Sunday, December 7, 2008

1st 13 to Life Poll Closes Today

Wow. I feel like the TextNovel "13 to Life" is just really starting to pick up its pace and find its voice and already our first poll is getting ready to close! Time really flies. So, have you read the first installments of "13 to Life" and voted about who goes with Jessica to Homecoming--if she goes with anyone or if she even goes at all? If not you still have a few hours to catch up! :-)

I'm loving writing "13 to Life"--and using TextNovel as its introductory venue is actually pushing me to keep rolling the story and characters through my head (and getting me some cool, organic results). If you're not a writer (or even if you are) a little insight into how this story's building may help.

It all started during a conversation I was having with my husband in the car. We were discussing the success of Stephenie Meyer's books (of which I've only been able to read the first because the publisher's sold out of softcover and supposedly going to a new printing--soon, I hope). And, wolf lover that I am, I mentioned the fact that Ms. Meyer leaves book 1 open for werewolves to enter the mix in a later book. But I still felt werewolves weren't getting the coverage vampires were (and always do). So we chatted. Came up with a theory about werewolves which is in direct opposition to one of the most often commented upon ideas about vampires in romances (and yet fits canine concepts quite nicely--I can't say what it is yet because it's only in my purple and black 70 sheet notebook, not officially written in to the novel yet). That single idea gave me the title.

So we created a premise--a more or less plausible method by which werewolves could be created and released thanks to standard human arrogance and the Cold War mentality. I have some neat research and history books and summarizing their contents, we were able to distill a general history. Then it was time to create some characters. I've long felt that Russian immigrants have been mainly overlooked in this country (which I feel is a huge pity) so it only seemed natural to blend Russian immigration into the mix. As for names--Pietr was a no-brainer thanks to my love of folk tales and legends. Jessica? Eh, I've known a few and they've been interesting kids, each with strong wills and struggles of their own. It just made sense that Jessica would be my female lead.

The rest of it--places, other names, scenarios and things like Pietr's dramatic scar have come to me at odd moments when I'm driving with the radio turned down low or walking on Main Street, Oneonta headed to get coffee at the Latte Lounge (which has just recently opened an all but unnoticeable side door to reveal a direct connection to The Green Toad--an awesome independent bookstore--yes, I'm in heaven :-). Ideas come to me organically. In some of my favorite stories I've dreamed entire chapters as if inserted into the world my characters want me to see and with the mission of telling the story they want remembered. I liken it to that moment when you achieve fluency in a foreign language and start to dream in that language. I feel it's coming with "13 to Life," too.

Anyway, writing this novel is an incredible journey for me. I'm getting to tell parts of it for the characters by including a little touch of myself, too (the note from Jessica's mom that she carries). When I started writing "13 to Life" I worried it might be a story that wouldn't hold my interest but now I can't stop thinking and writing it! I'm happy with that, and I hope readers are, too!

Take care and keep reading (and writing)!
~Saoirse

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