Monday, February 21, 2011

Temporary Interruption

I'm interrupting the series of posts I started about the many aspects of creative writing. Because... I really wanted to share what I'm working on.

As most of you know, I entered the first 30 pages of a manuscript into a contest, just to see. I didn't win, of course. No big deal, again, it was just to see.

I've been keeping the manuscript a big secret and I don't see the point anymore. All of you already know it's called Strays (because of what was readable of the excerpt entered into the contest) and it's a psychological thriller.

So this is me, revealing the secret manuscript. Ta-da!

Strays is a story I've been working on, on and off, since 2008. It's a big project. Not because of the size, it's a standard novel size, but because of the content. Psychological thriller barely does it justice. It's hard-hitting with a lot of controversial issues. So as a result, even though it's fiction, I've had to do A LOT of research since the story is set present day and deals with a number of current social ills.

To be honest, I don't think of it as controversial, I just know that's how it will be seen. I accepted that some time ago and committed myself to writing the novel regardless. I believe that strongly in the story. Let other people think what they want, I really don't care. I know it's a good story and deserves to be shared.

Just to clarify, it's not controversial in the sense of any content that's just plain wrong. I'm not writing it from the perspective a serial murderer and glorifying horrendous acts, or anything like that, just as an example. This is more about consequences and the lives of the main characters as they struggle with a mystery surrounding their sexual tension. So, it wouldn't be thought of controversial if everyone just left the hype at the door. But, let's be realistic here. Most people in this day and age, will carry a huge bag of hype around with them everywhere. Too bad for them. They're in for a surprise ;)

The story is rather Hitchockian, hence, psychological thriller. I'm currently working on a third rewrite. This had been a hard story for me, dealing with such tough social and emotional issues. Too many things are still too vague, leaving even me to wonder why anyone would want to read this. Here's the deal. I'm not rewriting because I think the previous versions are bad. I'm rewriting because I need to be more honest with the reader, and with myself.

I always knew, from the second the idea popped into my head back in 2008, that I would be playing with fire. Again, I've accepted this, I believe in the story, I'm moving on. But it really has taken all this time to come to terms with this story and stop pussy footing around. 3 years. It's not the easiest thing. I've done it now. I'm okay.

Wow, that was long-winded and wasn't what I wanted to share. Yeah... can you tell I'm a writer? lol

Okay, here's what I wanted to share. The third rewrite is going beautifully. I'm learning and seeing my mistakes. Don't get me wrong, spelling and grammar was already near perfect. But I've created a lot of inconsistency errors by pussy footing around the issues. It's one thing to be suggestive or vague to start, but this is downright annoying. Even I'm annoyed and I wrote! Geez.

The prologue is fine, no needed changes there. The first chapter needed a lot. At first, I was just going through the whole manuscript, making little changes. But then I realized I was just making a big mess. So I've started a new file, all clean and fresh. End result, the first chapter is MUCH better. I've reorganized and made things much clearer. Right at the start, in the first paragraph, the reader will know exactly what this introduction is about. It's half the size of the previous version, resulting in a fast paced read, which was my intention all along. I'm very happy with it.

It's hard, you see, dealing with a mystery. I can't give everything away right at the start. I need to lead the reader through this mystery until the climax of the story. I've found it much too easy to mislead the reader, when that's just wrong.

With suspense, I like to follow the Alfred Hitchcock rule. He said, if you want suspense, give people information. The more information, the more suspense. I had done that, but didn't realize all the information I gave didn't connect with each other. It was too scattered. But it's getting to be much better organized now.

So yeah, that's what I wanted to share :)


  1. Lily, you inspire me...:) You never give up...can you give me some of that? You are such an amazing woman, and a true writer...

  2. Aw, thanks :) I don't know if I can "give some of that." I'm just the kind of person where if I make a commitment, that's it, I see it through until the bitter end, no matter how long it takes or how much work is involved.


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