Monday, July 2, 2018

WIP – Not! #amwriting #stuck #paranormalromance

By Lisabet Sarai

Can you still call a book a “work in progress” if you haven’t actually worked on it for nearly two years?

I was slightly shocked when I went back, just now, to look at the last edit date for my unfinished paranormal ménage romance The Werewolf and the Vampire. August 7th, 2016! I’d been intending to publish it for Halloween in 2016, and again in 2017. That didn’t happen, obviously. I have a publication date reserved at Excessica in mid-October this year. Somehow I suspect I won’t make that deadline either.

I began the book full of enthusiasm, fresh from the (relative) success of my genre-busting BDSM romance The Gazillionaire and the Virgin. I thought I’d try taking another set of favorite romance tropes and twisting them almost beyond recognition. I haven’t read Twilight, though I’ve seen at least one of the films (on a trans-Pacific plane flight, out of boredom), but I know the basic outline. So instead of virginal, somewhat helpless Bella, I have snarky, street-smart Manhattanite Bianca, creator of the best-selling vampire fashion magazine in the country. As an alternative to a dark, ancient, mysterious vampire lover, Bianca has Jim a blond, blue eyed Midwestern college guy turned by a teenaged vamp a few years ago at a frat party. Not that’s he’s without his seductive side, but he breaks almost all of what Garce likes to call “Stoker’s Rules”. Completing the triangle is shifter Zack Kane, a bushy-bearded loner who owns a pet store, whose scent turns Bella into something of an animal herself.

Of course Jim and Zack hate one another. I have plans for that. They’re already ogling each other’s cocks, even as they posture and snarl. Meanwhile, there are villains out to get Bianca, determined to use her for their own devious (and sexual) purposes...

I think you get the picture. I just reread a chapter. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever written, but I do think it has promise, if I could only move the book forward.

But I’m stuck, at 22,000 words, more or less, for a book that should be 50K minimum. I’ve been abandoned by inspiration. At the same time, I’ve been seduced by other ideas and writing projects. Since I stopped making progress on that WIP, I’ve published an average of one title a month. Not all the material is new. I’ve had books dropped by publishers that I had to re-edit and get back out on the street. At the same time, although I’ve sworn in the past that I’d never be able to write a series, I seem to have started two of them, Asian Adventures and Vegas Babes. The first is multicultural literary erotica. The second is deliciously over-the-top smut.

Maybe I’ve just gotten bored with romance as a genre, even romance that ostensibly breaks the rules.

Knowing me, I’ll probably go back to finish the book eventually. I like things neat and I hate wasting effortor words already written. I’m not nearly as prolific as many of you. I can’t afford to just throw 22K of a decent story if I can whip it into some kind of shape and sell it it.

Right now, though, The Werewolf and the Vampire sits forlornly on my hard drive, mired in apathy, while I contemplate the next Asian Adventure (Hokkaido Holiday) and the next Vegas Babes smut-fest. And I’m embarrassed to admit that I hardly care.


  1. Wow I don't think you should be embarrassed at all. You've been rocking it by getting out a book a month, repurposed or not, and I think you're onto something with Vegas Babes. I say come back to The Werewolf and the Vampire if and only if the spirit moves you, and in the meantime, enjoy what's working!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Annabeth.

      Actually, I've been feeling really energized by my writing over the past six months. This is largely due to having moved almost entirely to self-publishing. It's remarkably freeing to write and publish what I like.

  2. I've got two books that used to be published, that I got the rights back to, and I don't know what to do with them! Few publishers want to take on re-published stuff. Smashwords requires that you have Paypal, and I tried that twice, getting aggravated and angry both times, and unable to even understand the English of the person on the 800 help line. So unless I'm willing to wait until my royalties hit $75.00, I'd never see a check at all.

    And I fear I'm too technologically inept to self-publish. Plus the summer is rolling along, and soon I'll be back working 2 jobs, and won't have any time to spare again. Sigh...

    Do what I did with your writer's block. Wait until one of the characters visits you in a dream, and tells you how to proceed. It's worked for me a few times. Maybe they'll help you along...when your mind isn't too preoccupied with other characters' voices.

    1. Fiona, self-publishing is a snap. Don't let your backlist languish unpublished!

      Anyway, Amazon pays directly into your bank account. No need for PayPal.

      We should talk. Maybe I can help you.

  3. Hmm, Vegas Vampires has a nice ring to it. Or, um, Washington Werewolves? Nah, the Washington crew are the worst kind of vampires, not werewolves at all.

    1. I'm sure someone must have done Vegas Vampires LOL.

      The werewolves are in London... ;^)

  4. Lisabet, your stalled work isn't really dead as long as you are alive -- and your vampire & werewolf might both outlive you! (Consider JRR Tolkien's long-term WIP The Silmarillion, which was finished and published by his son after Tolkien Senior's death.) You can always come back to that novel-in-embryo or repurpose it in some way.

    1. I'm sure I will. I had one other novel that I didn't work on for more than a year (Quarantine), although that was more because of self-doubt.


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