Shelley Aikens:  Hot, Steamy Erotica
Finally finished revisions for the children's novel, or at least I've revised as much as I can for now. I can't believe what a struggle revision can be, or how long it can take, particularly at this point, when I'm working on my own and just trying to get a solid grasp of the story before sharing it with anyone else. It's a difficult time, because the story is still so fresh that I'm not yet ruthless enough to chop entire scenes or rework the whole middle third of the novel (which is something I have a sinking feeling I'll need to do, so I'm letting it sit for a few weeks before tackling it again). Hopefully I will be struck with vicious brilliance between now and Revision#3, and I won't even have to do a Revision#4... Well, that is of course until a publisher gets hold of it and then there are a million more revisions you never would have thought of on your own... *sigh*  

So of course the antidote to Revision Blues is to start writing again! 10,000 words into my Cornwall erotica now, which is just a bit slow getting off the ground--or getting down to the ground, if you know what I mean... I guess it's not that surprising, considering I just spent a few months buried in the world of children's books, but I (and my characters) are really ready for a bit of smut! Overdue for Smut... okay, maybe not as catchy as Overdue for Pleasure...  But anyway, to stop my characters' bickering/flirting for a while, I've trapped them in a priest's confessional... Now let's see what kind of mischief they get up to! 

I do have to say that I love this part of the writing process--it's just so much fun! Everything is possible, and nothing seems complicated, and I usually have such a crush on my guy character, kind of like when you first meet someone and they're still really perfect in your eyes... But to make matters worse this time, I've based him on a  "real" guy (well, "real" in a gorgeous TV handyman kind of way) that I sort of have a crush on in real life, but maybe more on that another time... :) 

I can't believe the date of my last entry on this blog! Has it really been that long? No, I haven't been in a 2-year coma, and no I haven't quit writing to become a nun or anything like that. But actually it's kind of close... I've spent the last year and a half in the writing-coma that is new parenthood! Yes, I've been busy creating, but not writing--I've actually made a real human being with my latest creative efforts! I have to say that so far, he's my masterpiece. If I could turn him into a book, he'd be a bestseller for sure. :) 

But for anyone who's tried it, writing erotica while caring for a newborn on relatively little sleep while longing for a shower and wearing spitup-stained yoga pants for the tenth day in a row doesn't really work all that well... Or at least it doesn't work for me, though I'd love to hear from anybody who has been able to make it work! Writing while pregnant would have been great (nobody ever told me about the effects of pregnancy hormones on the sex drive--wowza!), but I was inevitably too exhausted at the end of each long work day to do anything more ambitious than just collapse into bed. But now that I'm moving out of the blissful fog of new motherhood, I'm finding myself craving writing time again, sneaking away to dash off a little fantasy scene or two while the baby's sleeping. 

Eventually, I was able to find enough time and focus to rewrite my second novel, which I'm shopping around right now. It's super hot but at the same time a bit of a genre-bender, with a hint of magic woven through in an otherwise realistic plot. Magical erotic chick lit, is about the best way to describe it... You could never class it as a paranormal, but there are definitely a few elements in it that make you have to stretch a bit to suspend disbelief. Just a few, though--think "Bewitched" with an erotic twist!  

And so now, here I am working on my third novel. So excited about this one! It's another librarian on an erotic adventure, this time taking a house swap to Cornwall, where the locals are just as gorgeous as the scenery... Well, at least that's what I think it will turn out to be--you never know what will happen to a story after you start writing it.  Stay tuned and I'll let you know how it goes...

Just finished the first draft of my second novel. (Finally!!!! I was worried it would go on and on forever!)  So now I'm starting in on the first round of edits.  

It comes at a good time, as I've just accepted a full time gig at the library, rather than the flexible part time that I've been used to, so for the next few months I won't have as much time to devote to my writing :(  

I'm not super-excited about the new work gig, although my bank account will be very pleased!  Just as long as I can somehow keep up some portion of my writing schedule, I won't complain.  I'm trying to make a plan to either write on my lunch hour (if I can find a suitably private space, lol) or late in the evening, so hopefully I'll keep up with all the smutty stories that are in my head fighting to get out...  

Usually my daily writing goal is 2000 words, which sometimes takes me just an hour or two to get down, but more often takes a whole day of sitting in front of the computer forcibly trying to drag my attention away from all the bright & shiny distractions on the Internet... I think I may need to go back to writing longhand to keep myself away from temptation :)  I'm not sure what my daily writing goal will be now that I'm working full time.  Can I reach 1000 words? Or is that just dreaming in colour?  Maybe have 500 words as a minimum, but aim for 1000 if it's going well?  I guess I'll soon see, as I start my new schedule next week.

Actually, I've been trying to follow Stephen King's writing advice from his book On Writing. I love that book--it's so simple and straightforward and  practical while also being quite entertaining and inspiring. His advice is to devote yourself to your writing as though it's any other career, spending a lot of time on professional development (reading) as well as the actual work of writing. 

In fact, he suggests a reading/writing schedule of 4-6 hours a day.  He suggests a daily writing goal of 2000 words (which for him seems to take about 3 hours to finish) and at least a couple of hours a day of reading. I like the simplicity of it, and it really makes sense to me.  Brilliant! Just read & write, read & write, read & write...  Sounds sort of like a perfect life :)

He summarizes it so simply:
  • "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot." (145)
About reading in particular, he says:
  • "Reading is the creative center of a writer's life" (147)
  • "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write." (147)
  • "Constant reading will pull you into a place (a mind-set if you like the phrase) where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness. (150)
And he doesn't discriminate between so-called "good" writing and "bad" writing. He points out that both extremes have something to teach a writer--something to either emulate or avoid in your own writing. I really love how this gives me permission to sit around reading "junky" novels--it's part of my job as a writer!

Hmm, maybe I'll end up spending my lunch hour reading instead of writing? I am surrounded by all of those lovely books, after all... 

Now back to my revisions!
Overdue for Pleasure is about 65,000 words long.  That's a pretty quick read, just a bit longer than your average Harlequin romance.  I like that length, both as a writer and a reader, and so with my current work in progress, I've been aiming for something along those lines.  But now 65,000 words has come and gone, and still there's no end in sight... Not that I'm complaining, because I love my new characters and all of the crazy fantasy scenarios they're getting into, and I'm reluctant to say goodbye to them just yet.  

But it's disconcerting that I suddenly have no idea what's going to happen next--and who knows how much longer I'll have to keep writing before I find out? I have an idea of how the story should end, but when it comes down to it, I find that I actually seem to have very little control over how it turns out.

Although I have to say that I do love that moment--that Eureka! surprise moment when the characters do something so outrageous and unexpected, and the story delights me all over again.  I LOVE it, except when (as is happening right now) their changing their mind takes them away from the fantasy that I've been looking forward to writing for the last few weeks... But they are (hopefully) travelling towards an even hotter scene... I guess I'll just have to wait and see!