by Bente Gallagher AKA Jennie Bentley
Swear to God, I had a post titled Free at Last about a year and a half ago too. Didn’t I?
I’m in the same situation now that I was in then. I’ve handed in the manuscript for the last DIY-book, tentatively titled Flipping Out!, and I’m flipping out a little myself too, being out of contract. Until my editor approaches me with an offer to continue the series, I’m unemployed.
I thought I had it all figured out. I’m eighty pages into a romantic suspense/thriller/FBI-procedural sort of thing that’s—gasp!—all plotted and outlined. (I know. The world is surely coming to an end.) And I still like my story. I do. I just managed to get caught up in something else, that’s sort of taken over my brain for the time being.
Remember that flash fiction Will had me do earlier this year, during Short Month? 200 words starting with “If you have to die, February is the best month for it?” Remember Quinn Conlan? The poor galactic smuggler I left to rot in a prison colony on the moon Marica-3? I even said at the time I could have kept going and spun the idea into a book.
Well, during the month of August I’ve been taking this online workshop through RWA on how to write suspense. I thought it was a workshop on writing romantic suspense, and that I’d get a grounding in the genre I’m considering slipping sideways into, but instead it’s been more about making sure your writing is suspenseful. Which I already know how to do, at least to a degree.
Not that I’m complaining. I’m having tons of fun. First we had to write a scene or prologue—500-1,000 words; take that, Freddy!—beginning with the words, “The blood dripped on the floor” and submit it to the group. Then we had to do a character sketch for our protagonist. Then we had to write a 1,500 word synopsis for the book, and submit that and the first ten pages.
When you’re writing for publication, you can’t really throw your WIP out there for the world to see. Neither of my publishers would be happy about that. I had to start from scratch and come up with something brand new that I could share with the class. So what I did, was resurrect Quinn. And I ended up with a first scene, a character bio, a detailed synopsis, and eventually, the first chapter of a book I never intended to write.
But as I submitted it to the class, other people—including our New York Times bestselling instructor—told me how much they liked it, and that I really should consider writing the book. And the thing is, it’s got me by the throat now. I love when characters do that, when they grab you and hold on and yell in your ear until you write their stories. But I had other plans for the next four months. Other plans for the direction I wanted to go from cozies. And let me tell you, I never intended to branch off into futuristic romance.
You can read the synopsis HERE if you’d like, and tell me whether it’s something you’d read. And then you can tell me whether, if you were me, you’d abandon your carefully laid plan of writing a romantic suspense/thriller/FBI-procedural thing in favor of it.
Till next time!