Tag Archive: writing process

LJ Idol

In this kooky online writing competition I’m in, we have a deadline on Monday. I work third shift’s (midnight to 8am), have a small child with autism, and not a whole lot of free time as a result.

I’ve been kicking around this piece for the past three days. It’s heavily based on one of my novels. If I’m completely honest, it’s me, disguising the Gray Morning universe as much as possible, changing character names/titles etc so that it reads like it’s based in the US, and so that people might not have their eyes roll into the back of their heads.

Except my antagonist, Mitchel, is so clearly himself. The protagonist of the scene, Amelia, is clearly herself, as well, but in the book she’s a minor character; her role is huge, but her screen time is very understated. Mitchel? Well, he’s been the focus of an Idol piece or two, and how his actions and words have a huge impact on my novel’s protagonist, Savin. He’s been deconstructed in a piece or two of meta I’ve written for the competition, as well.

I don’t want people to recognize him, but I do. I don’t want people to go “Oh, she’s writing that *%$#)*% novel again,” and back out of the entry. Not to mention, the topics this go around (we had to pick one out of a group of 5) are so open-ended and up to interpretation, and the voters have been favoring the very literal, very close interpretations this season. For people like me who sometimes view the topics abstractly, it’s been a challenge boxing myself in, a little.

The basis of this piece? Mitchel is undergoing an interrogation for the murder of Jasper (Jazz) Callahan — except, of course, the names are changed. Jasper is the Emperor of their particular world; Mitchel is his second-in-command, in a way. So I changed it from their world to the US; Mitchel is Vice President, Jazz President. Amelia is head of the Secret Service and is doing the interrogation herself.

Mitchel’s motivations are varied. He wants power. He wants control. He believes that Jazz never should have been handed this position — that Jazz is effortlessly perfect (and here is my topic connection — Mitchel believes that Jazz is a man of “shibusa,” though if you know Jazz’s character, you realize this is just a projection on Mitchel’s part), and therefore, shouldn’t have it.

There’s also a jealousy component — Jazz fell in love with Savin and married him, and not Mitchel, who Jazz had known first, longer, and just as intimately.

But in the interrogation scene I’m writing, I’m essentially doing it from Mitchel’s POV. I am deep inside his head; using his syntax and his word choice and just general state of mind. He is in control. He is lethal. He believes he isn’t going to end up charged with anything, though he is under arrest.

And seeing outside of his very narrow view point (me me me) and his own perceptions of himself (I am perfect and great and smarter than the rest of the world) is so difficult, I’m having trouble seeing what will trip him up. Because Amelia will get him to falter. She WILL get that confession. And she WILL secure the ability to indict Mitchel for treason.

But getting it down on paper when I am so deep in Mitchel’s POV is difficult.

I guess this is why I don’t write in first person. It’s hard, working so close to a fictional person’s brain. And I’m not even writing in first! It’s in third! But to write like how he speaks, I have to strip away that extra layer of distance.

Characters, man.


As a writer whose primary trade, at the moment, is erotica, it’s kind of difficult writing while watching a child.

But that? The awkwardness that causes me is minimal, because I’ve grown used to that.

The hard part now is when there’s one of my roommates in the room with me and my child. Okay, so he’s distracting, but I can work around that and write a paragraph or two and not get too sucked into how hot and heavy things are are the moment between the three characters that are the stars of this particular book. 

But when he’s sitting right next to me? Dude, what I’m writing is getting me worked up. Also, I’m writing, and you’re gonna read over my shoulder. And you’re gonna be like oh god, why did I just read that. Even though really, the action right now is a woman getting eaten out while she’s jerking off the second guy who’s essentially just watching everything going on beside him. So it’s at least not two guys fucking (which is my bread & butter). But it’s awkward. And I am trying to wriiiiite.

And while I wrote this whiny post, he decided he was going downstairs. Yayyy. I can go back to writing my smut, now. 


Seriously, Brain?

As I was in the middle of the last-minute edits of Say You’ll Let Me (which is now in review on amazon and should be published sometime tomorrow morning, by my estimate), my brain suddenly sparked an idea for one of my Idol topics.

I said okay, fine. I’ll reread the old entry I want to base this idea off of. Further spark of inspiration. Decided to run with it, wrote a small entry of about 470 words. Told myself well, I actually like this, so let me go ahead and freewrite something for the other topic, slap something up there, and call it a day. I mean, two topics, had since Friday afternoon to write them, and they were due 12 minutes ago. I started at around 1pm, finished by 3:15pm, and read Shingeki No Kyojin’s newest manga chapter afterwards. Once I was done reading, I went back and finished up my edits.

So it’s been a productive day — especially when I didn’t expect to write anything, really. So here’s what I submitted for one of my topics: %($)#*^#


She breathed in through her nose, her eyes focusing somewhere beyond the easel that stood before her. Her painting stood before her, a colorful beacon amongst the drab, dusty bricks that comprised the attic. As she closed her eyes, she released her breath, no longer wanting to hold it captive within her chest. Her fingers twitched, the weight of the brush preventing them from moving fully.

In a few moments, he would come up the stairs. In a few moments, he would want to see what she had accomplished that day. Her chest heaved and tears fought their way to the surface. She bit her lip. She wouldn’t cry. Not now. Not when she had come so far. Not when she had finished a piece for the first time in ages.

She wiped her brow, careful not to smudge the wayward paint that had found its home on her fingertips. She breathed in again, this time to steady herself as she looked over her painting one last time. No flaws from what she could see. No color that could be brighter. Slowly, she placed her brush back down. Her fingers furled at her sides, her shoulders tensing at the sound of the attic door opening.

“What do we have here today?” he asked, his voice a low rumble, like that of an incoming storm.

She didn’t answer. Instead, she stepped away from the easel, giving him plenty of space to move forward. He was a large man, his eyes wide and expressive. She kept her hands at her sides; kept her back straight and her lip free from underneath her teeth. 

Those black eyes of his narrowed, a slight frown twisting his features. A hand flew to his chin, rubbing it thoughtfully as he picked the canvas up from the easel. Her heart changed its cadence, one faster and harder than its normal fare. Sweat beaded on her brow, though she could at least blame that on the stuffy, poorly ventilated attic instead of nerves. 

“Not good enough.”

Tears stung her eyes, but she blinked them away. Not good enough meant it was better than usual. Meant that she might avoid a punishment. Meant that she might get to sleep in a bed instead of the harsh floor of the attic. 

“Did you paint anything else today?”

She swallowed thickly, turning her eyes to the remnants of the painting she had deemed unworthy hours ago. The wood stretching the canvas had split; she could still hear the resounding crack it had made. “No, sir,” she dared to answer, focusing her eyes on him instead. If he knew…

His frown deepened. His eyes flickered over to the far wall, to the place she had looked at only seconds before. Those eyes of his hardened as he opened his mouth to speak: 

“Then where’s the second canvas I gave you?”



This’ll be me, come Wednesday. I can promise all of you that. My mental health is better, but not great, today, and i’m feeling…okay. Better than suicidal. Which is a hefty improvement, what can I say.

In terms of writing? Well, I did write probably 500ish words of Say You’ll Let Me, so progress? Better than nothing, and considering how wiped I really am, I’ll take it.

But that’s not the main point of this post. The main point? 100% that LJ Idol, that zany writing competition that I somehow keep surviving through week to week, has a 2 topic/2 entry week, this week. I have until Wednesday at 9pm to write 2 entries, for two topics I selected out of 24.

I have no ideas for either topic. I’m not even worried about not having ideas for either topic. I have “Across the Fence,” and “$#@%$!!” (basically, you get the idea). Remember that I picked these. I liked them. I liked how they rolled around in my head, and how they stuck out to me.

Have noooo idea what I’m gonna write, though. Good news is, I’m a fast writer when I can pull myself together long enough to just write. And inspiration will strike when it strikes, too. I’m gonna give myself a couple nights to sleep on it, see what happens.

I know I’ll knock it out of the park, though. 🙂


So, you guys know how I said I was going to sit here and outline the Tomorrow Trilogy and try to fill in the plot better/make it more solid?

I did just that. Except, I was intending to keep the original plot in tact across the three books and just strengthen the world-building, so that things made a little more sense. That was part of the critique I received from Chris B., and I took it to heart.

I know I’ve been blocked for a long, long time on the over-arching plot of all three novels. The character arcs? I’ve got down to a science. The relationship arcs? They’re pretty solid, too. But I’ve always struggled with the political plot that essentially drives these characters forward, and for a long time, I thought that was simply because I didn’t have a full understanding of politics.

No, I think I’ve just been focusing on the wrong side of the story. Getting my characters to become Emperors or whatever was eating my brain. I wanted each change of who’s in power to make sense. But then my bff Sarah asked me a simple, very innocent question:

What if Ryin is the one who legalizes the NBs?

And I went, “Well, how the fuck would he do that if he did?”

Which lead to, “What if they already ARE legalized by the time the Trilogy has its proper start?”

Which just spiraled into an idea of having Ryin and Jazz and Savin all be members of The Movement (or the Resistance), their involvement with THAT, more of the Resistance’s side of the story, with all of the Empire’s other political shit as background fodder/fuel for their fire.

Seriously I just changed the whole game of my books in just a few hours of epic story vomiting all over the place to Sarah. I have the rough (political) plot determined for each, have already started to figure out the minutae of Seize the Day in light of these major changes, etc.

It feels like a stronger series this way and it allows me to have stronger world-building AND it tightens some of the plot up, which I was struggling with — especially in Seize the Day and Surrender the Night.

Yay me!