Monday, March 21, 2016

Coming to the End of a Manuscript: What to Do Next.

Good morning. Welcome to the second day of spring. It's a Monday, not a Sunday, but the sun is shining, and even though there's a major snowstorm headed this way later in the week, I know the cold will soon be gone for a few months, and we'll  have flowers and plenty of sunshine.

Yesterday, I typed "THE END" on my latest manuscript, a paranormal, suspense romance titled Hello Again. I'd been working on that story once a week ever since the middle of June 2015, writing scenes of less than 1500 words based on a particular word, for a Tuesday Tales blog, Once a month, the other authors involved and I use a picture and limit ourselves to 300 words--not always easy to do, but I enjoyed the challenge.

At Christmas time, we decided we'd spread our wings and some of us wrote short, short stories with a holiday theme. Mine originally called "Where There's a Will" went on to become the novella, Forever and Always, published by Solstice in February as part of the Adventures in Love anthology. The novella, which went deeper exploring what happens when all your hopes and dreams crash to the ground, was released on its own on March 2, my son's birthday. I figured that would just bring my book baby good luck.

Why did I change from writing a scene a week in Hello Again as I'd planned to do until the end of the book? Quite simply because I hit a block in the book I was working on, Wedding Bell Blues, and was waiting on second round edits for Hidden Assets, my second inspirational suspense romance for Anaiah Press, due out in November 2016.  With nothing to do and unable to get past the roadbloack, knowing I still had to write nearly every day, I opted to go and work on Hello Again. At that point, I had no intention of actually finishing the book, but my muse got the better of me, and the rest as they say...

When I started Hello Again, I wanted to write a story about a woman who'd lost her husband and had to move on. Since women in non-traditional jobs is a big thing these days, and I'd taught with a female mechanic, I decided to make my heroine, Charlotte, aka Charley, Winters one. I've had close friends widowed, and I knew their pain.Some were able to move on, others not. John's heart issues the previous year had scared the daylights out of me, and since heart disease doesn't go away, I wondered how I'd feel if anything happened to him. Because I like suspense in my stories, I decided I needed danger, and since I've always admired the RCMP and their Red Serge, I thought I'd toss one into the mix as my hero. I was determined this story would be set in Canada like Fire Angel and Echoes of the Past. So, I wrote the first few scenes. Trouble with biker gangs in the news gave me my crime and brought in the RCMP hero I needed, Sergeant Bill Murdock.

John and I had traveled across Canada a few years ago, and had visited Regina where one of John's friends lived. We hadn't seen them since university, and had a great time. We visited the RCMP museum while we were there, as well as their cottage, but it was so hot, we couldn't spend the night by the water as planned. We went back to Regina and its AC--hence the heat Charley encounters and the bad storms. We didn't come close to a twister, but communities in the Amrican midwest and farther north in Alaberta and Saskachewan did.

While out west, we visited Moose Jaw, Medicine hat, and a few other places with unusual names and spent the night at a bed and breakfast that was a working ranch. We also saw many signs indicating a First Nations and Metis presence, so I wanted to add that to my story. I'd enjoyed doing so in other books I'd written.

I was sure this personal experience would add to the story, but my muse, who rarely lets me down, had so much more in mind. The weird stuff started. Suddenly, Bill, my hero, needed to resemble my heroine's dead husband, and the paranormal elements were born. Shirley, whom I envisioned as a wise women with a sense of humor, morphed into a gifted shaman with a personal stake in the outcome of the romance between Bill and Charley. She is a beloved and essential secondary character, one who is a catalyst for much of what follows.

So I wrote a scene each week, weaving my story around those elements and those who read the growing manuscript seemed happy with it. When I decided to edit what I'd written, I had no idea how much stronger the paranormal elements would get.  But, since I'm a pantser, that's part of the joy of writing--not only do I surprise you, I surprise me.

I did more research on Sintaluta and the Carry the Kettle Nakoda band. I found an online dictionary that let me translate English into Assiniboine, the traditional language they use, and I found a site with Sioux myths. I'd enjoyed using and adapting the Mohawk myth in Echoes of the Past,, soi I thought I'd do the same here. Unfortunately, I didn't find one that was esxactly what i needed, so I adapted it. The myth about the abused wife and the chief of the wolves is a genuine one, but I changed the ending to add the curse. Just like that, everything fell into place and the story expanded, writing itself.

 I've been asked how much of myself goes into my books, and I'd have to say this one is more me than any other. I'm sad it's finished, but I feel good about it. Now, I have to decide what to do with it. I have options, choices, which for now I'll keep to myself, but  be assured, the book, with its beautiful cover designed by Danielle Doolittle will be released. Right now, I can't say when because there are still edts to do, but before the year is out, Hello Again will be available. Will this be "the one?" I don't know. I can only hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment