Monday, May 11, 2009

Inside the Outsides

Jenna Bayley-Burke
Working on: MayNoWriMo...but I just started today
Waiting on: word on the twice re-worked partial and the shelved full
Mood: exhausted and excited for someone to buy my house!
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It's nearly impossible to think of anything else when you're prepping your house for sale. Everything that makes a house a home must be packed up and shipped off to storage. What's left must be perfectly arranged so a buyer can see themselves in what was once your home. The house stops being yours, and now belongs to the potential buyer.

Kind of like writing a book. We can draft just about anything we like, waxing poetic for pages about scenery and devoting paragraphs to hammering home that our heroine is royally pissed off. And then comes the edit. Everything that isn't absolutely necesary is deleted so that it is your character who comes through, not the author. It's a slippery slope between a character driven story and distinctive author voice.

Stories, like houses, have a structure you have to work with. Knock down a load bearing wall or remove a critical plot point and your in for a mess of trouble. Structure helps an author weave a stroy together, and it can also be a personal undoing.

My latest erotica release, Starting Over by Jenna Allen, needed to go to an emotionally dark place; a black moment I found a bit too terrifying to look at two years ago after losing three family members in six weeks. I couldn't handle the story, and so it sat contracted, yet unfinished.

I considered changing the plot, using a suspence track to keep it from going places I wasn't comfortable with, but the story deserved better than a plot device. Eventually, a year later, I forced myself to face those demons and finish it. It only came out this week, but so far it's had truly touching reader feedback. From men.

Men read romance, and men read erotica. And it seems you can sneak up on them and slap them in the face with raw emotion when they least expect it. Good to know, since my insides are all over that story.

4 comments:

Pauline Trent said...

I'm stressed over simply closing down the house once my deadline is met ~ and you're Selling? While Writing? You, Jenna, are a goddess among writers.

And congratulations on going to that dark place. I've got a story in me that would tap into my darkest moment and I haven't had the courage to go there yet. You might make me brave.

Genene Valleau said...

Oh, Jenna, I empathize on selling the house. My son and I are still working on projects, so mine hasn't actually gone on the market yet. (Yes, I'll be getting off the computer soon to go work on projects!)

Kudos to you for having the courage to visit that dark place. Pauline, when the time is right, you'll also make that healing visit. (((HUGS))) to you both.

Delle Jacobs said...

I empathize on the writing the book, and the dark places, about avoiding them, and then eventually using writing to explore them in some kind of safety, yet riding on that dangerous edge the whole time.

But empathize on selling a house? I don't even want to think about it! Gives me shudders and shivers.

therese said...

Selling the house - GOD! The nightmare memories!!!!!
Yeah, there's a book there too.

Maybe you needed to get the clutter out of your life, to go into that dark place and stay true to the inner voice needing to be heard.

Good luck on staying sane!