Just Hanging Around

Nothing new to report here. Just twiddling my thumbs. Actually that’s a lie, I started a new story. Bad, bad Jackie. I have two stories at the partial stage and one with a first chapter done so those really need finishing – I shouldn’t be starting a new one! But y’know, when the new story bug hits, ya just gotta go with it.

I haven’t written a linked story before but I got kind of inspired after Maisey wrote one. In my current wip my hero has a younger sister. She appeared in an earlier iteration of this story so I know her quite well – she’s an unusual sort of girl. Anyway, in the wip, her part is reduced to a phone call so I was kind of feeling a bit sorry we don’t see more of her, and when Maisey wrote a story concerning a younger sister I thought why not? But I’ll have to get rid of some things first – she’s 18 in the wip so I’ll have to advance time for her (as you do when you are the god of your character’s world), and she has a blue mohawk and an eyebrow piercing so I’ll have to get rid of those as well. She can keep playing drums for a gothic metal band though and she’s definitely keeping her talent with the violin too. This all could mean she’s a tad too quirky but hey, will give it a go and see what happens. Interesting to create a story out of a past that’s already set and unchangable. And interesting creating a hero for someone whose character can’t be altered too much. I usually create both in tandem with each other so this is a new experience. But a good one. Now all I have to do is think of a plot! 😉

In the meantime I have been award the Honest Scrap Award by the lovely Kerrin. I have to list ten things you may not know about me. So here they are:

1. I did fencing at university. Once. After a long afternoon at the pub.
2. I love poetry, especially ee cummings and TS Eliot.
3. I have a BA in English (no I do NOT plan to be a teacher – not that there is anything wrong with that).
4. I wrote my first romance when I was 13. The heroine was called Patricia and the hero was married to her sister. It was full of the kind of angst and torture that only 13 year old girls can possibly imagine or indeed be interested in.
5. I once entered a singing competition. The other contestants wore evening gowns. I wore Doc Martens and leggings. I did not win.
6. I got engaged in Prague, on the banks of the river. A saxophone was playing ‘Autumn Leaves’ nearby and afterwards we went to an ice hockey game to celebrate.
7. When I’m not reading romance, I’m reading SF and fantasy, especially anything by Iain M Banks.
8. I hated Titanic and also Twilight (don’t shoot me).
9. I loved Star Wars (but only the first trilogy).
10. My plans for world domination are proceeding nicely.

I have to nominate some bloggers for this award but I think it’s been around a bit so I’m going to pike out and say that if you haven’t done it yet, it’s your turn! 🙂

30 thoughts on “Just Hanging Around”

  1. Hey, Jackie, I hated Titanic and Twilight too. Actually, my two sixteen year old girls hated Twilight even more than I did. As a matter of fact, one of my girls just requested a particular t-shirt for her upcoming birthday. It has a picture of Buffy on it and reads “And then Buffy staked Edward. The end.” I ordered two, one for her and one for me!

    Amy

  2. Love the sound of your heroine!
    I’m hit and miss on Iain M. Banks… loved Player of Games but some others were pretty dark. Hubby is a huge fan.
    Prague sounds suitably romantic for a romance writer!

  3. Becca – thanks re the heroine! She’s gonna be a fiesty one I think.
    Yeah, he’s a very dark author. But I quite like dark. Player of Games was great. I liked Use of Weapons too but that was….extremely dark. My hubby likes him too.
    Prague was VERY romantic. All I needed was a long floaty dress. But sadly backpackers don’t have long floaty dresses. 😉

  4. Ha ha! It’s a contagious disease this starting a new book when you know you shouldn’t!

    Love the sound of your heroine. I’ve tried a few linked stories but I didn’t submit them when the first was rejected. I know you can, and probably should but sometimes you’ve just got to go with your instinct. Can’t wait to hear all about your progress!

  5. Lacey – well, I figure it’s easy enough to make it a standalone story if they don’t want the first one. And yeah, she wants to be written so Im’ writing her. 🙂

  6. Ah Jackie.. I can so well understand the new story bug.. (For now, am ready for any sort of bug to bite me though) !!!!

    Connecting characters are something am planning to try as well.. Cos what’s the fun in having them tie all the loose ends in just a teeny weeny story (you know what I mean – huh?) 🙂

    And well.. Let me jump back into the “thinking cave” while the mood lasts..who knows where it will lead me..

    Here’s passing you some fairy dust to create some sparkles around and hoping for some great news soon..

  7. I’m so honored that my linked stories have inspired yours. 🙂 I’m no stranger to them…I have a whole family that I will never submit. 🙂 But this is my second linked story I’ll be submitting…always the little sisters!

    I love the sound of Niamh. I love that she plays drums and violin. I like the dual nature thing. 🙂 Very cool.

  8. Ju – ah, you’ll get there! Thanks for your kind words. Re the loose ends, I get ya. 😉 And just so you know, I tried to do that in one of mine and it didn’t work. 🙁
    Have some fairy dust yourself and good luck in that cave!

    Maisey – well, it’s true. I was very inspired. But she’s always been a character I’ve liked and was way more fully formed than any of my other secondary characters. So it’s kind of a natural step.
    Yeah, I like her drum playing. She’s kind of still working out who she is. 🙂

  9. Jackie,

    You seem to have the ability to juggle lots of stories at once so starting a new one shouldn’t really ring any alarm bells! And I absolutely hated Titanic, hated Twilight even more. The only reason I continued to watch Twilight, apart from the fact that I had brought my 11 year old niece to see it and couldn’t disappoint her by dragging her away, was for Bella’s dad. I love Billy Burke, have done since I was a teenager. He’s rather subtle but he’s got a great face.

    Anyway, enjoy hanging around, or not since you’re going to be all eager to get started on Niamh’s story.

  10. Firstly – absolutely ADORED the 10 things about you. Got a laugh out of the singing contest and leggings.

    As for the linked story – you know I’m keen on the idea. Can’t wait to read some!!!

  11. It’s a great idea to start a new story– and another and then another. Then once you sell you’ll have stories in reserve ready to be developed–much easier than frantically searching for a new idea!

    Jackie, you said in your previous post something about the characters having no external conflict at all. Does this mean they don’t start out with any external goals and that everything is focused on the internal?

    So many writing guides advise starting with the external GMC for each character but maybe that’s not up-to-date advice for a M&B romance novel?

    I think I maybe give too much importance to the external plot and would love to hear your thoughts on this.

  12. Love the new heroine. Love your engagement story, too.

    My 13-year-old would really get on with you – she loves her Doc Martens and loathes anything Twilight. Don’t know if I shold say this, but she found a picture on the internet that proves Edward’s face looks like a foot – it’s a bit cruel, but can’t deny there’s a likelness (although she loved Robert Pattinson as Cedric in HP, so she’s blaming his make-up in the Twilight film).

    Saw Iain (M)Banks at the Edinburgh book festival a couple of years ago – he’s really lovely.

    XX
    PS Sorry, have rambled on a bit.

  13. Aideen – I don’t remember the Dad. Think I was too busy groaning over the rest of it. Actually, am editing C&S first so Niamh might have to wait a little bit. 😉

    Rach – thanks sweetie. I cringe a little bit now about it. I was going through my angry young woman stage. Yeah, you liked it eh? Guess I’ll have to write it now!

    Janet – What I said was a little misleading I think. They DO have external goals but they are not ones that put them in proximity to one another. Their being together is based totally on their own decisions. And because both have strong reasons not to want a relationship, it’s tricky getting across the fact that this is special without making the characters aware of it too – does that make sense?
    Anyway, the external goal gives the characters some urgency. My heroine is a travel writer/photographer and she’s in London doing a write-up for it. She loves photography too so getting photos and sightseeing for her article is her external goal. This drives her to make certain decisions and its these decisions that drive the plot. Does that makes sense? So I would say that the advice is correct – your characters do have to have some kind of external goal. But what you want is that their external goal stems from their internal conflict. Hope that makes some kind of sense!

    Suzanne – thanks! Your daughter sounds like a great kid! Oh, poor R Patt! 🙂 And you got to see Iain Banks?? Lucky you! I’d love to see him speak. I like his non SF too. The Crow Road was a fabulous book.

  14. “your characters do have to have some kind of external goal. But what you want is that their external goal stems from their internal conflict. Hope that makes some kind of sense!”

    Thanks, Jackie, I love it when you discuss writing craft–it’s so helpful to me.

    Getting photos is her external goal, and the real reason why she wants to write this article/take these photos/carry out this assignment (not the surface reason) stems from her core need/ deep motivation. (Something she wouldn’t readily admit to like self-worth or recognition)

    This need subconsciously drives all her actions and decisions and so drives the story.

    Is the hero in any way an obstacle to her external goal? I’m guessing he isn’t and this what you meant by having no external conflict to keep them together? (There’s no big external clash going on like you maybe had in your property developer/activist story?)

  15. Kerrin – thanks!

    Janet – Gosh, thanks for that! It’s really nice to know that my witterings are helpful. Anyway, yes, that’s exactly right re my heroine. Basically she uses photography as an excuse. And for her its a self worth issue – but she doesn’t know that at the beginning of the book obviously.
    And yes, this need to escape her feelings of inadequacy drive all her decisions and actions.
    No, you’re absolutely right, there is no big external clash in this story. Which I suppose is why it feels like there isn’t any external conflict. But the hero does impact on her external goal through his own actions and conflict. He hates being put second and so he wants her attention. She lets herself become distracted by him from her goal, which is when things get tough for her. And him too.
    Does that help?

  16. Thanks again, Jackie–this is really helping me a lot.

    “…the hero does impact on her external goal through his own actions and conflict. He hates being put second and so he wants her attention. She lets herself become distracted by him from her goal, which is when things get tough for her. And him too.”

    Ah, so there is external conflict but it’s not a big intellectual external conflict that dominates the story (like an environmentalist versus a property developer) When I think back to the older M&B stories they always had a huge external conflict at the forefront of the story. eg They’d inherited a business property–he wanted to sell it-she wanted to keep it and build up the business or he was a property developed and wanted to tear down the beautiful old building she was living in and she spent the book finding ways to prevent him.

    In today’s stories the external conflicts still have a place but the internal conflicts need to be the main driver.

    THe external used to be more important but now it’s the internal that drives the story?

    I think I’m gradually getting this 🙂

  17. Janet – the hero’s need to be put first is internal conflict. Her letting herself be distracted is also internal. There are no outside forces urging them to be together or apart, they make their own decisions about whether or not they see each other – that make sense? The only other bit of external plot is that she’s only in London for two weeks but whether she goes or not will be all down to her internal conflict.
    Yes, internal conflict is the driver. Certainly for category these days and definitely for Modern Heat. It’s all about the character. Their decisions, their actions determine your plot. Which is why you need good, strong internal conflict.

    Yay for getting it. It’s taken me a while, I can tell you. And hey, may have gotten it wrong this time but the ed did okay the conflict so at least I have that part right!

  18. Just had to pop in and say I loathed Titanic too… Got to the stage where I was thinking ‘sink the damn ship already so we can have some action!!’…

    And I loved Star Wars to the extent that I went to see a triple bill (of the original trilogy of course, the rest of it was a CGI borefest) at the Hammersmith Odeon on the hottest afternoon London has ever seen (and they do not have air-con)… I nearly died of heat exhaustion but Han Solo was soooo worth it for me!

  19. Heidi – yay, another Titanic loather! Yup, the ship sinking was the best part. 🙂
    Agree totally re the first trilogy. The triple bill sounds fantastic (apart from the heat). My parents bought me the record when Star Wars first came out (no videos then!) and I absorbed all the dialogue in the way kids do – still can quote large chunks of the movie. But Han Solo…indeed, I need more scoundrels in my life. Sigh.

  20. “the hero’s need to be put first is internal conflict. Her letting herself be distracted is also internal. There are no outside forces urging them to be together or apart, they make their own decisions about whether or not they see each other – that make sense?”

    Jackie, that’s a lightbulb moment for me! Thank you so much for explaining it all 🙂 i really do get it now.

    I would previously have classed her being diverted/distracted from her external goal as external conflict (as it’s an obstacle to her getting attaining her external goal.) But I can see now that some outside force isn’t forcing her to move her attention away from the goal — she’s made the decision all by herself.

    If a prolonged snowstorm prevented her from reaching her exteral goal that would be external conflcit? But if her feelings are allowing her to react in a way that diverts her from her exernal goal that’s internal?

    And… she chooses to be distracted by him because at this particular point in the story giving the hero her attention provides a greater feeling of self worth than pursuing her external goal does? (Him wanting her attention,and making no secet of it, brings a huge feeling of self worth?)

  21. Now I’m wondering about the types of conflict that need to be avoided (because they are external and the characters are acted upon instead of making their own decisions)

    I’ve thought of all I can — if anyone knows of more I’d love to have them on my list.

    1)A secondary character forcing a character to act in a way that is out of character for her(eg a boss threatening to fire her if she doesn’t follow his wishes)

    2)A friend who pushes her into doing something against her nature. (As I had in my last story!)

    3)A character having to be talked into a MOC (the decision must be hers alone and only because she sees something in the arrangement that could bring her her inner need and if she agrees she needs to holds some bargaining power)

    4) Any situation where the characters are acted upon instead of making their own decisions eg a piece of roof tile falls on hero’s head so he misses their date.

    Or heroine’s car won’t start and the situation throws her into the hero’s company.

    Or a snowstorm forces them to spend time together (okay for an inciting incident but not for later in the story?)

    I’m not sure if an unexpected pregnancy falls into this conflict category, but considering the number of times its used i’m guessing that it’s okay (because it’s a consequence of character action?)

  22. Janet – actually, I think that some of these situations are all possible. Like you say, inciting incidents. It’s what the character chooses to do in reaction to those scenarios that is important. For example, the friend forcing the heroine to act outside her character – the heroine may in fact do this as long as it’s her decision and you give her good motivation. And it’s HER choice to act or not. She may feel like she’s being forced, that she has no choice, but that would then be getting into her conflict as to why she might feel that way. Because everyone has a choice in the way they act.
    But things like roof tiles falling on the hero – that’s definitely external conflict. But if the roof tile fell on him because when he was doing the roof he wasn’t paying attention and was too busy thinking about the heroine, then that’s different.

  23. “But if the roof tile fell on him because when he was doing the roof he wasn’t paying attention and was too busy thinking about the heroine, then that’s different.”

    LOL!

    Thanks, Jackie.

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