My Lucifer

This was published in 2016 shortly after the cop show Lucifer premiered. I didn’t like it, and I did a rant about it, and then still obsessed with it, I did this brainstorm revision to suit my taste in story, unaware that I’d just begun a new novel, The Devil in Nita Dodd. So this is here to show brainstorming for Nita, even though I didn’t realize I was brainstorming Nita:

I’ve been e-mailing with Krissie who keeps defending Lucifer, and I started to tell her how I’d do it, and I thought, “Wait. Blog post and then everybody can come in and tell me why I’m wrong.” So here’s me brainstorming my Lucifer: Continue reading

Questionable: Pictures and Writing

Deb Blake asked:

I know you’ve talked a lot about your creative process with storyboarding (is that a word?) and collages and such. I don’t tend to use such things, but I’m starting to make Word docs for each novel that include pictures of my protagonists, and other notable stuff (their dogs, cars, motorcycles). Can you talk a little bit about how you create and organize your pictorial “notes”?

I just went back to the draft to this post to reread my answer and realized that I didn’t answer the question Deb asked, I answered the question I thought she asked. So first, here’s the answer to her real question: Continue reading

Questionable: Surprises in the First Draft

Roben wrote:

My question: If in the middle of writing a contemporary romance a secondary character takes on an entirely different demeanor than you intended, and he becomes larger than life, the tone darkens and switches to what could be romantic suspense, do you toss that character out of your relationship/love story or do you go with it and expand his character and go back and foreshadow?

Continue reading

NSFW: Dogs and Goddesses Plotting Chat for McDaniel

Hello, Argh. I’ve been on the road forever so I owe you a post, and the McDaniel students asked about how Krissie and Lani and I collaborated on Dogs and Goddesses so I’m posting a piece of a chat transcript here (with digressions edited out) that shows how we worked out the climax of the book while we were writing it. It’s NSFW, so if you’re squeamish do not keep reading.

And all of Argh Nation keeps reading. Continue reading

Trudy 7: Collage and 8500 words

So I’m at 8500 words, and I’m wondering: Do first drafts always suck?

I don’t remember my early stuff being this bad, but then all I remember from early stuff is the final drafts. And once again, I’m writing 95% dialogue, which I was hoping writing with Bob had broken me of. Radio plays, I should write radio plays.

I like these characters, I just don’t believe them. They’re perfectly nice people, except for the bad guys who do have motivation for being Bad, but I don’t believe they’re real, I’m not worried about them, there’s no blood in their veins, no juice in their scenes. I feel like I’m typing instead of writing.

So tomorrow, I’m definitely putting in time on the collage. I used to just paste pictures and put things from the books around the computer, but people like Jo Beverley and Barbara Samuel and Susan Wiggs kept swearing by collage, gluing the pictures down together, so I thought, “What the hell?” and I tried it. Amazing process, which I immediately lost my grip on, of course, and did these elaborate things, but they work, so I’m good with it. The idea isn’t to illustrate the story, it’s to glue together pictures and objects and words that create the mood of the story so that you can look at it and be sucked back in to that place and time. People usually scoff in the beginning, but then they try it and they’re hooked on it. Well, female writer people. Male writers tend to resist it with every fiber of their beings. At least the male writer I know. But I digress.

So I had this old shadow box that I’d saved for a future collage, and while I was daydreaming this book, I thought of it, and it fit that old toy store the story opens in. So I took the glass out of it and chipped out all the ugly crap the store had glued in and started collecting the Stuff. In this case, the Stuff was pictures from an Anthropologie catalog because their models always look so annoyed (conflict), and a bunch of Christmas stuff including a cherub with a violin, and a toy policeman from Goodwill. There was one sulky model slumped on a couch that looked like Trudy’s sister, except her hair was too big, so I cut some of it off and put that in the background of the box. And there was one model who looked mad as all hell, but she was too skinny so I glued some patterned paper on her for a wider skirt and colored her jacket with markers to thicken her waist. And I tried to fix her face with markers, too, but she’s still too damn skinny. I blame Kate Moss. So I’m looking for a new head for her, and in the meantime, I’ve cracked the wings off the cherub and painted it to look like a little boy in jeans and a red T-shirt for Trudy’s nephew Leroy, and I painted the policeman toy in camoflage so that it looks like the insane war toy doll, Major MacGuffin, right down to the artificial raspberry I painted Army green to look like a grenade.

Yes, I am insane, what’s your point?

My point is that if I can get these visuals in here, I can start to get a grasp on the book. And then as I glue things down, relationships become apparant, and motifs, and the story starts to organize itself. I’ve done them before (if you want to see them, they’re on the website under “Fan Trivia”) and they always help. And this one is so early yet, it’s missing so much stuff, that I’m thinking maybe tomorrow, I’ll work on that before I try to write more.

But I did get my 2000 words done today. 8500. They’re not good words, but they’re words.

Argh.

Edited to add:

Here’s what the finished collage looked like: