I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was pretty fantastic, aside from a few minor incidents. Nothing too major. When you have annoying people in your life, annoying things happen, but nothing fantastic food, lively games, and some presents couldn’t smooth over.
Here, have some baby opening Christmas presents spam. I’ll wait.
Anyway, Now that January is trucking right into the lot, I’ve got a couple new story ideas brewing that I think are going to be swell, and I thought I’d share them with you. Do you mind?
That’s just a working title, and nowhere close to anything I would actually officially name a story. This idea sprung up from my love of bad characters that I shouldn’t love. And by bad, I mean morally deficient.
For example, Sebastian Monroe in the TV series (gone too soon, may it rest in peace) Revolution. The guy is evil. And at times he helps out the good guys, but he’s never truly good. He’s always got his own motives and schemes going, and we know it. The writers didn’t try to fool us into thinking he’d changed for the good. He was bad for all to see.
Or Four in Divergent. Now, he wasn’t morally deficient, but he was creepy. I was actually really disappointed in the second and third book how much he softened up. He was such a hardnose in the first one, and he absolutely terrified me, and then all that was stripped away and I was devastated.
Or Dally in The Outsiders. The book, not the movie. The movie didn’t do a dang thing for me. But in the book Dally is a bad kid. Like, pretty sure he’s killed people. Pretty sure he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. And he makes no bones about it. He’s a scary character, even though we like him.
What really sealed the deal for me on writing this story though is Six of Crows. Kaz Brecker is morally deficient and he’s frightening. And I LOVE him.
So, I created Brass. That’s not really his name, but it’s the only one you’re likely to get from him.
This story starts when the King of Khassan says that Brass is nothing more than a common criminal, and orders the Dukes to get him under control, as he’s been wreaking havoc hither and yon.
Brass takes that rather hard. No one calls him common. Of course he has to take that as a personal challenge, and sets out to kidnap the King’s daughter, Princess Tamille, just to show how common he is.
From there there’s a nice mix of plots. There’s a rebellion trying to form in the country, and the rebels leaders think someone like Brass is exactly what they need. But Brass isn’t exactly a shut up and follow orders type, and he’s too busy running his own web of destruction on the planet to be bothered by official rebellions. But then the rebels kidnap his princess, and he has to reassess his plans a bit.
It’s going to be delicious. I can’t wait. I’m really trying to go for that scary feeling. I want to make a reader feel guilty for liking this guy. *Evil laughter*
Obviously, that’s not the title either. Cut me some slack.
When I was young, I read prairie romance novels. Not smutty romance novels, but stuff by Janette Oke, Hilda Stahl, and Diane Mills. Christian stories about women out in the west, and their families. I loved westerns (still do), but I wanted to read about girls, so that’s how I filled the need. Then I got out of that phase and read almost exclusively fantasy through my teen years. I hadn’t touched a prairie romance in many moons, when all the sudden this fall I got the itch. And I read like twelve of them, some new, some old.
And as I read them, I suddenly remembered why I had quit reading them during the crazy teen years.
1. They preach.
2. They’re cheesy. I’ve never met a man that sensitive, and when I did, he didn’t like women, just saying. Manly, sensitive guys exist, but not THAT sensitive. It’s just too much.
3. The characters are perfect, or at least one of them is. Either the woman had a low life husband who wasn’t walking with the good Lord and she’s just praying for patience with him, or he was the perfect picture of a saint and she was a bit shadier.
4. The conversion scene. Spare me.
5. They preach.
6. They’re unrealistic.
7. They’re cheesy.
8. They make a really big deal about these arranged marriages and mail order bride things where the couple gets married, and then he gallantly sleeps on the floor for six months. I could be wrong, (but I’m pretty sure I’m not, because I’ve read lots of real life diaries and biographies etc about people in those types of marriages) but I don’t think anybody was sleeping on the floor. They got married out of necessity and moved on with life. No big deal.
9. Not everyone was in an arranged marriage. Out in the west men were a dime a dozen, but women were fewer. Women could essentially have their pick of the crop. It was the men who were more limited. If a girl didn’t like a guy, she didn’t have to marry him for fear of being a spinster forever. Some other guy would move right up in line and ask to court her instead.
So, as I mulled over these annoyances, but still loved the stories of women in the west, I decided I’d better take the expert advice and write the book I want to read.
Thus, I created Clara Parker, a young woman from Chicago, who after being repeatedly stalked and harassed by a reputable gentleman, answered a mail order bride ad in hopes of getting away. She travels to Wood River Centre Nebraska (which for you Nebraska peeps, is actually different from Wood River NE. Wood River Centre got renamed Shelton. Anyhoo) There she meets up with James Benton, a former Union soldier in the Civil War with a troubling secret in his past. After the war he moved out west to take advantage of the homestead act, and (like I said) there weren’t a whole lot of women to be had out there, and a lot of the men out east were gone after the war, so he sent out the ad.
After that there’s an awful lot of fun awkwardness as they try to get to know each other, and she tries to adjust to like if a sod house of all things. It’s all going splendidly, except for, Clara has a secret in her past too, and it won’t stay a secret for long.
So, that’s what I’ll be working on this new year. Well, technically, I’ve already started both of them, but I’ve only got a few thousand words down for each of them, so they’ll mostly be fresh projects come January.
What about you? Anything writerly on your agenda for the year? Who’s your favorite bad boy? What cliché’s do you want to kill? Hit me up with them!