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Fess Up Monday

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. You can comment here or there.

I hope you’re having a terrific holiday weekend–if you’re in America. I’m praying Gustav leaves New Orleans and Mississippi as unscathed as possible.

Writing wise, it was a pretty productive week, although I didn’t generate “new words.” I’m in two separate writing stages now: submission and building.

The submission stage for Letters is going well, if only I’d quit reading it over and over and over…and tweaking it! Just a word here or there… I did make a small necessary adjustment to my synopsis–a huge opportunity to tie the title to the big dark moment/climax at the end on which I failed to capitalize–and realized I’d missed a perfectly good opportunity to play with “teacher’s pet,” which I quickly fixed. Now it’s sit back, wait, and print packages as needed.

As for building, I made incredible progress on the Mayan story this weekend. Of all people, I actually got a lot of help from That Man. Shocking, I know. But his favorite show, Prison Break, is coming back on soon, and it’s been on my mind. I could write up a whole long post on the incredible twists and turns of that show. Not an episode goes by that I don’t exclaim, “I hate this show!” I’m exhausted after watching it. Yet every single character is a study in gray areas, and the action is intense. One week, the villain tries to kill one of the stars–the next week, he’s the only person who can give them what they need. Literally, the “good guys” change from week to week, and you can never discount anyone.

I want to put some of that intricate ambiguity in the Mayan story. Who are the “bad guys” and who can Jaid trust? Very few, actually. I also realized that I need more characters. NSR was strictly romance and played with a rather small cast. Only 3 POV characters, too. That’s not nearly enough to carry this new story.

I was making casting calls like crazy, saving pictures for people I don’t even know yet, other than the image captured my imagination, but I was quickly getting overwhelmed. I have so many “camps” of characters–and the threads were too muddled. I’ve tried just about every writing software package out there, and many other organizational tools, but nothing works for me.

I finally set up a new private wordpress blog just for this project, and it’s actually working pretty well. I created a category for each character, and as I gathered an image or made a decision about him/her, I captured it in a blog entry. What makes this story incredibly complex is all the backstory. NSR is backstory, plus I added tons for Jaid’s father today. His story about how he met Gilly, Jaid’s mother, and became friends with Sam Gerard, could almost make its own story.

Really, my vision for this story has changed so much. NSR was just the tip of the iceberg, and as I gather new data for the bigger picture, I realize how much I limited myself in that first draft.

This time, I’m busting right through that ceiling and going for the very tip top of the ceiba tree.

This month is my writing birthday. I’ll turn five years old the last week of September. So 9/1 has always been a sort of “new year” for me. I plan to get busy writing new words tomorrow (well today, because it’s nearly 1 a.m.), even though it’ll all be backstory from 20+ years ago. Cool stuff that will give me the depth I need and set up my version of the “Company.”

I’ll post stated goals for September next.

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