I haven't posted anything for six months. It's been a tough time relating to family (more about that below).
About a month ago I resumed writing and am finishing up The Love Scouts. I hesitate to state when it will be done since I don't want to make commitments I can't keep, but assuming I keep writing at the same rate it should be completely finished in two weeks. It will be sixteen chapters in total.
If anyone has dealt with a suicidal drug addict in their family (specially the parents out there, and I'm one) know some of what I've been dealing with. It's actually been three or four years of family chaos, but is finally (last three or four months) getting better.
Part of writing The Love Scouts (and other stories I've started) is as an escape and a way to enjoy a fantasy (none of what I've written is based on any personal experience except for some locations). The act of creating something, something very personal (even if completely fictional) has been cathartic.
I'm overdue for writing a blog entry. Part of that is family issues over the last four months (yeah, real life daring to intrude), part of it is just concentrating (when I can) on writing the fiction, not blog entries.
I'm getting ready to upload chapter 10 of The Love Scouts after one last editing look. I'm finishing up chapter 12 and working on chapter 13, and while I've slowed down some compared to earlier in the year I'm still making steady progress. I'm anticipating the end of the story in chapter 15 (unless inspiration hits and it goes on another chapter), by the end of August or maybe in early September.
The more I write, the more I appreciate the way good writers construct their plot and characters. It's hard. I just finished reading (well listening to the audiobook) Skin Games from Jim Butcher, the latest novel in his Dresden Files series. Brilliant stuff, above and beyond the usual genre writing.
Since this is my first serious bit of creative writing, my plot still seems pretty thin to me. I've read enough mystery and crime fiction that I realize it would take me years of practice to be able to put together an intricate plot similar to the good authors. And I didn't start the story intending an intricate mystery, but instead to explore other themes (grief, polyamory, non-traditional families, etc). So I hope the plot in this story has enough meat (or other protein for you vegetarian or vegan types) to keep readers satisfied.
I just replied to e-mail about one of my cultural references ("Super Green"). I enjoy sprinkling cultural references throughout a story, and there will be more, some explained explicitly, some not.
Counting all of the music references as one in chapter 4, there's at least nine cultural references in the first four chapters.
Of course many of them are quite old, so I'm showing my age.
Darrien's thoughts and words on music in chapter 4 is close to my own taste (whereas a whole lot of other aspects of Darrien are nowhere near to me in real life).
One of my favorite genres to read is hard-boiled detective fiction, or variations on it. So similes are a must. They can be hard to come up with, specially compared to some of the classic brilliant lines ("A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window").
But there's a few in this story I'm proud of: "quicker than a gecko's blink" is my favorite so far. Later on I use "a cello short of a string quartet" but I don't think it's that creative (and it may be one I have heard somewhere else).
I've never written fiction before. There's a certain amount of writing I've done relating to my career (software engineer) or hobbies, but nothing of a creative bent and nothing like this.
I feel like I'm at the beginning of a long journey, not sure where it will end up, but I know it will be exciting, and maybe at times unpleasant, but worth it.
What's surprised me the most so far is how real my characters feel to me. None of them are counterparts to friends in real life, although a few elements and descriptions here and there are based on people I know. And of course all of the main characters in this first story are people I would love to know in real life (there are a few coming up that won't be as sympathetic).
Speaking of coming up (yeah, yeah, I realize all of the double entendre possibilities of that phrase), here are some vague previews of the rest of The Love Scouts:
-- The mystery starts (obviously) at the end of the second chapter, although there are plots elements and a few hidden macguffins throughout the first two chapters.
-- I'm planning on publishing a chapter per week. For those that groan about authors that take forever to finish a series, I have ten chapters written, which is at least two thirds of the story, and the complete plot is outlined, including most (if not all) of the final sex romps.
-- While the sex scenarios in the first six chapters mostly deal with an adult male and teen girls, there will be other combinations coming (haha) up. There's a common, but not exclusive, theme of group situations.
While this story is labelled a mystery, I'm looking forward to seeing comments as the plot and story unfolds. At heart I do believe it's a mystery (or I wouldn't have labelled it so), but it's definitely not a traditional type of "solve the mystery", and there's other ways I could (and possibly will) label the story. I won't mention any right now because it might give away some of the story.
That's enough blogging for this fine morning. It's tax day in the US, and I haven't filed mine yet.