In Brief

I've written a series of four lesbian detective novels, unimaginatively called, "The Detective Series." They are available for your purchasing pleasure on amazon.com in paperback and Kindle versions and on bn.com for Nook. In addition, I like sunsets, single malt scotch, and some other thing that starts with the letter S. This blog gets updated once a week or so and usually has something to do with my experiences as a writer.

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Thursday
Jun022011

This post ends with a river analogy, er, just because

This is my first time working on a series as opposed to a stand alone book, and let me tell you, things get complex. While I describe this series as smutty, lesbian detective novels, the truth is that these books are a hybrid of detective and general fiction, and this means that my main character herself is at least as important - more so now, actually - than whatever case she's working on.

Aside: The traditional detective part of these books is actually the most difficult for me to write, and to be honest, I don't see myself re-visiting this genre once I am done with this series. It'll be pure smut from here on out. (Kidding, kittens. Just kidding. Although maybe not.)

Funny thing happens when you keep writing for a character. They have to keep doing things. And interacting with people. And those people have to keep doing things. Pesky readers insist that things make sense, so backstory is required, and while your story keeps moving forward, the really crazy part (this may or may not make your brain hurt) is that your story must also keep moving backwards. You must keep delving further and further into what makes your character(s) tick, what makes their relationships with each other interesting, and what can you drag up from the past that will be grist for the future mill? Because you need grist. Without grist, you might as well just be writing a lame ass blog.

Oh wait.

*shrugs*

So here I am in book #3, and I sort of ran willy-nilly into the river of this book. I remember standing on the bank, thinking, "Hey, it's time to learn more about X! And Y! That will be cool! And probably explain something! I don't know what, but I'll figure it out!" and then I took off my shoes and hit the water full speed. 

Now I'm in the river, pretty firmly at 8000 words, and suddenly, I'm looking around going, "What the fuck is happening here? And why, dear god, why is it happening? Who are these people? WHAT HAVE I DONE?" 

Nothing to do but get to the other side, though, which means I will be spending a lot of non-writing time on the book today, figuring out this mess. Hopefully I'll get in some writing time as well, but what's most important today is getting the nuts and bolts sorted.

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Reader Comments (9)

I'm having the opposite experience, in that I'm now feeling like mystery stories are what I should have been doing all along. Well, I sort of have been, since my first novel was a rather nontraditional mystery and my second one contained a murder mystery (oddly, there was a murder mystery and a detective, but they never got together -- the detective never investigated the murder, which was solved by someone else).

As for writing the same characters, yes, backwards and forwards and sideways. This is one thing that Stieg Larsson did fairly well in the Milennium books, showing us Lisbeth Salander and then, when we were hooked, gradually revealing some of how she ended up that way.

The challenge of writing characters for a long time, in my experience (and I have characters I've been writing for several decades) is that they get harder to order around. :-) The good part is that, as they grow up, they do more and more of the work by themselves.

June 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Lee Collins

I don't think I'll be with this character for decades - not in a main character sort of way at least. But who knows? Maybe I won't be able to let her go. One of the reasons I think I will be able to is that I sort of feel like I'm putting her through the wringer in this series, and I like the idea of her life settling down and being generally happy after this, and that does not make for interesting novels!

June 3, 2011 | Registered CommenterSonje Jones

I could write pages and pages of my sick love for my MC. Oh wait, I have! Since the last name-change she's gotten really bad-ass. Yesterday she swore on camera. My girl! How quickly they grow up.

For my backstory, I brainstormed (god i hate that word) 100 random things about MC. I promptly forgot about this and dug it up only after my first draft, but that was perfect. Revisions are a lovely time to weave in some of these things. Much of it was lies I had to cross out, but some tidbits remained.

Good luck pressing on! 10k is within reach!

June 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTamaraPaulin

I don't know much about your YA book except that there's a guy with washboard abs and the consensual achievement of third base. Now that you tell me there's swearing too, I must learn more. Perhaps it's time to delve into your archives...

Oh, 10k is pretty easy for me. I should be there tomorrow unless something goes terribly wrong. 35k-55k is where the going gets difficult before it eases up a bit again for the final push to the end. I'm hoping this book ends up being somewhere between 65k-70k. I'd rather it not be longer, but we shall see what happens.

June 3, 2011 | Registered CommenterSonje Jones

Rah! Why are your posts appearing in my inbox, but not showing up in my blog? *cries*

June 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterM.

I figured it out! Stupid blogger had them in the "spam" comments section. Just the last two comments, for some reason. Problem fixed. Sorry.

Re this: "What the fuck is happening here? And why, dear god, why is it happening? Who are these people? WHAT HAVE I DONE?"

Exactly how I feel. Every day. When writing and sometimes when not writing.

Where can I find your books?

June 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterM.

I noticed it didn't show up again, but I figured it was some blogger thing. Glad you fixed it!

Alas, you can't find my books anywhere. Except on my computer. But first you would have to find my computer! To actually answer your question, though, I am in "contract negotiation" with one of those little queer presses about the first book in this series I keep referring to here and everywhere else. Or I think I am. "Contract negotiations" seem to be having a phone conversation, they say they'll get back to me, and then I sit around for many weeks waiting for them to do so. If they don't, or if they do but I don't like the new terms of the contract, I'll *probably* just self-publish because I hate this "trying to get published" game. But I would wait to do that until after I finish writing all four books in this series. And even if I did sign a contract with Undisclosed Publisher tomorrow, it would probably be a year before book #1 was available to buy. These things take a long time, apparently.

After the long answer, here's the short answer: Stay tuned to this blog! As soon as one of my books are available for purchase, in whatever format that might be, I will be pimping them all over this here joint. But it probably won't be for at least a year.

June 3, 2011 | Registered CommenterSonje Jones

HAH. Love the analogy. Love love love love LOOOOVE the "must go forwards AND BACKWARDS AT THE SAME TIME" point, b/c it is so twisted and true.

I kind of hate you for how quickly you write. I mean, not really. But sort of. :P

June 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristan

If it makes you feel any better, I'm afraid I might be writing myself very quickly into a big mess this time around. Hopefully not, but we'll see. This book, I think, will be quite different from the other three in the series. As I'm sure you can imagine (having read books 1 and 2), Oz has a lot to deal with in this book, which means *I* have a lot to deal with LOL.

June 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterSonje Jones

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