Image courtesy of Penywise  morguefile

     I have been asked what I am currently working on, so I thought I would share with you what has been going on.  Over the last two months, I haven’t done much work on my novels.  Having offered up my first novel for a beta read and deciding not to continue working on the third novel until I finalized the first two, for fear of creating an inconsistent mess, I turned my focus to the second novel in the series.  I would sit down with a broad vision of what I wanted to happen and words would make their way onto the page as I tried to build the bridges I needed to reach my destination, but something just didn’t feel right.  Something just kept gnawing at me, preventing me from making any real progress and for the longest time, I just couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was.

     Even after getting feedback from the beta readers, I wasn’t gung-ho about getting back to work like I had hoped.  I thought that maybe I just needed to stew on the feedback and work things out mentally, but it wasn’t that simple.

Image courtey of Arthur Tress

Other than a few notes here or there, I had absolutely no drive to write and it was making me so anxious that I didn’t know what to do with myself.  So, when faced with a case of what I like to call “writer’s dunce”, I did what I usually do; I turned to reading as a means of clearing my head and gaining a fresh perspective.  After reading three novels, I still didn’t have the urge to jump back into my work and I still hadn’t pinpointed the source of the problem.  Normally, before I’ve even finished reading one novel, I’m filled with ideas and the urge to get back to work, so this was troublesome.

     In addition to reading books, I started reading critiques and discussion boards, not only on the books I was currently reading, but on others in genres similar to my own work, that I had read in the past.  Some of the discussions helped to bolster my confidence that I was doing some

things right, avoiding some of the pitfalls that caused the most grief for readers of my intended genre.  I think somewhere along the way, I subconsciously began to realize why I was having such a hard time continuing with my own work.  It wasn’t immediately apparent to me, but the more discussions I read, one by one eliminating the doubts that were clouding my thoughts, the clearer it became.  My problem, it would seem, is that I had completely lost the essence of what I was trying to achieve.  

     I had set out to write a vampire story laced with romanticism.  What I ended up with, was something altogether different; a romance novel with a vampire twist.  My main character was a watered down version of who I wanted her to be, of who she is, epitomizing the weak, dependent females so often featured in romance novels.  This was not what I had wanted at all and the further I had written into the story, the stronger this theme seemed to weave its way into my novels.


Image courtesy of imagerymajestic

How could I be expected to keep writing when my work was starting to get on my own nerves?  I think that somewhere deep inside, my main character was trying to tell me that I wasn’t writing her story correctly.  Sure, the events were unfolding as they should, but I hadn’t painted her in the the right light.  Vampires are meant to be hardcore; so dark that they terrify you, but at the same time beguile and intrigue you.

          Now that I have identified the problem, I need to work out how to go about fixing it.  It seems that I have quite the challenge ahead of me.

Image courtesy of pschubert (

     At this time last week, I was consumed with ideas for one of my series.  Although the plan for the next few weeks did not include writing, I couldn’t get the series out of my head and set to work revisiting a book that I had attempted to write over four years ago.  Combing through my documents, I found two very lengthy character bios, one for the main character and one for a friend of hers.

     It may sound odd, but I really didn’t remember putting so much effort into writing these bios; but I was happy to find them because they contained a lot of the ideas I had for the entire series, spanning several years.  What I did remember from the time when I first came up with the concept was some research that I had done, but for some reason, I couldn’t find any of it.  Of course, this means that I needed to do it again, because if you hadn’t noticed by now, I can’t do anything without first doing extensive research.  Even if I don’t retain half of what I’ve looked up, I feel better just for having done it.

Image courtesy of jdurham (

     I got so caught up in the research over the next day or two that I only managed to write the opening for the book.  After that, the creative ideas that had been bombarding me, slowly but surely subsided and I was able to focus on my reading, which was my original plan.  I managed to finish one book and make significant headway in a book that I am critiquing for a fellow author.  

     The second book is taking me a little longer than usual because I want to try to be as thorough as possible.  I don’t think I was really built to be a book critic because when I read, I don’t analyze the book word for word the way I have seen in many reviews.  Instead, I base my opinion on how the storyline grabs my attention or fails to.  Does the story make sense or is it something I wish could really happen?  I focus on the characters and whether or not I can relate to them.  Do they remind me of myself or anyone I know?  I let my emotions take the lead.  Did I feel the emotion the author was trying to convey allowing me to feel what the character(s) felt?  If the answer to these questions is yes, then I count that as a good book.  

     I don’t try to discover hidden meanings in what I’ve read.  I don’t pick the story apart and question each and every choice the author made.  I don’t take it so seriously that I fail to find the magic of the portrait the author is trying to paint.  To me, this is like looking at the Mona Lisa and wondering why da Vinci didn’t choose a happier model, a lusher landscape, or a more cheerful color palette.  The Mona Lisa would not be the Mona Lisa if da Vinci had made any other choices; yet, this simple work of art is one of the most famous paintings, still known to the masses after over 500 years.

Image courtesy of lukeok (

     But, I digress.  Having reverted back to my original plan, the writing is once again on hold.  The focus is on reading and eagerly awaiting feedback on my novel that was submitted for peer review about a week and a half ago.  I’m trying not to do any writing in an effort to clear my head and prepare for the feedback I get.  If I set my mind to having the novel go a certain way, then I won’t be open to hearing the feedback I get and won’t be able to grow and learn how to become a better writer.