Second book progress

I am very proud and happy with the direction of my second book, as I am nearing the end of my revisions. I am ready to start on my third book. I am super excited about the close of this Death of Ink series. There will be a lot of plot twists, and a villian that no one suspected.

Check out my page on Goodreads for more information. My author name is M.M. John.

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The ‘Things I Hate in Fiction’ series Part 1

Things I am tired of seeing in fiction

The whole naive innocent girl meets bad/dangerous/mystery boy and subsequently starts to experience life, etc. And all of its derivatives:

  • Girl begins to fight with family, chooses boy over family

Why I hate it: Stupid. Like boys come and go, while families are forever. I hate how the parents are always painted as just some evil bitches out to ruin fun. These parents most of the time aren’t painted as abusive but overprotective or just normal parent shit. So I am not talking about abusive parents here. In real life, even with difficult parents, things are still more textured and nuanced than that. A child may still love and defend a parent in front of others and privately in their mind as a show of loyalty. Even difficult parents have their good and soft moments, moments when the parent and child actually get along. Not every child with a difficult parent wants to rebel or ‘stick it to their parents’ in some way. In short to reduce it to this trope is to dehumanize your characters.

  • Girl begins to uncorrupt boy who softens because of her

Why I hate it: Just sets people up for failure. This trope is one I am going to intentionally break in the next chapters of my story. A messed up guy doesn’t suddenly become okay just because you’re dating him.

  • The girl never fully becomes corrupt, just well-rounded and more experience and has a good influence on the boy

Why I hate it: Well, I guess the girl can’t be the Madonna in the Madonna/Whore complex if she goes full-on whore :rolls eyes: I just think the girl becoming completely ‘corrupted’ would be more realistic and more interesting. I feel it is just like the girl turns from naïve virgin to a respectable type of sexuality. Like the bad boy is always going to be her soulmate, the first and only person she sleeps with, like where does that happen in real life?

  • Girl (good) takes boy away from more popular girl who is almost always painted as a whore.

Why I hate it: Sexist. Girls only exist in a story to serve as competition for the male gaze. Next.

  • Girl experiences self-actualization, freedom and sexual awakening all thanks to hot, mysterious guy in her life

Why I hate it: Girls, I promise you can experience self-actualization, ‘find yourself’ and experience the world without a male guide. I mean, in these stories the girl never rebels against abusive or difficult parents, never goes out to experience things on her own , until hot, mysterious guy shows up. Like, does this say girls cannot think or act on their own? And I hate how it is like girls (naïve/innocent) only become women (more experienced/worldly) when they get with a guy.

  • Girl is almost always, always, always a virgin, because non-virgins apparently cannot be innocent or naïve and always has world class experience.

Why I hate it: I feel this classifies girls into groups that are harmful to them and dehumanizing. If virgins are innocent does that mean non-virgins are guilty? If virgins are pure does that make non-virgins dirty? Men are not shamed for their sexuality in this way at all. I do not like classifying women as good or bad based on what they do and don’t do with what’s between their legs.

  • Something is wrong with being innocent, naïve etc.

Why I hate it: If that is the way someone chooses to live their life, it’s their life. I hate how in these books the characters seem coerced into giving these things up and shamed for them as being to stuck-in-the-mud etc. If the person chooses to get more experience or experience more of the world on their own and by their own choice that’s different, but being repeatedly teased for your own choices? It seems in these stories either they are being groomed to agree with the boy in his behavior or being coerced. Nah. Next.

Change in storyline (possible spoilers)

So I decided that I am going to change my storyline a bit by rewriting (slightly) a scene and dropping an entire storyline.

Now, this storyline made up most of books three and four.

After I crossed all of that out, I am thinking how much will I have left? Should I fit it all into this one book I am revising now?

The major storyline change is I am going to open and close the Devon/Paige/Cristina romantic angle in one book instead of dragging it out.

I am also not going to include the whole Devon/Paige/Betrayal angle I had in the 3rd and 4th book. I think this is the right choice because it was too cumbersome, too difficult to close well and too unbelievable (the part Paige plays in Devon’s downfall).

So, what we’re left with now is Paige and Devon as a couple (sort of) by the end of this book with Cristina still hoovering in the background but she’s basically a non-factor (lol).

Going into the next book (or this book, depending on how much I have left) Paige trying to juggle all the new information she is learning about Devon and her budding relationship with him.

This next chapter is the most romantic chapter I’ve ever written. Originally, I was going to end it with a kind of break up, but I thought, what the hell, these two characters want to be together why not give it to them? Tired of stretching this out and it seems like the right time.

So I am closing the love triangle by making it a pair and opening the new story angle of Paige struggling to trust Devon with the new revelations about him.

Paper Cuts (Death of Ink #2)

Paper Cuts (Death of Ink #2)

In Paper Cuts, book two, the serialized tale continues…

From the outside, Paige Langley’s life seems pretty normal…whatever that means. But it’s not. Her new boyfriend Matthew—a chain-smoking, musician—is acting strange, her friends at school even stranger, and Devon Connors, the boy that Paige is crushing on nearly dies in drug experiment gone wrong.

Then one of the local football players mysteriously turns up dead and it launches a full-scale investigation by police on the illegal drug use at Bass Towers High School. And with all the weirdness going on, Paige is starting to suspect that Devon knows more than he’s letting on.

As the horrible truth about the wild after school party scene—filled with sex, narcotics, and even murder—circulates around campus, Paige’s perfect life takes an unexpected turn, and a dark suspicion is suddenly cast on those she trusts most….

WIP and other updates

So I was in the hospital for some abdominal pain for a while. Things seem to have calmed down and my health feels better.

That said, I should have been done with this second book.

I just finished typing the chapter that I agonized over. I think it’s okay. I think I may be moving Devon’s relationship with Paige along too fast. But I kinda want that. I want it to seem ‘flingy’ and fleeting. 

The next chapter will be different as it will be in Cristina’s point of view, which should be great fun.

The rest of the chapters are pretty much written, with only about two or three things I need to add/write from scratch, so I think I am pretty much done.

 

Writing Romance

So I am still writing the ninth chapter (mainly because I was busy with midterms and other things). And I realize that this chapter much more than others and much more than anything I have ever written is decidedly romantic which is okay, I guess.

I just don’t particularly feel that I am any good at writing romantic-type things.

It is hard to capture the nuance of a relationship on paper, which is why I get frustrated and annoyed at romance novels. If you’ve ever been in love, you know that it is so much more than seeing the other person as perfect. You don’t really see them as perfect or even necessarily the most handsome or good-looking person, or the most well-behaved person. You see them as they are and you love them anyway. You don’t always have a great time with them either. Sometimes they suck.

I want to capture the joy and innocence and newness and disappointment of young love. It is a lot of emotions rolled into one thing, it isn’t just happy feelings.

***SPOILERS***

Anyway, I finished the romantic scene in one sitting, which is new for me. I usually take forever on a scene. It is much harder for me to write the confrontation scene between Paige, Devon, Cristina, et. al. I guess that is where the ‘disappointment’ comes in. It has to be raw for it to be real. I don’t want an over-the-top Jerry Springer type of showdown, lol. But then, I don’t want it to be a couple arguing in the church parking-lot type of whisper fight. I need some balance here. It is harder to write than I thought.

Tension and disappointment in general are difficult for me to convey on paper. I may need to do some writing exercises/look up examples.

My book cover designer is working on the cover for my second book! I can’t wait to see the mockups.