Action vs. Thought: Meet the Reapers

As promised, I’ll be doing an entry today about the assassins living in the world of the Reave series: Reapers. Though the MC is not one, the entire series basically revolves around them – the things they do, the situations they bring about, what they cause, how all of it is dealt with. So, I can just as easily say the series is about assassins as I can say it’s a story of self-discovery. It all just depends on how you look at it and if you’re focusing on the growth of the MC, or the story as a whole.

(At the risk of starting this off in a confusing manner, I’ll say there are two named ‘categories’ I suppose, both of them beginning with the letter R. It can get a bit O.o, but . . . it happens.)

Maybe I should set up the world a little, to put the Reapers and their place in it into perspective. There are ‘cities’ (don’t think skyscrapers, just large places where many people are – it was just the word used). They have different ways of running, though that doesn’t come into play until later, as the MC is only in one and clearly couldn’t know how all of them function. Anyway, the only thing tying all of them together is the existence of Reapers. Every city has them, every city uses them for whatever purposes (clearly fun purposes, right?).

As I said in the last entry (Inspiration: One Word), there are no guns. With Reaper being the word that started it all, it completely started with them. I began getting a clear view of them before I sat down and started writing the MC. There were things I wanted from them, and things I didn’t want. No guns. It’s scary to think a person could shoot you from however far off and you could fall over dead at any moment that way, but scarier (in my opinion) by far when they come for you. I like the thought of having to literally face your own demons – mortality, judgment, consequences, etc. So, in a way, they’re the physical manifestation of a lot of things that may typically only take place inside a person’s head. And I love that – the symbolism and all.

It’s not just about killing with them. They train their entire lives, not only to kill, but to deceive – to infiltrate, adapt, blend, prevail, move on, repeat.

I don’t want to say it, but deception is the basis of the entire series. It’s a terrifying thing, I think, attempting to trust people. I’m not talking ‘I trust you to be somewhere when you say you will be’ . . . I’m talking ‘I trust you with my life’. Because how could you really trust a person with that? And I think a lot of that is getting into whether or not we can ever really trust ourselves, with everything, all the time. I don’t want to get into that because the rambling I could do about it isn’t relevant enough here.

One thing I want to point out is part of the title: Action vs. Thought.

Despite ‘assassins’ (enough said there) . . . action was not the point of it to me. It’s the thought involved – why, what it all does. As much as I’m not immune to the excitement of a good explosion, I don’t like thoughtless violence. I don’t like the thought that violence is inflicted with no personal consequences that follow – the guilt of having to live with it, to attempt accepting it, to try carrying on. You can try escaping the reality that it would – or should – affect a person, even in a book, but I think that’s such a shame. Not to mention how large an injustice it is. I wanted the Reapers to be as real as I could make them – sometimes seemingly heartless, sometimes broken, haunted, but always flawed. We’re all flawed enough, but to do the things they do . . . they would have to be. If you could break someone’s neck and feel absolutely nothing . . . you need some help.

I guess I can add here that some of the Reapers in the series need some help. (In a lot of ways.)

Obviously characters get injured and/or die in the series, despite the focus. Come on now. Assassins. Don’t expect it right out of the gate. I’m sorry, but it’s not a bloodbath from the get-go. Every bit of action, every attack, every injury, every death, every anything like that has a purpose. It’s not there if it isn’t needed, even if it would make it SO MUCH MORE entertaining. And trust me, there are some things along those lines that I WISH I could take out (you have no idea how badly), but . . . I can’t.

Putting my horrible writing aside, the one thing I will always be disappointed with myself in is the Reapers. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t quite get them onto paper the way I saw them in my head. I can explain them from my perspective, of course. I can explain them and cause nightmares (that actually happened, oddly enough), but it’s different when you’re writing through the eyes of another ‘person’. They look at things the way they look at things, see what they see, and you can’t change that without changing the person (character). I couldn’t change the MC any more than I could change you sitting there reading this right now. People are who they are.

Anyway. Moving on.

I personally have an aversion to knives (though I do have some and have played with swords once or twice . . . [I don’t advise that, by the way]), so just the thought of people running around almost covered in them – and knowing how to/being fine with using them – makes my skin crawl. That alone is enough to creep me out a decent amount, but it’s the way they behave that is the most unsettling thing about them. They’re just . . . off.

As much as I love the MC in Reave (I’m firm that she’ll always be my favorite, and I’ve written quite a few), the Reapers will always be at the top of the food-chain when it comes to my favorite things I’ve written. There doesn’t need to be endless action with them. It’s not how they are. They go in, do their jobs, and move on. But I will say that when more of them come out to play later on . . . it gets interesting. Especially when they aren’t playing nice and are just playing. And they’re always playing something, it’s just a matter of whichever way works for whichever situation.

I just love them – trying to figure out what they’re doing and why they’re doing it (I LOVED writing this series). I might be a bit biased about that, but . . . they’re very complex. Nothing is ever simple when they’re involved, and I like it that way. I like things being hidden in books, and having to think. I don’t enjoy things being tied up nice and neat with a pretty little bow. (More on that at a later date.)

It would’ve been a totally different thing if I’d focused on the action with them (which could’ve been possible, I suppose, and I’ll probably do a spin-off for my own amusement at some point), but I would’ve hated it for this. It wouldn’t have done justice to it or to them, or to the uncertainty of life as a whole. Maybe I just like philosophizing about life and wondering why. Who knows? That translated to this series, I think, and it is what it is.

I just hope someone out there appreciates the Reapers for what they are – sneaky little devils. 🙂

Advertisements

Lions, and tigers, and sex sc – Wait…what?

Ah, the dreaded three letter word that starts with S, ends in X, and rhymes with HEX.

It’s not such a dreaded word in reality (at least not for most people under whichever circumstances), but for writers who are not Romance novelists? Oh yes, that word is SO dreaded. I’m not sticking all of you other writers out there into that little box with me, but I’m definitely in it and I know I’m not the only one.

I have to keep in mind that most of you who read my blog have had zero interaction with me off of here. I email with a few people. I’ve talked on the phone to one person a few times. So yes, the only way most of us all know one another is through interactions on WordPress. In a way, that can almost give you deeper insight to a person than you’d normally get – at least in my opinion. We share our hopes and dreams on here – our pains (not paints, way to ruin a moment with a typo, C), our struggles, and our ambitions. We share our WRITING. I know you all get me on that level, which is fantastic.

I’ve said on here before that I’m a pretty closed off person in some ways. If I know you, I’ll spill my deepest secrets (or the next level above the deepest) to you in a heartbeat. I can be a very open person. But let me give you a little insight . . .

If I did NOT know you, and you came up to me on the street and started rattling off about sex scenes, one or both of my eyes would likely start twitching. I would sweat profusely. I would be polite and say, “Hey, Random Person, this is somewhat inappropriate.” At least I would want it to come out of my mouth that way. It would probably be more like, “Whoa dude, wtf are you doing?”

That’s me.

I’ve written a lot, alright? That type of stuff HAPPENS when you write books, because that type of stuff HAPPENS in real life. I’m a fan of The Cut-Off. If I lead up to something happening well enough, I’m PRETTY SURE your mind can fill in the gaps. It’s my goal as a writer to make that happen. It’s better that way, I think (just my opinion). At least I am better at it that way, which . . . sometime you out there can be the judge of that, if you ever want to be. When writing Young Adult, it’s almost better to do it that way, again in my opinion. And I don’t want to feel like I’d be responsible for a crapton of sexually deviant teenagers running around doing things that they do. Hey, they do it, but I don’t want to feel responsible for it. And I would feel responsible, even if nobody ever accused me of it.

Oh my GOD, ALL THE EVILS IN THE WORLD ARE MY FAULT!!

That’s how my brain works, okay?

There’s a part of me that’s not comfortable writing YA at all, as I cover a lot of subjects in my books that I’m not sure the younger end of YA readers . . . I’m stopping myself there, as I cannot say who should and should not (or would and would not be able to) handle whatever. But I’m less comfortable writing in the adult genre, in ways.

I’ll give you a scenario – it’s a truthful scenario that happens quite often with me while I’m writing (or editing) a book.

I’m sitting there in my shed (I have every intention of posting an entry about my shed on here, so let’s leave the shed at that for now), writing (or editing). Sexy scene comes up. I type (or read/write) a few words. I giggle. I type a few more, put my hand over my face, and start talking to myself (“Oh my god,” for example. “I can’t believe I just wrote that,” for another). I type a few more and giggle again.

It happens.

There are some scenes in some of my books that – I kid you not – will have me nearly rolling around on the ground giggling in uncomfortableness. I do weird things when I’m uncomfortable, if you haven’t gathered.

So yes, adult books have their downside, as The Cut-Off is generally not wanted or accepted.

But I’ll tell you something I learned . . . yesterday? Two days ago? The days blur . . .

I knew that I’d done a relatively decent job with the more ‘intimate’ scenes (not sex scenes) in the book that my editor HAS IN HER HANDS RIGHT NOW. I knew that I had because my husband’s response after reading one of them in particular was, “I felt like I was intruding.”

That’s one of those things where you think about it for a little while, and then nod your head in satisfaction when you’re alone. It must’ve been good, in some way.

I’ve never really felt like that – at least no more than I usually feel when I’m writing. I already feel a level of intrusion into the character’s stories that I’m telling because I feel like I’m telling the life story of some person that has no business being told. I’m giving words to their lives for other people to read.

I have to be honest and say that I finished writing this new trilogy last week. I didn’t want to say anything on here – partially because I’ve been busy (writing and now editing), and partially because I read on a blog awhile back that talking about writing prolifically can make other authors feel bad. I’ve actually been struggling a lot with both that, and the fact that I write full-time (without pay because I have no books released yet . . . give me some time to get everything in place and they will be out there, I promise). I don’t want to make anyone feel any negative thing due to what I’m doing, so I haven’t wanted to be like, “HEY, I FINISHED ANOTHER BOOK!” And then another one a few weeks later. But hey. I have.

Guilty feelings come to me again now.

So anyway, I had to say it so that what I say next will make sense.

I was editing the first book in that trilogy and came upon the actual first legitimate sex scene that I’ve ever written. It was torture writing it, let me tell you. I was pleased with it afterward. I thought I kept it classy (as classy as they can get). I postponed writing it for as long as I freaking could, let me tell you.

Anyway, came upon it when editing.

And by god, if I didn’t feel like I was intruding then I don’t know what that was. Well, uncomfortable, yes. But intrusive. I felt so unbelievably intrusive.

So, after getting through editing it and taking a few minute break afterward to try and fix my brain back into its normal – un-uncomfortable – mode, I sat there and I thought about it.

I’ll never be a Romance novelist. Not ever. Well, I can’t know that for certain, but I know for certain that I don’t want to be. I love the natural romance that happens between characters, but I’m not trying to turn love stories into the pornographacation (*ding* new Non-Word) of a character’s life. I will write and write (and write and write) about things that don’t happen, but I like my books to be realistic enough that the other things can make those unrealistic things believable. And throwing in a bunch of words that people DO NOT THINK into scenarios and DO NOT HAPPEN . . . Where is the believability there?

I’m not writing this to get into a debate about Romance novels. People like them, and that’s cool. I just don’t write them.

What I’m trying to say is that I learned, finally, that I CAN actually write a sex scene if I feel that I absolutely must – if the story, or the characters say, “Dammit, woman, TELL THE STORY!”.

And I’m proud of myself for that because it was such a freaking struggle for me.

But hey, I’m a bigger fan of the leading-up-to anyhow. For the most part . . . I think I’ll stick to what I’m good at when it comes to that sort of thing with writing. I’ll venture out of my box to grow, but . . . yep, done that. Check.

Sorry this was so long, but I haven’t been blogging very much. Pretty poor way of making up for it, come to think about it.

Anyway, if anyone else has had the same struggles – or similar ones – feel free to share. Maybe I won’t feel so ridiculous.

Hope everyone is wonderful out there.

🙂

Now if only I can get over the thought of my mom reading these new books of mine that she’s been asking to read . . .

Oops.

So I, um . . . lost track of days.

Clearly.

I just looked (knowing that I needed to blog) and realized it’s been exactly one week since my last post. My bad.

I guess I don’t really feel like I have much to say. I’ve been writing. Series is going. That’s all I’ve been doing. LITERALLY.

Wake up. Write. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

I’ve literally done nothing else. I have a (growing) list of things that I need to get done. I haven’t got to any of them yet. I’m consumed. I can’t help it. I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m able to type fast – at least the WRITING part of writing this will be done . . . well . . . at the rate I’m going? Pretty quickly.

My cat is driving me insane. Sorry, that was just a random bit of something, as she distracted me from writing what I was going to.

And it’s funny – I’ve actually got a few ideas to blog about. Two? Two is two more than I usually have when I sit down to do these things. Woohoo. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t touch your blog for a little while. Or maybe that’s just a coincidence and I’m going to CALL it something else to make myself feel better about not being on here.

I’ll try to get at least one of those entries posted soon. Got something to take care of tomorrow morning, and also have plans Thursday morning, so if I do it . . . it will have to be either Wednesday or Friday.

I haven’t been doing any social-type-things.

I haven’t touched Facebook in at least as long as I’ve posted an entry on here.

I only realized a few days ago that I hadn’t tweeted (is that the correct thing to say?) anything in like . . . 6 days. I can’t remember when that gap was, but it’s been recently. You see? I lose track.

Is someone going to smack me if I say that being like, “Oh, hey, I haven’t tweeted,” makes me feel like a [BLEEEEP]ing moron?

I talked to one of my friends, um, can’t remember what day it was, but I was talking to one of my friends the other day about having a nocturnal schedule and how freaking DIFFICULT it is to do things. In order to make plans, I have to spend several days messing up my sleep schedule, I can’t write the amount of time that I want to write, I do something for however long, and then spend several days trying to fix what I messed up. It’s quite frustrating. I do feel bad though. It makes communicating with anyone extremely difficult. I get a text (rarely, but it happens), find it when I wake up (which is usually after everyone else is sleeping), and then have to wait to text back until right before I go to sleep (which is almost pointless).

I guess that’s just another thing currently adding to my Guilt Pile.

Why is it that people feel guilty for doing things that are good for them? Or things that make them happy? Why should that make anyone feel guilty?

And really? Why in the world should I feel guilty for sleeping when I want to sleep?

I suppose it makes people think you don’t want anything to do with them, which isn’t the case at all.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just tired.

I say maybe, but it’s my bedtime right now. I just had to make sure I posted something NOW because the amount of time since I have is ridiculous.

Sorry for the lack of posting. I’m writing. Yes, I’m a horrible (HORRIBLE) social anything. I already knew that. If you’ve read . . . well . . . probably any of my posts, you’d likely realize I suck socially too.

At least I’m trying. That has to count for something . . . . . . .

Right?

That’s what they say, isn’t it?

Hope you’re all doing well out there and whatnot.

Overwhelmed by the new WIP

The title says it all, doesn’t it?

I somehow managed to fix my sleep schedule back to normal (nocturnal) after that first night of coming home from Florida. So, for the past several days, all I’ve been doing is WRITING. Time has slipped away from me. I’m not ashamed of it, and I feel only slightly guilty.

Things are going well with this second book (so far). I’m writing it from another character’s perspective. Interactive. The story rolls on.

Here’s the thing . . .

I write a LOT of characters over the course of a series. I’m not even going to tell you how many were in S2. It seems natural to me. People meet other people. I guess it’s enough to be confusing if you have a difficult time remembering names. Normally, I don’t.

And you see . . . it’s not that there are a crapton of characters being introduced in these new books. There really isn’t. It’s everything else.

EVERYTHING.

I made up a new world in S2. Cities, small towns, etc. But it seems so . . . my god, I’m going to hate saying this, but it seems so basic in comparison.

Now I’ve got magic to deal with. Who can do what most efficiently. What it looks like when each of them use it (and its differences).

I’ve got creatures.

I’ve got dragons with names.

Ties. Families. Wars. Lineage. Kingdoms. Villages. Armies. Generals. Units. Laws. Punishments. More ties. Marriages. Kids. Taverns. Weapons. Soldiers. Secrets. More magic. SO MUCH MORE MAGIC. HAVE I USED THAT NAME? WHICH DRAGON IS WHICH? HOLY JESUS, WHAT COLOR DID I MAKE THEM AGAIN? WHAT’S THAT ABOUT REPRODUCTION? WHAT WAS THAT NAME? WTF IS GOING ON HERE?!

I uhm . . . I’m going to have to map this stuff out.

This will be a first, minus my little lists for sh . . . er . . uhm . . . craps and giggles. Lists of names, usually. Gotta make sure they’re not too similar (as I tend to do that occasionally). Lists of chapter titles. Lists of word counts for each chapter after each editing. Tallies of each cuss word and how many times they’re each used. Yes, I’ve got a bit of OCD. I like lists. And apparently the word each when writing the past few sentences.

But now I’m going to have to make detailed sheets, like . . . for each thing. It’s new. It’s made my eyes twitch a few times, thinking about it.

Anyway. What I’m trying to say here is, “Hey. I’m a little busy right now.”

I know I try to post every three days. I think I’m a day off right now. I might have to extend that a little.

Here comes the guilt.

We’ll say I’ll try to give an update and say hello every four days or so. I’m usually pretty good at responding to comments, but I’ve even fallen off on that. I’m just feeling very overwhelmed at the moment. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, but honestly? I’m looking forward to it. This will be a new experience. New experiences – yaaaaaay.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. That’s what I’ll be doing. That’s what’s going on.

Hope all of you out there in the vast expanses of internetdom are having wonderful days and all that good stuff.

I sure am, despite the eye twitching.

I shall wave the shame fan in my own face for being such a horrible person and neglecting my social networking stuff.