September 10, 2012

Anatomy of an eBook:  Something Real

It sounded so simple...Answer reader's requests to know more about a strained romantic relationship that was in the background of my book The Heat of Heat, and since the female half of this duo, Olivia (Liv) Oliveira had been introduced in my book Save The Best For Last , why not have her share a story with the heroine's other friend from that book, Francesca (Cesca) Perry?  I'd already set the stage by having Cesca harbor an intense dislike for policemen...and I'd included a scene where the heroine, Gen, encounters a policeman who is initially suspicious of her marriage when she is unable to give him a contact number for her husband other than, "Four pound" on her cell phone speed dial.  He quickly reverses his opinion when he witnesses Gen's husband Dexter rush to her hospital bed and interact with her tenderly, unaware that his first suspicions were was a sham marriage, but the two of them were actually falling in love.

I decided to put Cesca and that suspicious policeman, Terrence, in what would be a complete romance, with the requisite happy ending, but that the relationship between Liv and her love Brian had the potential for more angst, so their tortured relationship would not be resolved this time around (Let me say that again, will not be resolved).  Because this book would be divided into Book I and Book II, with the first beginning the spring after Save The Best For Last ended, with a jump forward for Book II to after the end of The Heat of Heat, I would have an opportunity to let readers witness the start of Liv's love affair with Brian and see what drove them apart.  Then I threw a wrench into the story that really twisted it up, because there's nothing like giving the readers a good surprise that they (if I'm lucky) won't see coming.

Yes, it sounded simple.  Yet, this book is turning out to be Extremely, with a capital E, difficult to write.  I'm not sure why.  Like all my books, I had this story outlined before I started to write.  But as I do a read-through I'm finding that I need additional scenes here and there, need to move this scene up and push that scene other words, this thing is driving me nuts.  The only thing that is keeping me going is that I absolutely loooooove the way it's turning out!

Which brings me to the point of my post (yes, I know, it's about time).  Why are some books so hard to write while with others I can't get the words out fast enough?  My last two eBooks, Isn't She Lovely? and A Kiss of a Different Color, were both easy to write.  Sure, I added scenes here and there when transitions seemed too harsh, and characters needed more development so readers could really feel they knew them.  But they were quick writes, with the former following the latter to publication by just five months.

It has now been over six months since Isn't She Lovely? was put on sale, and I'm still working on Something Real.  My goal is to have it turned over to the editor by the end of this month and to publish by the end of October.  But I'm not sure why some stories are soooo difficult while others are so easy.  If anyone has any ideas, please share!

And wish me luck! 


J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Bettye,
Interesting questions. I think your dilemma probably has to do with the story itself and the characters.

I've found thar some stories are like gifts. They come almost complete and all I have to do is write as long as the words are flowing.

Others have complex characters that don't exactly move willingly in the direction I want to take them and this sometimes proves challenging.

This is probably why I always have several books going at a time. While I'm working out how to make the characters and storylines fall in place, I'm writing what comes easier.

Hope it comes together soon.

Anonymous said...

For me it depends on how close to home the book it, by this I mean is it something that is close to a situation I have been in...It takes me longer to make sure the book 'Isnt about me"...


Debbie said...

I'm the same. Sometimes the words just go from subconscious to keyboard barely registering in conscious brain - and at other times it all seems so forced. I think it comes down to two things - knowing your characters well enough to let them tell their own story without interference and caring about the characters. I've got 80k of a fantasy I wrote many years back where I just don't care enough to finish it! Yet the current thriller WIP is just racing along...

Yvonne Hertzberger said...

I am working on the third and final volume in my trilogy and am finding it much more difficult. In my case I think it is because I can't just let it go where it wants to. I need to keep up the tension but still have everything wrap up neatly at the end.

bettye griffin said...

I know what you mean, J.L. I usually have several projects going simultaneously myself (I did manage to revise a backlist title, Accidentally Yours, and put it on sale last month). But my feeling now is that I need to devote 100% of my time to this project, or else it'll never be ready to publish!

Angelia, interesting take. I haven't experienced what these characters have, but yet I feel as if I know them intimately, even though I have to guide them along.

Debbie, isn't it wonderful when the characters take over the story? That is not happening with this story. For some reason, even though the characters have defined personalities, I have to guide them along! That might be part of the problem.

Good luck to you, Yvonne! If it's any consolation, you are not alone in your struggle!

Thanks for posting, everyone!

Lynn Emery said...

Interesting. I faced the same thing with readers asking questions about characters. If in my mind I've said all I can creatively at that point, then the words would not come. Or the words that came out would not be acceptable to me at all. I've continued characters and settings, but I had to give it time and do it my own way. Sometimes wrote other books. In about three instances ideas hit me years later Example- I'd thought, "Hmm. What happens when Talia's mama gets out of prison?" Then I could write making a secondary character the protag.

bettye griffin said...

Oh, yes, Lynn, I'm familiar with that scenario. I received dozens of requests from readers asking for a sequel to my 2005 mainstream debut, The People Next Door. I just didn't have a story, and it was several years later before I thought of one. Trouble Down The Road was published five years later, in 2010! Sometimes ideas take time to ferment.

Thanks for posting!