Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You Never Forget Your First

Forgive me for misleading you, but I'm talking about manuscripts.
I just thought it would be a catchy title.
It might bring me a lot of traffic, although it may not be exactly the kind of traffic I want.
Once, someone stumbled across my blog by googling "here we go again nipple shot"
Really? I thought. Do I write about nipples on here?
Apparently I do, in My Life As A Shadowy Figure.
Which might explain why that post boasts the most page views, and continues to get new page views every day.
Unfortunately, I don't think it was exactly what they were looking for.
I feel kind of bad about that. Whoever googled that and came up with this blog must have been totally disappointed. Probably felt like throwing something at the computer.
Oh, well. You can't please everyone, can you?
Anyways, manuscripts.

It might surprise you to learn, Internet, that Having Grace was not my first.

My first manuscript was completed in 2006 or thereabouts, and the genre was romantic suspense.
It was called Blood Relative. I wrote in an attempt to prove to myself that I could, having had, to that point, several projects abandoned at various points in the story, mostly near the beginning.
I didn't query very widely for it. I think I queried maybe four people. (And my query letter sucked HARD, BTW. I don't have a copy of it anymore, which is good because I wouldn't even want to look at it. I think it started with "To Whom It May Concern." I shouldn't even be telling you about that. You'll probably hate me now, probably judging me like that lazy eyed cashier at 7-11 on the weekend. But we're cool like that, aren't we, Internet?  Anyways. It was bad, and  I think I want to shoot my four years ago self. If they ever invent time travel I think I'm going to do that. Except I wouldn't be here right now. Time travel is so complicated.)
The problem was, I wasn't in love with the manuscript myself, so how could I expect anyone else to be?
I might have been able to revise it, but I wasn't even sure where or how to start.
After sitting on it for a  while I finally had a revelation. I needed to just start over. Blank slate.
And so I opened my laptop and began anew, on Page 1. The idea for Having Grace was burning in my mind, and so I wrote it.

But, I still had feelings for my first, at least the idea of it. Eventually, I reworked it into what is now my work in progress, Deal Breaker.

In Blood Relative-- basic plot summary: a young girl gets involved, for various reasons- most of which are boring and have to do with her back story, with an older man and gets married after only a brief courtship. Problems ensue when his estranged teenaged son shows up on their door step one night. The teenaged boy has problems, which quickly become evident. Things begin to go wrong- dismembered animals, missing local girls. She begins to suspect her stepson, but her husband doesn't support her, makes her feel like she's losing her mind, and eventually she begins to suspect her husband as well.

Anyways, the concept of the prodigal child returning speaks to me still, and I decided to rewrite it as a rom-com. Put a shady, sulky male as the step child and you have a ready made romantic suspense.
But substitute it for a sulky teenage girl and you have a ready made romantic comedy.
So I began writing Deal Breaker, which has- essentially, the same set up- a young girl who gets married- for reasons that have to do with her back story- to an older man after only a brief courtship (Although, ICK, I hate to use the word 'courtship'. It makes me think of Mormon Fundamentalists or something for some reason. Oh, God, I hope no one finds this blog by googling "Mormon Fundamentalists". I'll get hate mail for sure.)
The setting, I guess, sets the two apart.
In Blood Relations, the setting was in a remote, rural location characterized by heavy snow storms and frequent road closures.
Deal Breaker is in an urban setting.

It didn't seem like a big switch to go from romantic suspense to romantic comedy.
I think it's because when you have conflict, you have comedy. Or, at least, the potential for it.
Well, depending on the conflict.
If the conflict is being chased by an axe murderer, comedy might be a hard sell.
But I'm exactly that person that who sees the humour in even gruesome scenarios. "We'll laugh about this some day," I often find myself saying.
Throw something bad at me and I laugh at it.
Seriously, I've laughed at funerals.
I've laughed when Alex was locked in a car.
I've laughed when my kids tried out their first swear words.
My husband gets mad at me about that, and I laugh at that, too. "Go take your blood pressure pills," I tell him when he gives me that look. "I'm not going to do CPR on you if that throbbing vein in your forehead explodes. I'm too tired for it. Makes my arms sore."
Because damn it if it isn't fucking hilarious to hear a two year old say "Shit!" when he spills his juice, or whatever.

Anyways, sorry about the length of this post.
I hope it wasn't too boring for you.


mama said...

Mama doesn't forget your first either.............THE BOOK!

Does Jen read this cause I seem to remember her Fir....(never Mind)

Lorrie said...

Oh My GAWD...Google Ads is creeping me out now?!?!??! Who is this little man that sits at a computer all day and figures this stuff out??????????????????
Can you PLEASE write a blog post about poop and see what it does?

randine said...

I know- Google Adsense is really creepy.

I have seen it miss the mark, though, sometimes. Once I saw an ad for Discount Incontinence Pads.
WTF? When have I ever written about incontinence??

And mom- no I don't think Jen reads this, LOL. No secrets in ths family, huh.