I Am Hopeless (Edited with a Note)

So yesterday Bob and I were talking about if we wanted to keep going with the HWSWA chats, and he suggested we show up next week (a week from tomorrow) with the conflict box for a new book he’s working on and one of the old books I’ve been working on (Lily, You Again, Lavender, whatever). I said, “Or I could start a new book,” and he said, “Finish something,” which was the right answer because the last thing I needed was a new book.

Then around midnight last night, I was reading a Book Bub blurb, and started to think what I could do with that very common premise and suddenly these people were talking in my head and I loved it and I wrote 4500 words.

But no antagonist. No conflict. No story. Honest to god, I did not need another first chapter with no conflict and no antagonist, just a lot of snappy banter. And if I show up with that next week and give it to Bob “It’s About The House” Mayer, the scorn and derision will know no bounds. Hell, I feel scorn and derision for me.

I don’t even have a title for it. I think the heroine’s name is Anna, and she’s a librarian. I don’t know what the hero’s name is, she didn’t want to know, she told him not to tell her, and so far, it’s all her PoV. Her ex is named Jason because for some reason Jason and Bradley are my Dick Names. Her friend at work is Magnolia. I have no idea why. I don’t even know why they’re librarians. I have no idea what he does for a living. The first part of the story starts in Vegas, but they both leave at the end of the four thousand five hundred words and go to different places. They must meet again at some point, but I have no idea how or why. They do not fight crime, nor is he her new boss, nor does she get pregnant, nor does he have to protect her. The possibilities are not endless.

Her new boss in named Blake Rankin. Maybe he’s the antagonist.

Maybe next time I’ll start with an outline. That could be good.

Addendum: I wrote this at 3AM and set it to post at 5. Then I fell asleep and as far as I can remember did not dream, but when I woke up, I had a plot. It’s a caper and I lied, they probably will fight crime. I forgot that if you go to sleep right after you’ve written a lot, the Girls keep working. I even have a kind of structure. The first five thousand words are one night in Vegas in her PoV (Part One). The next five thousand words are one day in DC in his PoV (Part Two). Then they start working together until they hit the first turning point (Part Three) and then I think it’s just the next three acts (Parts Four, Five, Six). So One and Two are five thousand words and Three, Four, and Five are around twenty-five thousand and then Six is fifteen thousand. I will not, of course hit those marks, but that’s ball park. It’s a romance about art theft. Or fraud. Or something. She works in a museum library. He’s an expert on art fraud. Or theft. Or something. It’s not an accident that they ended up in the same casino on the first page of the book. Also, they meet on the first page instead of my usual two-intro-scene start, so I’m good there.

Still no title. But I can use the research on both this and Stealing Nadine, so that’s good. I can have Carter work with him, although only as a minor character here. Still no name for the guy, although she calls him Charlie in Part One, so I have that.

60 thoughts on “I Am Hopeless (Edited with a Note)

  1. I am 100% here for this.
    You know what you were saying about wanting books that are not miserable, where the world is good and the good guys win, damnit? Sometimes if a girl wants a job done right…(I would like to say ‘just saying’ here, but it’s a terrible phrase, so I’m sort of restraining).
    (Also, I volunteer you write it, because I am a terrible selfish fan with no reasonable boundaries).

  2. I’ve got an idea for a novel. It could be 20 first chapters, all strung together and apparently unrelated, until the last chapter pulls them all together.

    Yes, I am amused by this post – but please finish Nita too! I want to read it.

  3. Lol. Maybe having Carter show up means Stealing Nadine becomes the thing that speaks to you.

    I’m now attached to Nadine and Alice. Sigh, the root of all suffering is attachment. 🤦🏻‍♀️

    1. True. Supposedly one can live a fully engaged life without the burden of attachment, but I have no idea how to do that. I’m actually more attached to Carter and the other young man whose name I cannot currently recollect.

          1. For what it is worth, we are caught up in your plots too. Finding snippets here just reaffirms that you are a brilliant writer, and I would personally buy the unfinished works if they were available. Maybe make the chapters available as serials on Amazon…ala Stephanie Bond…please?

          2. The problem is that I wander off in the middle, so I really need to finish a book before I make it available in any form. It’s the Squirrel! problem.

  4. Maybe after the years-long creation of Nita, and then the long months of editing and killing your darlings to shorten that book, the Girls have, all in one night, sent up a fun, light-hearted caper complete with a nascent plot outline and fun characters, so that you can dive in and finish this brand-new story as a sprint, and not a marathon.
    What fun that would be for you, and for all of your readers!

  5. They are morphing as speak.
    But then you all knew that. How many versions of Nita’s opening did you read? Ten thousand? Anna is only about twelve hours old. I’m not even sure her name is Anna.

    1. As a thirty-something librarian, I wholeheartedly approve of this heroine, no matter what name she ends up with!

  6. I kind of agree with Bob on the “finish something,” but it sounds like The Girls just want to keep coming up with new ideas instead?

  7. I love capers. (I wrote three.) They’re fun to write and in many ways, easier to plot because the unexpected is always cropping up and the “what is the worst thing that could happen?” question is plot gold. (I always think of Agnes as a caper.)

    Can’t wait to see what you do!

  8. I laughed so hard at this. I apologize for laughing at your pain, but I’ve been there, done that, and besides, I’ve had a horrible two weeks and I needed the laugh. So, thanks!

    Also, I’m looking forward to reading Anna and what’s-his-name, no matter what their names end up being. And still looking forward to Nita and Nick, as well as anything else you want to write.

  9. I will pay lots of money for Nita in any form. And Lily and Anna and whatever else you write. I need more happy in my life and there are only so many times I can reread your other books.

    1. You were doing very well until that terrible fib at the end! There is no end to the amount of times we can reread Jenny’s previous books.

  10. My hand went to my forehead, my eyes closed, I rested my elbow on the keyboard. This was almost a very different and unintelligible post. Another favorite author had a sig line that included, “I write, and you read, if you care to.” You write. I’ll read. I care, too.

  11. At least your Girls are happy. This is hilarious, and I totally get it. New stories jump into my head before I finish the previous one. It’s a curse.

    However, if you write it, I will read it. All Hail the Girls and their scribe!

  12. Ooh, a caper!

    One of Donna Andrews’s books recently was more of a caper than a mystery, which threw me a little (expectations and all, didn’t expect to know whodunnit on page one), but I did love the resolution.

    And it dawned on me while working on a secret project that I could make the third act of a cozy mystery into a caper. Sort of the “lie to the suspect about something he’ll then feel obliged to meddle with, and catch him in the act” thing, but I’m hoping to stretch it out and make it more caper-y, with enough complications to fill about fifty pages instead of five. I’ve never been able to plot a 300+ page caper, but I think I can do fifty and satisfy my urge to write a caper.

  13. Jason and Bradley are your waste-of-space names? How did you get there? The only two Jasons I have known have been reasonably good guys . One was a contractor but he wasn’t too bad as contractors go. Contractors are sort of like car salesmen, if you walk off the lot with something that isn’t too over priced and it runs, you probably worked with a winner.

    Scott is my waste-of-space name. I have worked with two and neither one could be trusted not to stab you in the back, or plagiarize, or fake their expense accounts. They were definitely into situational morality.

    1. I don’t think I have living parallels. I don’t know any Bradleys now (in distant past, but they were good guys) or Jasons. So the Girls must have something on them.

      1. For me, naming the bad guy Jason would be a reaction to how many times I’ve seen it used for a hero. Overuse can sour anything.

    2. Back in the day, a co-worker was pregnant and thinkking of naming her boy Bradley. For some reason every guy in the office nixed that choice. They did not like that name or the men that went with it.

  14. I love writing Beginnings. And going to bed right after writing a bazillion words and letting the Girls write more while I sleep. I am so down for a caper romance about art theft.

  15. I think Blake could be one of those dick names.

    Meanwhile, I think you’ve been researching this book for a while – your art crime show from France, and all of your caper info from watching the team in Leverage. I say, if you’re having fun, and the girls are speaking to you, go for it! (Says the woman with dozens of “in process” projects scattered around the house. One of these days I’ll finish a few more.)

    It sounds like fun, but I too might cringe under the withering glare from someone who plots their books using a lumescent omniscient POV. Ha!

      1. Of course there is Blake Shelton, but I see him as an exception. And he’s still rich and powerful.

      1. Would he lean on the fireplace mantel, arms crossed with one leg over the other giving you a smirk/stare? Maybe with a pipe hanging out of his mouth. Or just about to reach for a scotch. The dog by his side is glaring. At you.

        1. He doesn’t smirk. He has no expressions until he’s annoyed, and then he grits his teeth.
          The photog who did our pub shots did the best Bob description: “You have the range of expression of Kevin Costner.”

  16. I’ll read anything you post and buy and read anything you finish. And caper sounds good right now.

  17. 1. Trust the Girls.

    2. _Creating a Life Worth Living_ talks about different kinds of creativity. One is a generator which is amazing for fountaining ideas, not good on follow-through. Your Girls may need some direction (Bob is right), but they need fun and newness too (and you’re nothing without your muse). You can always alternate projects so they get the hit of newness but the productivity of follow-through.

    3. What’s the difference between a caper and a mystery? Genre is hard for me because I read everything and only care if a book is good, not where it’s categorized.

    In other news: you said Bookbub! I just got my first Bookbub! I’d given up on it, but here I go! Thriller in the international category for Code Blues (Hope Sze #1)! I was worried because my series is mystery until book #4, but they said their thriller readers love medical mysteries and slower pacing is okay, so I’m going to trust them. We’ll see!

      1. Sunday, October 18th, 2020!
        I know most of you are probably American and won’t see an international feature, but it’s a big deal for me. thanks for asking!

  18. I wouldn’t be surprised if this isn’t the Girls’ response to excessive stress in the outside world. Go with it!

  19. Sounds great. Go with it. Write fast. Write hard. Don’t give yourself time to be distracted or get in your head. We will send you bacon and sugar free chocolate and dog food.

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