Diatribe: Good Girl Rants, & Widow
Since I published Integrated, I took a step back to reevaluate myself as a writer. I am determined to eliminate my bad habits, writing-wise, and slow down. A major thread of Widow is regret, and that is channeled from its author. My biggest regret is rushing a story.
When Good Girl was first published, I was proud of it. I thought it complete. I was wrong. I had written 70% of Widow shortly after Good Girl’s completion. I then took a step back and wrote KING, Faithless, The Hunter, Integrated, Hero, and found myself back to square one with Good Girl.
The foundation of the entire Blended series wasn’t right, which made me rethink all of my choices.
The day I had to delete over 200 pages of Widow… was a sad day, indeed.
Originally Widow began where Good Girl ended- that explosive cliffhanger of a scene that changed their family dynamic. I will prove a point now: Rushing would have killed the book and the subsequent books if I had released it over a year ago. All 200,000 of Widow’s words thus far, are before that end scene. It is the entirety of the book itself, with only a handful of scenes wrapping up the novel. Widow, as it is now, with the way the family’s lives have evolved, would never have been written. Warped would have been dead in the water, unable to be written.
After this major change, Warped will be one of my most challenging books. Picking up with Devon in rehab and showing the aftermath of Widow for the entire Blended family.
I’ve had some flack over Good Girl for a few things, things I wish to address now.
DRUG USE: I’m not advocating it, nor am I preaching about it. I’m showing it from both perspectives, and both are very real. I don’t write fairy tales. Drug and alcohol abuse are very present in our everyday lives. It’s not pretty because it’s reality. If this presses a trigger for you, then perhaps you’ve been affected by it at some point, and you should continue to read to see how I show it from the different angles. If you believe I’m advocating use, then perhaps you should continue to read to find out that is not the case. If you don’t believe drugs are everywhere, and as such, they shouldn’t be in books, then perhaps you are living in a world of your own creation. If you just don’t like reading about reality, then the Blended series isn’t for you, so don’t penalize me for it.
S-E-X: If you are on this earth, you were created through sex. If sex offends you, see above post in DRUG USE about reality. I DO NOT write closed-door romance. Nowhere do I say I do. Everywhere I say I don’t. 2 seconds of research through the reviews or my backlist will inform you that I write contemporary romance, erotic romance, suspense, LGBT, and BDSM. Unless I’m living in an alternate universe, I’d expect those to have sexual situations, and I wouldn’t expect the author to be penalized because of it. To me, it makes about as much sense as buying Science Fiction, reading Science Fiction, and then writing a 1 star review because it was Science Fiction. NOTE: for my deviants, Widow is more mild because of its characters. If you are a long-time reader of mine, you know I don’t write sex-fests.
Length: I’ve had readers complain of the length of Good Girl, with the irony being those same readers complain about spending their hard earned money buying what I call episodic series. (a series of novellas or short stories, all ending with a cliffhanger, forcing readers to wait for what comes next while it’s being written or to buy the next episode to see what happens next) While as lucrative for those authors as it is frustrating for its readers, I am not those authors. As a writer, the only thing I can do is write the way my muse programmed me. For me, a book has a beginning, middle, and an ending, and I will write that book the way it tells me to write it.
Yes, I’ve had cliffhangers. But the ending was to change the POV of the character, optimizing the readers’ experiences by telling the story in the voice best to relay the story. Good Girl was the length it was because it chose its length, ending because it was Clover and Malcolm’s turn to voice their story. Widow is the length it is to give you an entire story from start to finish, where the children will pick up the story to show you a new side in this journey.
As a reader, if long books aren’t for you, that is not my issue. I know there are so many amazing stories being written, and we, as readers, will never read them all. So we rush like kids trying to earn BOOK-IT points for Pizza Hut. But there is no gold star for reading the most books the fastest. I used to rush-read as well, until I realized I was short-changing my own entertainment. Reading isn’t a job; it’s for pleasure. A pleasure we pay for, so the faster you read, the more expensive the hobby. So when I get negative flack for a 700 page book you received for free or for only 99 cents, I get insulted. So if my writing style isn’t for you… I will not change, nor be penalized for it.
3rd person vs 1st person: I’ve heard this one many times: If only Ms. Chilson wrote in 3rd person…usually followed by, the book would be much shorter, and we’d know what so&so was thinking. 1st: I’ll let you know what they were thinking when I want you to know. Otherwise, it ruins any surprises, and I’m all about the surprises. Second: Well, that’s great that you enjoy 3rd person, but Ms. Chilson is the one who has to write the book. Ms. Chilson doesn’t write 3rd person. She also isn’t a fan of 3rd person narratives.
As a reader, you can choose what you read. As a writer, you CAN’T choose what you write.
This works for both my reading and writing styles: I must become one with the narrator, so 1st person present tense draws me into them. An overview isn’t intimate enough for me to connect with the characters. I’m in too many characters’ heads, and not deep enough. There is no deep connection when the internal monologue is disconnected from the readers. Also, past tense confuses me. I feel like saying, “I’m reading this RIGHT NOW, but it’s past tense.” I want to be walking around with the character, not hearing about how they walked around five minutes ago or ten years ago.
We all read differently because we are different people. Since I am the one writing the book, I can only write it the way I write. To each their own. To the joys of individual expression. *cheers*
Long story short: expect Widow to be a 700 page book in 1st person narrative in the present tense. Whether you find that boring, drawn-out, is not my issue. There are no unnecessary scenes written as filler in these pages. I don’t have time for that, not with all the characters screaming in my head. No shopping trips, car rides, or incessant decorator or fashion descriptions. Every scene is to propel the story or character development. There will be no doubting who the characters are on a soul-deep level. You, as the reader, will be able to predict their future actions as if they were your own. Why? Because I’ve bared their souls to you while you read, connected you, through the 1st person, present tense narrative.
Angry diatribe complete!
In other news. Widow will be released mid-June. Angela is organizing a Blog tour for Widow’s release, with ARCs for both Good Girl and Widow for review, as well as a Blitz and cover/blurb reveal. (All foreign language to me) So if you wish to join the fun, I’ll post the information when it becomes available.
As of mid-June, I will have publish 1,500 pages in the first half of 2014. I am stepping back again, reevaluating how Warped should proceed. In my leisure, I will be editing the M&M series, as well as writing a novella titled Wanton. Wanton is a (for Amber, who requested a BBW) BBW Lesbian romance centered around two females in Blended’s cast of characters. I will release the details on this title after Widow’s release. This book is my version of a test- a test to see if I can write about two people, centering the entire book around their connection, and manage to fit it into 120 pages or less.
Gauntlet thrown down: the Deviants over at M&M of Restraint don’t think I can do it. Anyone who reads my books knows I’m a challenge-taker. I’ll do it because you guys think I can’t, whether said in jest or not (I wasn’t offended. First, it made me laugh, and then it made me get down to business. As I end Widow, that novella has been writing itself in my head)
Off to finish Widow’s draft in the next week or so, and then the betas will work their magic while I put my editor hat on… and then things get really serious.