Is it bad that it’s the day before November, NaNoWriMo month, starts, and I’ve still not decided which of two stories to pursue?

It’s bad, isn’t it.

One is Prairie Fire, a historical romance set in 1863 Lawrence, Kan. My hero, Aisircul, is a redeemed fallen angel who has walked the Earth since the time of Christ, plagued with the ‘gift’ of foreseeing horrific acts; my heroine, Jane, is a woman who lives with her widowed father on their farm, resisting all attempts to be married off so she can maintain some independence.

The other is forget oneself, a contemporary and more literary (doesn’t really fit a genre) novel where my protagonist Adrian tries to learn who murdered his unfaithful wife, because he doesn’t remember the night in question, thanks to his steadily worsening drinking habit. It promises to be stuffed with backstory and reminiscing, which my various how-to guides advise me to steer clear of if possible, as those types of scenes are hard to make interesting, since if you’re in the past, nothing is happening in the present.

Adrian is my oldest creation — he’s languished in my head for 17 years. He’d like to have his story told. But Aisircul also interests me, though his story is requiring a lot of research, and I’m finding new things to look up almost every time I turn around, including how an Arabic man would have been treated back then, and how interracial relationships would have been received (so far, that answer seems to be: poorly).

I don’t know what to do!

Aisircul and GH

Despite the bit that I posted earlier, so far I am struggling with my two leads for Prairie Fire, Aisircul and Jane Singer. My primary trouble is that I do not know who they are, or why they would be interested in each other.

I have a good grasp on Aisircul, which does not surprise me, as male characters grab my attention better than female characters. Jane, my heroine — the character you’d think an aspiring romance writer would have the better handle on — is as smoke. She refuses to solidify. What little idea I have of her is a blonde 20-something who is almost Belle-like in her cheerfulness, a not-quite Purity Sue. This is unfortunate, because that’s the sort of character I can’t abide.

Aisircul, however, is proving resistant to the idea of romance. He doesn’t seem to feel that he would be right, or that he should fall in love. It doesn’t seem to be a case of feeling he doesn’t deserve love, but rather that he somehow shouldn’t ask, that he should be content with his lot as it is. And he is very happy with where he is — pretty much anything beats being in Hell.

In the meantime, while I wrestle with those two (or perhaps pack Aisircul off to a different tale), I’ve been feeling pulled to work on Getting Hammered, the namesake of this blog, again. I have 11 more sections thought up, and a few of them started, but they have languished while I went off to work on small exorcisms (a story that may never see the light of day).

I’m going to get something written, doggone it…

PF: First words

May 22, 1863


Last night, I dreamt of fire.

Fire, and death. Men lying in the streets, dying as buildings burn around them.

As it has been, so shall it be.

I am so tired of this war. I long for my home.

When I woke, I asked the question I have asked these long years… How much longer?

Yesterday, before I rested, I saw that I am finally drawing near another town. A Pony Express rider told me it is Lawrence, a free town, one that I should be able to find shelter in, where people would protect me, and not put me back in chains.

He meant the chains of men. I thanked him for his information.

Perhaps it will do me good to be among others again. I have spent much of this war hiding, trying to avoid being caught in the many, many battles, but helping who I can.

I pray there are good people there. And I pray they are not the faces I saw in my dreams.

As you know…

I’m debating on how best to write Prairie Fire.

I’ve established to myself that description is rather difficult for me, and thus everything I write ends up being rather short. Make no mistake; I do go back and attempt to correct this, by adding more description, but the result then reads unevenly — the tone changes perceptibly (to me) in between sentences.

Romance novels, from what I have read so far, are chock-a-block with description. This could more be from how I’m perceiving them, though — I’m LOOKING for description for examples, thus it stands out.

Still, it is a limitation of mine, and a frustrating one for a writer to have. Thus, I have a potential solution.

Epistolary form!

The first thing that comes to mind when I consider this form is that I would, of course, still need description to get the reader involved in the story, in a way that they get a good sense of my characters’ world. But in epistolary form, how do I then avoid the “As You Know” trope from being a problem? Carefully, I suppose. 🙂