yourself perched on a too-narrow shelf at the bookstore? Your feet extended across the floor, keeping you from sliding off? Or cross-legged on the carpet? Or propped against the wall? Or, if you're the lucky one who spotted it first, the stepstool an employee left in the Fantasy section?  Barnes & Noble used to be littered with overstuffed chairs to serve this purpose, and has since removed them, but that's another conversation all together. Have you ever opened a book, just to peek, and had to sit down right there in the middle of the store and keep reading?

I read the first couple of pages of a book when I try a new author for the first time. It's all in the telling, for me. I know, on page one, if I want to read the rest. And sometimes, I'm so ensnared by page one that next I know, someone with armfuls of shopping bags and a huge puffer coat is shoving past me with a breathless, perturbed "Excuse me" and the zipper of her jacket is slapping me in the face because I'm sprawled in the aisle.

I smile when I see other shoppers doing the same thing, draped across those narrow metal shelves because they can't tear their eyes away from the page. Not the roving bands of teenagers with no place else to go, shrieking and laughing, but the real readers, the ones you search alongside and step politely around because you both understand that this isn't a social place; this is where you come to get lost. There's something magic about a bookstore.

I'm looking forward to a book shopping trip soon. And maybe a weekend to disappear between the pages. I spend so much time writing, and where do I go when I get a free moment? Back to books.

Fearless Part III: All-American Monsters

It's live! The link is right here. Happy reading.