30 Days of Writing–Day 1: Favorite writing project

I saw this clever idea on someone’s blog via Twitter announcement and thought I’d give it a go.  Some of the questions may prove thought-provoking, others may yield barely a sentence or two.  We’ll see.  I’ll try not to drone on if feeling uninspired.  Promise.

To kick off the series, today’s topic is:

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

I’ve really enjoyed urban fantasy with my latest project My Fair Vampire, a piece that started off as a paranormal romance.  When the fantasy elements began to overshadow the romance, I realized I’d wandered too far from the traditional “happily ever after” (HEA) trope of romance.  More importantly, I didn’t want to wander back but to venture farther and farther into the darkness.

What did I find so seductive?  Probably the free reign of taking these supernatural creatures who have a few recognizable features but otherwise aren’t locked into stereotypes.  It’s like being handed a coloring book and told, “here we’ve done the hard part and drawn the outlines, given you something that readers will instantly recognize, but here’s a box of 164 Crayola Crayons, have at it.”

I didn’t make this discovery, however, until after I’d finished the first draft with its requisite HEA.  While the characters achieved a forced mutual bliss, I hadn’t.  I rewrote it.  It still ends on an upbeat note but the main characters have not yet concluded their tango and the love triangle hovers on the fringe. I’m fine with that because I love a slow burn romance anyway plus I think this ending was more realistic (and could lead to a sequel or two, wink, wink).  What I instead sought to evoke was relief that the non-romantic conflict established in the first chapter had been resolved, a conflict that turned out to be more complex than I’d originally anticipated.

As I work on the second draft, I’m pressing my crayon harder, coaxing darker, richer colors from the story, especially in the earlier chapters.  I’ve added charcoal to smudge the edges, added shadows where none existed before.  I think this is the right path for me, got a sense that it might be when I wrote The PURE with its darker criminal elements.  Not surprisingly, this parallels my current reading tastes too–the heroines are grittier, the conflicts more terrifying, the heroes more ambiguous.

I see an evolution in my writing as I approach what affords me greater inspiration and ease.  I’ll always have humor, no matter how dark.  That element is non-negotiable.  But as Dori, the heroine of My Fair Vampire, has evolved in her knowledge, grown in her independence, found her own unique path, she has brought the same to me.  How could that not make her story my favorite project thus far?

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