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. 🙂

Thread count

What is the right amount of storylines for a romance novel?

I confess that I am seriously ignorant of the genre. I do not read romance novels, and watching ‘romantic’ movies generally drives me insane. For example: Years ago, my mother and sister asked me to watch “Sense and Sensibility” with them. I indicated that I would rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick than watch such a film, but they persisted. Eventually, my adoration of Alan Rickman won out, and I watched it, but secretly wondered if a viral form of laryngitis among the characters wouldn’t have improved things.

The late Richard Jeni observed that women and men like different things in movies.

I have been firmly on the men’s side of that for… Let’s see now… Ever. (Except for what he says about porn.) I watched Alien when I was twelve. Sure, I read The Babysitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High, but found Stephen King and R. L. Stine much more to my liking.

And yet I want to write a romance novel, and I think I have an interesting enough story that I want to do right by it. But my long-honed aversion to the genre is making things difficult.

Anyone have any suggestions on what I should do?

An issue

In my preparation for attempting to write a romance novel, I have been reading some current romance novels. Two so far.

Perhaps it’s coincidence, but the male counterparts to the heroine both seem to be very self-assured (read: arrogant) men who know what they want in life, damn it, and are going to just go out and get it. Both heroines are almost equally self-assured, and hold the initial opinion that the hero is a, well, jerk. Then sparks start flying, etc.

My hero, Aisircul, doesn’t fit this mold, although my heroine, Delilah, is closer. At present (hah!) she is about 25 years old, running her family’s small homestead/farm close to Lawrence after her parents died a few years back. She’s used to being in charge and not taking (too much) guff from men, including the man who is determined to make her his wife. Thankfully, this man isn’t quite Gaston from Beauty and the Beast wearing a hat; he is a good man, and means well, but he’s not quite right for her because he’s more rational than she is.

If a stranger comes to town claiming the town will burn, that more than 100 people will die, and all this will happen in five days, that’s someone who should perhaps be kept away from the town citizens at large because otherwise he’ll start a panic that could be worse than what he’s predicting. Delilah doesn’t see it quite that way, and ultimately takes Aisircul (the doomsayer) to her farm. (If she didn’t, then there’d be very little chance of them meeting and getting to know each other, let alone fall in love.)

Aisircul, given his true nature, isn’t looking for love — he doesn’t feel he deserves it, and he feels disconnected from life on Earth on a fundamental level. He’s not assertive unless he’s trying to prevent devastation; the rest of time, he’d be flabbergasted and shy if anyone showed interest in him, especially romantic.

These things being said, would this story sell? Would anyone want to read this?