Adjusting from Non-fiction to a Novel

I began another blog here on WordPress under the name Rica Gold. The reason for that was that when I started it, I had just published my first book , which was in the non-fiction genre. Since my next book was a novel, I decided to use my name differently. I actually like the formatting of that blog much better than this one, but the choices when I began here were more limited it seemed. Maybe I just didn’t read it well. Anyway- perhaps I will write on both of them.

I am writing about the progression of writing as a first time novelist here. What I found, of course, was that writing the nonfiction book was far easier than attempting fiction. Adultery is Universal, But I’m Getting Married Anyway was both an experimental foray into the world of writing in addition to a desire to point out an issue that was omnipresent in our every day world and a resource book for both students in communication and psychology classes as well as professionals in the healing arts field. It was a little like writing a thesis for an advanced degree, something I already had done. I tried to make it more interesting for the reader by creating scenarios to illustrate various points (my first fiction attempt)  and readers reported liking that. An enormous amount of research had to be done to acquire a variety of statistics. The statistics validated my discussion and opened eyes, both mine and the reader’s, I surmise.

From time to time I’m asked why I wrote that book and my answer pretty much comes up the same all the time. We’re told to write what we know. As a Marriage, Family Therapist, an instructor on Family Communication and formerly in private practice as a counselor for twenty years, it was certainly something I knew about. It made sense. After a two-year program online with Mission Marketing Mentors, which helped me in all areas of marketing, I selected the title with the aim of attracting attention.

I started the book in 2010. I was ready to publish at the end of 2011. We used a 2012 publishing date. The book is still in use in classes today (December 2014), but people serious about the topic academically will want to update some of the stats.

Writing fiction however, has been a much longer process for me. I realize I began this book in late 2012 and I will submit it to the publisher next month (January, 2015). It’s actually ready now, but I still want to read it one more time, something I’m told authors have a knack for getting stuck doing endlessly. That won’t be me. I am too busy with the second book in the trilogy.

I hope you’ll bop in here from time to time  to see what I learned along the way. Thanks for reading.

Skye’s Enemy: Ryan Eddington

Ryan Eddington is a smooth talker, but a brutal adversary. Once he learns that Skye is to be kidnapped because of her ability to teleport, and sold to the renegades in Mohrkhavn, he’s excited about the challenge. His choice of assistants leaves something to be desired. While all are cruel amd self-serving, none of them is particularly bright.

Ryan does not trust any of them, even his main right-hand man, Deputy Reynolds.  Reynold’s burly cousin Gus makes mistake after mistake trying to prove his worth which adds both humor and levity to the grim scenes. Nevertheless, Eddington is not amused as he himself aspires to move up the criminal ladder and achieve greater power.

Of course every vilian has, if not redeeming characteristics, at least some softer, more human traits and Eddington is not without them. Especially when he takes to wooing someone who can get him closer to Skye. Ultimately he shows his hand though, which leads to a frightening confrontation.

Ryan is handsome, debonair, sophisticated when he needs to be, shrewd, clever, calculating, romantic, generous, and deceptive. If I had to picture his looks it would be something like Pierce Brosnan today.

What happens to Eddington? This is Book One of the trilogy, so we’ll see.

Starting the Story…

I started reading Al Watt’s book, the 90 Day Novel. If you’re not familiar he has you read a new entry every day for 90 days and then write. He provides a list of free writing – stream of consciousness questions to help you get going, not only on writing, but on thinking about what you plan (or don’t plan) to write. He’s very encouraging throughout the whole process, enabling you to feel like it’s alright if you don’t know where you’re going with the story. That was certainly my issue. His words helped me to trust my characters to begin leading the story line and amazingly, that really helped.

My antagonist was a nasty sociopath and once I gave him reign to go where he wanted, boy did he. By the third time he makes an entrance, he’s beating the heck out of two guys and not giving a damn about it. In fact, he likes it. My hero, Skye, begins to display fears and blocks she uses unconsciously to avoid taking chances and there in lies a dilemma, as she is thrust into circumstances that absolutely require decisions and well thought out ones, to avoid being hurt or even dying and yet, she relies on others to help her, lacking the confidence or courage to make moves herself. I started to know and like both characters better. It was exciting.

Often Al wrote that it was okay to write bady . The important thing was to write, a phrase echoed by other writers over and over. I would remind myself as I continued to remember that on days when I felt what I’d written was just kaka. So here on this blog I’ve decided to just write and not worry if a few mistakes are left in or if the prose isn’t scintillating.

Al says in his book not to let anyone read your work as you progress. I totally get that. People, even well-meaning people, are going to give you their impressions. Those opinions are not always helpful, in fact they can hold you back if not presented constructively or even if they are, you may wonder what on earth you are doing trying to write a novel…especially if you are like me with next to no training or classes to bolster your belief that you can do this. On the other hand, a critique group with at least some seasoned writers, can effectively  provide you with all kinds of beneficial feedback.

So do you share or not? I didn’t for most of the book, but once I started I was always improving my work. I’ve come to trust my colleagues and believe they have my best interests in mind so their help is invaluable to me now.

My first chapter opened up an area that the story line had to follow. That direction soon led to more characters, more directions and ideas for the story. I was off and running .