Stars float by in the night sky illuminating my every unspoken wish. Large yellow moon shines on my unfulfilled dreams. I am overwhelmed with thoughts of what if’s. Instead of looking for the why not’s.
Following the path of those before me I’m guided thru the darkness by trails of dropped hopes. I must walk to the end and there I will finally find the meaning of my existence.
This is cheating.
The sneaking around, hiding, avoiding. being deflective in your answers. It’s not even the act itself as the manner in which it’s brought about. For a long time now you knew how you felt, convincing yourself that you can do better than what you had, that the proverbial grass was greener on the other side.
It didn’t start out intentional. You got bored. A chance meeting here, a we’re just friends there, What I didn’t know wouldn’t hurt me you argued with yourself. Then you heard the siren’s call and abandoned what you once promised to hold most dear. You tossed me aside like an old pair of shoes that no longer fit your purpose and pursued the white-hot flame that would bring you something new, exciting, and not me.
The next step will be the awkward separation. The its not you it’s me phase, Then you’ll tell your friends who will wholeheartedly agree with you that it is me and they never understood why you were with me in the first place. You wont outwardly feel guilty. In fact you’ll make it a point to show me indifference and then outright hostility. It will become my fault. I caused you to search elsewhere with my mediocre life existence and then in a moment of guilt you’ll tell me that you never intended to hurt me. I’ll hear that you loved me once, but can no longer bring yourself to be in love with me, or worse yet you’ll get over any remorseful feelings you temporarily have and say you never loved me. You’ll say all kinds of nasty thing to and about me then make your feelings fit your words to get the end result you want. You’ll tell me I was convenient and now it’s time to find your true love and start living the life you always wanted and deserved, that I held you back from.
Silly me. Why didn’t I see it before? Truth is I did. I had a foreboding feeling, a sixth sense if you will that something wasn’t right. I noticed the avoidance, the change in moods and the feeling of ever-increasing loneliness that crept up in my soul as a sign of my future abandonment by you. I just chose to ignore it, quash It down and chalk it up to that you were going through a rough patch and had to work out some issues.
Sure you threw me a bone here and there to throw me off the scent. My brain didn’t want to register your actions as a sign of the end is near. Self preservation I suppose until I caught you red handed in the act. My world imploded with the force of an atomic bomb and nothing would ever be right again.
You knew I was fragile and you tore me down anyways. It was all part of your mental separation plan. Your own self survival mode conniving you into believing that this is the right way. So you became cold and decided to rip the bandage off quickly admitting everything you should have a long time ago before you made your decision to turn to another. Truth is you couldn’t do the separation without a push from her. She told you it’s her or me and you chose new and exciting believing that it would stay that way forever.
Now my own self doubt takes over. I don’t need you to tear me down, I can do that all on my own. I chastised myself privately for a myriad of flaws that I believed caused you to push me away. I’m to fat, I’m to thin, I spent too much money, I ignored your needs, I smothered you, I relied on you too much, I didn’t rely on you enough, I’m no longer pretty anymore (if I ever was), I’m a no talent hack who is just to stupid to live, I grew old.
This is cheating aftermath.
Eventually I will get over the hurt and build myself back up, slowly at first. I will lick my wounds and feel sorry for myself for while, then I’ll reinvent myself while trying to reinvent the wheel. I’ll go back to school, travel, join a gym, change my hairstyle, buy that car I always wanted you said was a ridiculous waste of money, write a book, maybe even move to another city.
l will survive because even though I appear emotionally fragile on the outside prone to easily to tears, inside I am tough as steel. I will have learned not to ignore my sixth sense and will be wary next time, given there is a next time, that requirement is no longer necessary for me to move on from you. I will appear more confident though that will really be a façade for me just not giving a damn anymore. I will trust no one ever again even though I will smile as if I do.
I will think of you from time to time and the silent anger I still carry will burn like a flickering flame threatening to once again take over my being, but instead I will find a way to snuff it out for a while till the day comes when it no longer ignites. I might even say I have forgiven you, but truth is deep down inside I never will.
My co-author Von is teaching one of our coworkers how to crochet. Wanting nothing to do with crafts whatsoever, I can’t help but watch in fascination whenever Erica visits Von’s desk. I may not want to be bothered with it, but I respect the art.
With much patience, Von instructs her on how to hold the crochet needle and what stitches to use. Since they’ve started Erica’s lessons, she’s made much progress on the pot holder or whatever she’s attempting to make. Much to my horror, the last time Erica visited for a lesson, Von cruelly laughed and ripped the stitches apart, destroying her work. Well, maybe she didn’t laugh, but all that hard work was unraveled back into a ball of yarn. It may seem mean, but Von says taking it apart is the best way for Erica to learn.
The same lesson can be applies to our writing. About two months ago, we were working on our fourth project when things just didn’t feel right. I hadn’t told her, but I felt bored and the writing felt stale. Chalking it up to exhaustion, I’d leave the project alone for a couple days, come back and feel the same way. I talked to her about what I was feeling and much to my surprise, she felt the same way. We’re both under the philosophy that if it isn’t right, we’re not going to publish it. Though it was painful, we went back over what we thought was complete, ripped it apart at the seams and started from scratch.
Our main problem was that we were dumbing down two very intelligent supporting characters. Knowing that these two important people would already know what was going on, we took it from there. The stone that we thought things were set in was shattered and we started back from the beginning. Starting from scratch was exactly what we needed. Along the way we’ve stitched in material that makes for a more interesting read. Now we’re both happy with the nearly finished product.
Though it may hurt, sometimes taking things apart and starting fresh is exactly what you need.
Whether it’s an argument or a stunning revelation, people especially women, love drama. It’s the reason the Housewives franchise of reality TV shows is ongoing and it’s the reason viewers flock to watch Scandal every Thursday. People love sitting safely on the other side of their TV’s or their books, watching the drama explode around them.
With out books, we can have all the paranormal activity, romance, and mystery you can think of, but what really makes a difference with our readers is the human drama. The best advice I’ve ever seen from a fellow writer was if you want to create drama, throw a character who has nothing to do with a particular situation, right smack dab in the middle of it.
As writers, it’s something we take into account with every project. Over the past couple months we’ve adopted the philosophy of making story decisions in the interest of drama. Say a character has an announcement to make, how would that announcement make the bigger impact? Who can we throw in the mix to shake things up? What if someone has a secret? Who would be the worst possible person to learn that secret? How can we make the biggest shock waves across our book?
When it comes down to it, people want the arguing, the fighting, and the conflict, with none of the real life stress. Give them what they want and you’ll be rewarded.
Von was just minding her own business, going to the break room at our job when she was accosted by one of our readers. She’d just finished reading our third book and demanded to know what would happen next. She begged and begged, promising to buy our next book, she just had to have the answer. Like we always do, Von told her she would have to wait until the next book is out.
We’ve been bribed, extorted and threatened by readers/coworkers who after reading the ending of one book, wants to know how the cliffhanger is going to be resolved in the next. I think it’s one thing as authors we’ve gotten right. Every one of our books end with bait to get the reader to buy the next one.
If you’re an author with one off books with unconnected stories it won’t work. But if you’re planning a series you may want to give your readers extra incentive to come back. A cliffhanger doesn’t have to be the damsel in distress tied to the railroad tracks. It could be as simple as will they or won’t they get together, which of the characters is hiding a pregnancy, or what’s in the briefcase the villain has been carrying around.
Whatever you decide, don’t be shocked if your readers get confrontational and want to know what happens next.
One of our readers asked if we ever considered the possibility of hiring models to pose as our main characters for the cover of our books, The Body Hunters. We politely said no, it wasn’t something we would consider.
Reading is about imagination and fantasy. My vision of what Danielle Labouleaux and that fine hunk of a man, Aiden Stone look like may be different from my co-author’s vision of them, which is different from our reader’s vision of what the couple looks like. Putting two models on the cover could be disruptive to the reader’s experience and may turn them off if the model’s appearance is not what they had in mind.
I confess that the same thing happened to me with a series of novels I read. The series was briefly turned into a TV series. Now the male protagonist got a pass, he looked like I would imagine his character to be. His female partner was not. The actress was blond while the character was a brunette. She looked Hollywood glamorous while in the books the character was a bit of a tomboy and an athlete. For whatever reason I just couldn’t fall in love with the show like I wanted and the changes in appearance may have been why. Now I’m afraid to pick up the next book in the series because I think the show may have ruined it for me.
It’s something to consider as an author when the time comes around to design your book covers. Sometimes letting your audience use their own imagination is the best policy. Besides, the actor I envision as Aiden Stone is a little too busy making movies to worry about a book cover shoot. : )