RANDOMSby Jena: Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel: Part III

I am happy to report that I am in the full swing of rewriting my novel.  All the ideas that have been bubbling up here and there since my musically induced breakthrough I had during my last check-in finally started to drop together in a coherent story line. 


Although I am working from my original unfinished novel, it’s turning out to be a completely different book.  I have completely shifted the direction of the story, back stories, character profiles and the ending.  I know the basic path of the story and now I have to just get it all typed out.  The new direction of the book even helped me finally, after FIVE YEARS of being called Untitled Book, figure out a title – The Devil You Know.


In the last week, I have been writing like a maniac.  The first four pages of the original book that I have been rewriting quickly became twenty pages.  I have come to the realization that the original book that I wrote was a good seed of an idea but really not well written.  I think that my experience of reviewing books and analyzing the writing quality has giving me a leg up on knowing what sounds good and what just plain sucks.  I am much happier with what I am turning out now than what I wrote five years ago.   My characters have more depth this time around.  I thought out their profiles much more this time around so I feel like they are more solid than they were in the original piece. 


I also found that the original piece was all dialog and not a lot of internalization.  Everything that you needed to know, you got from conversation and after years of reading the genre (urban fantasy/PNR), I discovered that there is nothing wrong with story telling that doesn’t actually come straight from the mouth of the character in the moment.  I have also noticed that the lack of story telling in the original piece also made the book feel like I was giving away too much information all at once.  The mystery aspect of it wasn’t strong enough.  The story telling between dialog is allowing me to build up that mystery and I think it’s coming along nicely. 


I also found that I am able to write the horrific stuff a little better than I did back then.  Originally, my book was a vampire novel.  Now it’s an urban fantasy novel that happens to have a handful of vampires sprinkled throughout.  The big bad in the original novel was also a vampire and I have changed him to something else (because of the new direction of the story line).  Unfortunately, this meant that I had to rewrite a scene that I genuinely loved from the original piece.  In the original piece, our Big Bad viciously attacks and kills someone and I was in love with that scene.  Had the Big Bad remained a vampire in the new book, I don’t think I would have touched a word of that scene because, in my eyes, it was perfectly executed.  However, with the rewrite and the new species, I am very happy with the way it turned out.  You still understand that he is completely cold and unfeeling and totally dead inside and you’re a little bit horrified to even have to witness what happens.  I was afraid that by changing something so significant as what he was, I was going to lose that and I don’t think I did.


The one thing I am dreading is the sex scene.  Being a PNR novel, there is going to be a sex scene and I have read through what I originally wrote and it was NOT GOOD.  First off, there is a fundamental piece that has changed.  My main male lead is a vampire.  He was in the original piece and he is remaining so because…..well…..he just rocks.  In the original book, the sex scene was the pivotal moment where the female lead decides she wants to be turned.  This was a big moment for two reasons.  First, ummm it’s their sex scene.  Second, she CHOSE to be turned and turning someone and sex are both very intimate things and the scene was supposed to be this intense moment in the story.  And it was not.  Ugh!  It’s horrible!!  Scrap yard material.  To top that off, my main character is also something else now.  She’s not a mere mortal human as she was in the original piece.  She’s something just as bad ass as the vamp is and I don’t want to mess with that.  She’s a raging bad ass as is so that aspect is being left out.  That leaves me with a sex scene that I want to happen because it is significant to the two of them and NO IDEA how to write it without it sounding like A) porn  B) poorly written porn  C) silly poorly written porn with no point.  I also want the book to retain its edgy feel.  Every time I have ever tried to write a sex scene, it ends up being far too romantic and let’s face it.  We all know that the majority of the time, sex is not romantic.  It’s animal instinct at its best.  Unfortunately, I don’t know if I can write that.  That’s a dirty bridge I will cross when I get to it. 


Last night, my husband was being all supportive and gave me time to just write in silence.  Well, not complete silence as he was lying on the bed next to me snoring at an inhuman sound level but he tried anyway.  So I was writing away, wrapping up the chapter I had spent a good deal of the weekend working on when I had a great big revelation about my story line.  I have the characters, the major dilemma and how I want everything to end.  Basically, the writing I am doing is to fill in all of the spaces to get to each of those points.  The one thing I was missing was the big twist that no one would see coming.  I think about it a lot, actually.  My favorite thing about a good book is when you reach the tale end and something happens that makes you want to just freak out.  The unseen left hook right to the dome.  Well, last night, mine came to me.  So now, on the bookshelf above my bed (where I do most of my writing) is a Post-It note with one single word on it and that one word made me smile from ear-to-ear.  I have author friends who I have giggled with when they announce that they have had big revelations that completely change the course of their book.  They flip out and scream and yell and have their own personal little dork out party.  I giggle with them because it’s cute.  Once I read the material, I’m always like “you were absolutely right, that was awesome.”  I learned yesterday that you never understand the dork out moment the author has until you have one of your own.  I immediately e-mailed Ginny Lurcock and Amber Lynn Natusch and had my own dork out moment.  I was beyond excited.  The feeling when you figure out that last puzzle piece is……..absolutely, positively, incredible.  I totally get it now and the next time and author friend sends me that e-mail spazzing about their latest revelation, I promise to celebrate with them appropriately.  


So far, Ginny Lurcock and Amebr Lynn Natusch have both been given the first few chapters of my book.  I chose them because they’re both brutally honest and I need honesty from someone who understands the genre and knows what’s good and what isn’t.  As I hit send, I seriously could have peed my pants right there.  I was so nervous that they were going to be like “Ummmm, Jena.  Do.  Not.  Publish.  This.  Crap.”  Amber is busy plugging away at her next couple of releases so I don’t thing she’s had time to read it yet but Ginny has.  The reaction from Ginny was one hundred percent positive.  She said she can’t wait to read more.  I could not possibly have been more relieved!  Her reaction just made me more and more excited to write. 


Last word count:  9788



Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel: Part I
Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel: Part II

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  1. That’s awesome, Jena. Okay now I’m psyched for it and I didn’t even remember you were writing a novel. I might even be excited about the unseen left hook to the dome, though you make that sound painful. And yeah, stay away from “badly written porn with no point.”

    1. Thanks Matt! Keep an eye out for updates. 🙂 I am going to keep documenting my experience on here. 🙂

  2. I’ve also dug up an old manuscript and am trying to put a new spin on it. The first few weeks of working through the plot can feel like torture, so I’m eager to get to the “4 pages quickly turns into 20” that you’re now in. Your story about coming up with the big plot twist was fun…I carry around a notebook 24/7 in case inspiration strikes for that very reason!:)

  3. […] Jena’s Adventures in Writing a Novel: Part III […]

  4. […] Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel: Part I Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel: Part II Jena’s Adventure in Writing a Novel:  Part III […]

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