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     After working on my vampire series for a little more than three years now, I am still only about 60% done with the first book in the series.  The story is done, but it still needs a good amount of editing before it is anywhere near ready for publishing.  The second book is only half written and I have about a quarter of the third book written.  But after all this time, I’m starting to feel like I might have missed the window of opportunity where this series was relevant.

     With the frenzy generated by the Twilight saga now over, are readers over the latest

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vampire fad?  The thing with fads, you need to catch the wave at just the right time or you’re sunk.  Did I miss my wave?  Or is it possible that if I work hard to get these books written, edited and published, that I will be just in time to hop on at the start of the next wave?  Or even be the catalyst that creates the next wave?  Which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, because I don’t want my series being viewed through the Twilight microscope.

     I also have to consider the fact that this is not a classic series.  It is not something that will stand the test of time.  So when the time comes that I am ready to finally publish, I have to make sure that references to technology are up to date so that it doesn’t feel old when it is hot off the press.  I need to make sure that the story is still relevant.

     Then there is my other series.  A coming of age series that compares growing up with one of nature’s transformation processes; think along the lines of the ugly ducky becomes

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swan, only I’m not writing about a “swan”.  The idea for this was conceived long before the vampire series but for some reason I had difficulty getting started.  This series is much more classic, focusing more on experiences and feelings that readers of any generation should be able to relate to in some form or fashion.  A month or two ago, ideas for the series were beginning to become something of a whisper in the wind.  Now, they are practically screaming at me, thundering in my head so loud that I can’t ignore them.  Whether I like it or not, my focus has now shifted to this series.

     I’m following the advice I have heard time and again and just getting the writing done, whatever it may be.  Instead of fighting to stay focused on the vampire series, I am doing the work for which inspiration has struck.  So many times, we look to our muses for inspiration, so how can I ignore it when it comes just because it wasn’t quite the inspiration I was looking for?

     My fear with all of this jumping around is that I will never complete a project.  How many novels will I start but never finish?  How many will I write that are left unpublished due to lack of editing and polishing?  

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     You know that feeling you get after a good run, where you struggle to catch your breath?  How about when something scares you so much you feel like your heart is going to beat right out of your chest?  Changes in breathing pattern or heart rate are great ways to convey what your character is experiencing without spelling it out in detail for the reader.  The trouble with vampires, they don’t breath or have a heartbeat.  

     I’ve written before about “writing what you know“.  What I know, is that feeling when you see someone special and it makes your heart flutter.  What I know, is how a kiss or a touch can take your breath away.  What I know, is what it feels like to be so angry you need to take deep, calming breaths to slow down your pounding heart.  When I’m writing, my first instinct is to make my character sigh, gasp, bestill her beating heart, but then I remember, she’s a 200 year old vampire.  Everything I know is completely irrelevant to her.  But does that mean I should scrap everything I’ve worked on so far and stick to writing what I know?  Absolutely not!  After all, what is fiction, if not the imaginings of an author and our imaginations can take us to places we have never been before.

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     Anytime I run into this issue, which is quite often, I need to delve deeper into my memory.  I need to remember beyond the shortness of breath or the increase in heart rate that are so dominant.  I need to think back to the other queues my body offered when I was angry, excited, in love, etc…  Among these queues are the butterflies in my stomach, the stiffening of my muscles, the flushing of my cheeks.  But wait, flushed cheeks are caused by a blood rush and again, not relevant to vampires.  So deeper still, I must dive.

     My hope, is that in doing this exercise, I will find a way to connect with my readers on an even deeper level.  It forces me to go beyond the quick and easy.  I find myself analyzing real life situations as they are happening or directly after so that I can remember every nuance and incorporate it into my writing.  It’s forcing me to remember feelings that I haven’t felt in a while and reminding me that, unlike my main character, I am actually alive.

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     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.

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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.


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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.

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     The beauty of writing fiction is that it is not real.  You can create a world as similar to or as far from reality as you please.  You can defy the laws of gravity and science and no one can tell you you are wrong.  Or can they?
     I have been following an interesting discussion on, where Twilight readers (I don’t think I can really call them all fans), have been discussing Stephanie Meyers’ approach to explaining how it was possible for Renesmee to be born.  For those of you that have never read any of the Twilight books or seen any of the movies, Renesmee is a vampire/human hybrid born to Edward (a vampire) and Bella (his human wife).  Despite what you might think, the discussion doesn’t focus on the idea that a vampire baby in general is impossible, but rather the inconsistencies in Meyers’ explanation of how Renesmee’s existence is even possible.

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     The thread is particularly interesting to me, because I am writing a series where the main character is a single mother, who also happens to be a vampire.  I was interested to find out the general opinion on vampires having the ability to procreate.  My beta readers didn’t even seem to bat an eye at the idea and one reader even mentioned that they appreciated this factor.  If there are readers that feel contrary, I’d like to hear their reasons why and see how those opinions compare to my work.  Of course, you can’t please everyone, but why intentionally put people off if it can be avoided without changing the integrity of the story.

    Why is this even an issue, you might ask.  Well, it seems that the readers are having difficulty with the fact that Meyers tried to use real world science to explain how Renesmee came to be and in doing so, went against the “rules” of the world she had created.  In the discussion thread, the readers express (in quite an entertaining fashion) how Meyers’ own rules contradict each other, making Renesmee’s existence impossible and hard to swallow.  One particular participant, who goes by the name of Rel8tivity, wrote

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If she had stuck with magic and some kind of vampire mojo that made babies, it would have been fine. But she started going into how many chromasomes a vampire had, so we’re stuck with Mendelian genetics, and she didn’t make it work in that regard. You can’t have it both ways.”  When challenged by other participants, who stated that the story is a work of fiction and thereby the author has the right to do or say whatever she wants, Rel8tivity counters that the label of fiction or even fantasy, does not give the author a “blank check” to contradict their own rules whenever convenient.

     While many people feel the discussion is examining the story far too deeply, it brings up a very valid point.  When we create a world where

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the impossible is possible, is everything possible?  A world without rules leads to chaos, so as an author, it is up to us to define what is possible and what is not.  But when our own rules make a particular plot point impossible, do we have the right to defy those rules and force the reader to accept that this impossible thing, even by our own standards, is happening just because we say so, waving the flag of fiction as our free pass to do so?

     When I began writing my series, I added the element of vampire children from the very beginning.  I knew that this is something that would be questioned and offered an “explanation” of how it is possible.  It’s funny, but prior to reading the goodreads thread, I worried that readers might find my “vampire mojo” explanation to be a cop out.  Guess I can stop worrying about that now.