“I’m not obsessed, I’m curious. There’s a difference,” Lira argued with a scowl. “You don’t want to talk about him. So, naturally, it’s exactly what I want to hear. You believe he’d be better off dead. It can’t be easy to keep all that anger locked up.”
Lira leaned forward, her pinched expression relaxing when she laid her hand on Aeley’s knee. “Besides, do you want a relationship or just someone to sleep with? Talking is the difference between the two.”
– from “A Question of Counsel”
So I finally came out of hibernation. And, of course, by “hibernation”, I mean “rigorous, tedious, mind-numbing, gun-to-the-head, OMG-why-did-I-think-this-was-a-good-idea editing”.
It’s been a challenge writing A Question of Counsel, my latest submission to Less Than Three Press for their upcoming Damsels in Distress novella collection. Not so much the plot and characters as the actual act of writing. It’s been on my desk for months, since late 2013 (October, I think?), but some things got in the way. After getting a couple projects prepped for publication, some personal situations, and bouts of not feeling particularly well, I finally got to AQoC in April. April 22, to be exact.
The deadline was May 31.
Talk about the best laid plans going awry.
But what the heck, I did it anyway. Took 39 days to write what came out to be a 43,000 word novella (though, really, I put in over 60,000 words of effort). I spent this whole last week editing it to an inch of its romantic little butt. It’s a good thing I live by lists and created an intense and detailed editing list or I would’ve been begging for a life preserver. Pretty sure I did 2 weeks of editing in 1, and I ignored everything – well, almost everything – that wasn’t related to working on the manuscript. Several all-nighters (a few which rolled into all-dayers) later and huzzah, I sent the manuscript on Friday. I celebrated by going grocery shopping. Then, I spent Saturday trying to catch up on everything I’d missed all week.
Such is the life of a writer. We’re all a little crazy, I wager, and the lengths we’ll go can be ridiculous.
But all things considered, I’m happy to have it done. Poor Aeley’s been rolling around in my head for 6 months without getting much of her story told. And Lira’s turned out to be an absolute delight. I’m pleased with how it turned out, despite the changes in events; changes that had to happen. There’s something to be said about simplicity. Sometimes my head goes off on the complex end and I think it’ll produce something brilliant … until I get there and realize it needs more than a diving board. So a little shuffle here, a little pulling there, and a pinch of logic and things arrived at (relatively) the same end. And the douchebag characters remained as douchebag as they were required to be. I could slap them myself.
So, what’s AQoC about, anyway?
Our lovely, spunky protagonist is Aeley, a politician and gal who’d rather be kicking some ass than dressing up for fancy parties. After arresting her brother (as from Rule Breaker), she’s haunted by nightmares, becoming an alcoholic, and feeling lonely.
Enter the love interest: the lovely, quiet, and modest-on-the-outside scribe, Lira. Aeley’s just scratching for a relationship beyond what’s professional but, alas, uncertainty and politics get in the way. When the attend her brother’s criminal trial, Aeley leaves with a marriage contract, throwing her for a spin. She must choose one of two brothers and marry into a family she doesn’t know anything about. But then she finds out Lira is part of the same family–the family’s disgrace, to be exact. And she wants the same intimate relationship Aeley wants.
Except it’s never that easy. Random acts of violence on the people test Aeley’s ability as a leader. To add to the frustration, she’s captured and finds out she’s been a pawn in a game. With some talent, skill, and gumption, she has to escape and put everything back together.
Now, it’s just a matter of time to wait. This was fun to write, being a spin-off from another story and kinda dirty. I’m really hoping it gets picked up.
In the meantime, I need to cleanse my mental palette with some other projects and then look into tackling another submission for a different collection call. This time, a polyamourous story. Currently, it’s looking like a M/M/F relationship set in a totally different fantasy realm (kind of pre-Mediaeval Celtic, maybe?). I’m also hoping it might be more serious, or a little darker, at least. Ooh ah, shiny.