Posts Tagged ‘the white room’


land-of-make-believe

Since an early age, I have had make-believe people in my head.  I know how that sounds and I am willing to admit its psychotic connotations. But quirky, questionable, batshit crazy, or otherwise, it’s the truth.  Psychologists might say I was unhappy and turned to creating an alternate reality to escape the misery of my own world.  But I don’t believe that.  I was a perfectly happy child.  Odd, but happy.  I just liked the idea of making up my own people whose lives I could script and design, and … who would live or die under my ruthless command (insert evil laugh here).

In the beginning of life, I suppose it seemed very normal.  Most kids have imaginary friends and the like… but mine weren’t really what I’d call imaginary friends.  I never interacted with my make-believe people, I just knew all about their lives: their names, jobs, locations, likes and dislikes, etc.  I used to sketch them out, and occasionally, I would put them in little stories, but many of them just sat until, by the time I was a teenager, I had notebooks populated with the profiles of these fictional characters and no idea why, or what to do with them.

By the time I was nearing twenty years old, I’d thrown away my stuffed animals and done away with ninety percent of my childhood fancies.  But one thing never changed: the people living in my head.  As I got older, they became more and more like real-life, three-dimensional human beings.  I suspect that as I matured, I began drawing on the traits of those around me, and those I saw on television.

You’d think that by now, when I sat down to write a story, I’d just pull out an old notebook and pick and choose characters. Instead, however, I’m still coming up with new people all the time. Different stories require different personalities, some of which haven’t yet come to my attention.

One of the most fascinating things about being a fiction writer, in my opinion, is getting into the minds of the characters. I use the word fascinating rather than fun because it isn’t always fun. For example, while writing Beautiful Monster, I was mortified at times to be in Sterling Bronson’s head. I remember frequently asking myself in various situations, What would Sterling do? and shuddering at the thought.

Currently, I am working on two projects. One is The White Room, which I still intend to have finished sometime near the end of summer. I’ve made this manuscript a lot more fun by discovering the joys of third person narrative. In this book, I get to explore multiple points of view, and now that I’ve begun doing it this way,I wonder how on earth I ever wrote from just one character’s perspective. The White Room is full of all kinds of fascinating points of view. There are good guys, villains, victims, sexually deviant women, men with addiction issues, living people, some undead folks, and even a guy with obsessive compulsive personality disorder. I’m seeing the world through several different pairs of eyes and I’ve never had as much fun writing as I am with this one.

The other project I’m working on is much different in a lot of ways. I can’t elaborate on this one too much because it’s still kind of top-secret… but it’s getting written, and it’s going well. For this one,  I am also exploring a few different points of view, but this is a whole new experience because I’m writing from a ten-year-old boy’s point of view…as well as a very old woman’s. This project is teaching me new things, expanding me in fascinating ways, and forcing me to stick to the point as it’s not intended to be a full length novel.

Having learned to see one story through the eyes of multiple characters has shown me new layers to the stories, as well as cleared up numerous issues I’ve had with past manuscripts which never reached completion. To be honest, I don’t know if I will ever return to first person…unless, of course, it seriously benefits a story I’m writing.

Anyway, I’d love to hear from readers and other writers on this topic. I’d like to know what readers love–and hate–about characters. I’d also love to hear from other writers about their process in character development.

Thanks for reading!

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Well… the holidays are over and that means back to work. Now that the world is slowly returning to its usual rhythm, I’m eager to get back to the book I’ve been working on, so when Tamara Thorne (http://tamarathorne.wordpress.com/) asked me to follow her on The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, I was happy to do it. I’ve been invited to do the Blog Hop before, but up until the past week or two, things have just been too crazy, making it impossible. So, my apologies to the folks I had to decline.

 

Q: What is the working title of your book?

A: The White Room. Or maybe Cadence. I’m hoping something will hit me, as it sometimes does, during the process of writing or revising the book, but as it is now, I usually refer to as “TWR”–The White Room–and will probably keep it unless the actual white room in this book ends up not playing a part substantial enough to title the novel after.

Q: Where did the idea come from for the book?

A: It evolved slowly, but it began in a night club in Salt Lake City. We were downstairs playing pool in a multi-storey dance club when my friend said, “Let’s go upstairs to The White Room.” Right away, The White Room sounded like a fantastic place, and before I saw it, I knew that it was going to be a title of something. When we got to the room, there were white sofas and white gauzy material hanging from the ceiling. It really was a white room, although I never was sure if that was its actual name or if my friend had referred to it that way for simplification purposes. The rest of the story came in fits and starts, slowly evolving and turning into a cohesive storyline over the course of about six or seven months, I think. Somewhere along the way, I decided this was going to be a vampire story. I later interspersed the concepts of addiction, slavery, and domination into the storyline.

Q:What genre does your book fall under?

A: Horror. Maybe thriller (with an erotic edge if I have anything to say about it.)

Q: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

A: This is always a tough question. I don’t give much thought to this when I’m writing, and I figure the casting directors would be better at finding the right people for the roles than I am. However, if I were to go by basic physical appearance, general mannerisms, etc., I could see Ashton Kutcher, or maybe a darker-haired Ryan Reynolds–or maybe even James Franco–playing Brooks, the suffering older brother.  When I think of Cade–the protagonist and Brooks’ younger brother–I think of a Daniel Radcliffe type—handsome in an offbeat way, but ultimately a kind of geeky charm. As for Piper, I see her as a kind of Katy Perry-looking type, although I don’t think Ms. Perry does much acting. Piper is the only character that I see absolutely clearly, down to the cast of her nose, the slant of her eyes, and the shape of her lips. Katy Perry is the only person that comes to mind for her. Finally, Gretchen, the bad ‘guy’, would be played by a platinum-haired Kate Hudson, Tara Reid, or maybe Heather Graham. Someone who looks good in black and dark purple, and isn’t afraid of spiders…mwa ha ha ha (evil laugh)!

Q: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A: Hmmm… “Prepare to come unfanged!” …?

Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

A: I lean toward the traditional publishing divisions of the industry.

Q: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

A: The first draft was written about two years ago and took about five months. I’ve since decided the story needs to be told from a different perspective and have basically started over, so really, I am writing the first draft now.

Q: Who or What inspired you to write this book?

A: The inspiration originally came from a life-long love of vampires. As a kid, I dressed as a vampire almost every Halloween. I think we’re seduced by the power and beauty that vampires have come to represent, and of course, the prospect of eternal life; and that’s what really inspired this book: I reached a certain age and realized that I would not, if given the choice, want to live forever. It made me wonder if, after having given it some honest thought, a person would really choose to walk the earth eternally.

Q: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

A: The White Room will carry on in the same tradition of Beautiful Monster in that it will have a healthy dose of sex and violence, but The White Room begs deeper questions. I think readers are ready for a protagonist who sees a less seductive side of eternal life. I also think readers will be interested in some of the vampire myths and legends that are incorporated into this story. There are several hybrid concepts threading this story together, and if it’s as fun to read it as it is to write it, I’m confident it will inspire some interest.

Next Wednesday, January 16th, follow the blog hop and read about the wonderful work of Monique Rockliffe (www.moniquerockliffe.wordpress.com), Jennifer Latas (http://jenniferlatas.wordpress.com/), and Kim Williams-Justesen (http://kwjwrites.wordpress.com/)

Find me at:

Twitter: JaredSAnderson3

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6517308.Jared_S_Anderson

Beautiful Monster fan page: http://www.facebook.com/beautifuldamnation?ref=hl

Beautiful Monster is available in eBook and Paperback at Damnation Books: http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615727742

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beautiful-monster-mimi-a-williams/1112783047?ean=9781615727759

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Monster-Mimi-A-Williams/dp/1615727752/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354247199&sr=8-5&keywords=Beautiful+Monster

and everywhere books are sold.


Dear Readers,

Today I finished chapter eight of Cadence/The White Room, the manuscript I wrote prior to Beautiful Monster. I’m still undecided on the title, but the storyline is coming along nicely. I’ve currently gotten Cadence (the protagonist) into “Desert’s Edge,” the night club where the vampires hang out (but he doesn’t know about them so keep it under your toupee, k?) and this time, I’m making the place especially charged with obscenity. I’ve spent the past several hours imagining the craziest, profanest, barely-legal-est things that can take place in a public club. Needless to say, my mind today has been filled with all kinds of wild things.

I’ve been writing all day today because I’ve decided I need one day a week off~ and…I’ve decided tomorrow is going to be that day for me. In the past weeks, I’ve been writing seven days a week for a minimum of three hours a day, much more most days, especially on the weekends. I have to remind myself of the old adage, “slow and steady wins the race.” I love writing, but it can be all-consuming. I’ve always said that too much of a good thing is beautiful…and yet, in truth, I realize as I’ve gotten older, too much of anything is never a good thing.

When I hit burn-out, I just end up playing online when I should be writing anyway, and also, I get numb to the story. For me, it’s about balance. If I go too long without writing, I fall out of touch with what I’m working on, and if I write too much, I just can’t see it anymore. I lose sight of the characters’ voices, and sometimes, the plot starts going south.

Part of the reason I’ve been writing so much is because I am chomping at the bit to get some other stuff written. I love the book I’m working on now, and I am pleased with the changes, but still, I’m eager to get to Beautiful Monster’s sequel as well as another project I’ve been working on finished…and overall, people have responded very well to Monster and many folks have asked for a continuation. So, if getting a sequel published for it is even a remote possibility, I don’t want to wait too long.

Tonight, I’m going to print off all eight chapters of Cadence/The White Room and give it a beginning to finish read-through to see how it gels. Then… I am going out. I don’t know what I’ll do or where I’ll go, but this city is limitless in its nightlife. Tomorrow, I have a couple minor things to do, none of it unpleasant, and for the rest of the day, I am going to lounge around messy-haired and indecent, and read someone else’s work. I feel like I’ve been waiting an Eternity (hint, hint, T) to get my hands on a good book!

I hope you all have a great and relaxing Sunday as well!


For some writers, research is a necessary evil, something that simply needs to be done to keep from giving  inaccurate information to his or her readers. For me, probably due to the content I write about, research is a guilty pleasure~ a wonderful excuse to explore things I wouldn’t normally dare to.

For writing purposes, I’ve researched topics like mental and behavioral disorders, serial killers, drug withdrawal symptoms, vampire history, the process of death and dying (as well as embalming a body and the other duties of a mortician) and various physical and psychological illnesses, just to name a few. I know more about how a serial killer thinks, and the rate at which a human body decomposes than I ever wanted to know. Nothing, however, was more fascinating than the research I did on BDSM, or as most of us know it, kink.

In 2009, before I’d even heard of Fifty Shades of Grey, I had an idea for a vampire novel I wanted to write that had to do with kink. I imagined what it would be like if vampires treated humans as their personal slaves, trading doses of euphoria-inducing vampire venom for a limitless supply of human blood. In my mind, these vampires owned their humans and kept them like “pets.” Naturally, the customs of good old-fashioned S and M seemed like the perfect place to start, and I began my search for the local underworld of kink.

It wasn’t as easy to find as one might think. Kinksters don’t tend to advertise, apparently. I’d been searching for this community for several months when a friend of mine who knew about my quest for all things kinky, gave me a call and said she’d found the local kink community. I was thrilled.

I was stunned to find out that there were classes you could take, and that before I could attend one of their kink parties, I had to go through orientation. I had no idea it was so formal.  For fear of being exposed as a fraud, the first thing I needed was a “scene name.” A scene name is what you choose to go by among your fellow kinky peers. I chose the name Angel (as it turned out, the kinksters were perfectly okay with people who are just curious, who don’t wish to participate, and who just want to watch and ask questions, but I didn’t know that at the time, and thought I needed to be a believable kinkster.) So I started going to the classes once a week, and learned as much as can be learned  in a classroom setting about bondage, domination, submission, sadism, masochism, and the like.

Once I had familiarized myself with the lingo, the general rules, and had made friends with some of the kinksters, I was ready to start attending the kink parties. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do at one of these parties, so I asked a few friends of mine to go with me. They agreed to go to the orientation and attend the party with me afterwards… as my personal pets.

The friends I took as my slaves were two women and another guy. The women I named “Isis” and “Poetic Justice.” The guy I named “Winter” after a character in the book I was working on. I wore a suit and eyeliner. “Isis” was in a bustier with a frilly skirt and high heels. “Poetic Justice” was in piggy tails tied with red silk, a long overcoat, and hooker boots. The male, “Winter,” was in nothing more than a sheer pair of mesh boy-shorts (he had a thong on underneath so he wasn’t showing everything,) and one of those massive, cruel-looking metal dog collars that digs into the pets neck if they stray too far. We’d written various lines of my own poetry all over his body with a marker and I also put him in eyeliner. He wore no shoes.

I had leashes for each of my “pets,” and let me tell you, entering and exiting rooms is a lot harder than it looks when you’ve got three people on leashes… but we made it to the party. We were greeted by some of the folks I’d met at the classes, and I introduced my “pets” to them, though the pets aren’t allowed to speak without their master’s permission, and as pets, no one spoke to them without asking me first.

We went in and sat down. Well, I sat down and my “pets,” as per the custom, kneeled on the floor at my feet. We watched several floggings, saw a woman bound and suspended upside-down from the ceiling, and watched some very fascinating fire play on a nude woman. One of the friends I’d met in the community was there, and she was having the skin on her back punctured with colorful body “pins” to create a design that made it appear that she had wings. Another one of the kinksters I’d previously befriended was also there, and he wanted to give me a beating with a wicked-looking bamboo stick. After much hesitation, I finally agreed, after laying down my ground rules: no clothes come off, no hitting me below the waist, and start out soft!

I quickly tired of the bamboo stick, and realized with no surprise, that such exercises didn’t do much to excite me in the same ways it does some people. Fascinating as it the whole thing was visually, we all grew very tired pretty early on and left the party after just a couple of hours. I attended one more party after that before considering my research complete.

Although the world of kink had little to offer me in a personal way, I made some great friends, and learned many fascinating things that have continued to feed my writing. My few months in the BDSM community gave me years worth of material, and I used every bit of it in The White Room, and in Beautiful Monster, which will be released on September 1st, 2012.

Research is, if nothing else, a mind-opener. As it’s been in all cases, I quickly learned that the truth about kink is about as far from my pre-conceived notions as it can get. I was astounded to realize how few kinksters do this solely for sexually gratifying purposes. I was intrigued by the customs and the very proper protocol. I was relieved by the safety and sanitary measures that were observed in these practices, and I was amazed by the laid-back, welcoming attitude of the group. I gained a certain respect for kink that I never had before, and although I don’t go to the parties anymore, I still have a lot of friends from that time. The psychology and philosophy of these folks has given me many things to muse about, and for me, that’s the whole point. Sometimes, when we’re stuck, we just need something new to stir our creative minds. That’s what research does, and I absolutely love it.

Since Beautiful Monster has been accepted for publication, my publisher has asked to see The White Room, which is the book I did the kink research for that was written previous to Beautiful Monster. The manuscript needs a lot of work and my goal is to have it ready by the end of this year. As I’m revising the book, I’m remembering all the things I learned about kink, and I’m grateful for the research I did on that topic. No, I don’t mind research a bit, and I look forward to doing more of it on more fascinating subjects in the future.


We received the contract for Beautiful Monster today. By now, I’d done enough research on the press and learned of some other well-respected author’s represented by the press, that I felt optimistic we’d probably be signing it. Still, I refused to celebrate until we saw the contract, looked at it very closely and agreed with it. I’ve spent the past eight or nine hours going over the contract with my co-author, Kim, and we both agree it’s a good one.

(Kim and I, professionals that we are, going over the contract via Skype)

Last week, Kim and I went out on a limb, and without having received the contract, went ahead with some formatting revisions that are standard to the press. This consisted of changing all text to Georgia font, spelling out, hyphenating, and capitalizing all chapter headers, Finding and correcting all (or most) passive voice passages, spelling out all abbreviations, separating chapter breaks by four asterisks, deleting all spaces before and after ellipses, adding quotations to all of the Fiend’s dialogue (as this is considered internal thought since the Fiend speaks in Sterling’s head), and eliminating all sentences that begin with conjunctions. It was leap of faith on our parts, considering the task took nearly ten hours and we weren’t even sure if we would sign the contract. I’m glad we did it though. It saved us a little time.

Along with the contract, we received tax forms (which kind of scare me) and Author Information sheets. These sheets are where you fill out your personal information, book dedications, and make mention of those folks you’d like to acknowledge and thank. It also asks for key points of the plot and physical descriptions of the main characters. When answering these questions, they ask that you be concise, as this is done for the sake of giving the cover artist a clear idea for your books cover picture. I guess this ensures you don’t end up with a picture of a blandly handsome, buff dude holding a petite, well-cleavaged, raven-haired beauty in the sunset on your book cover when your book is about tractors or something.

The majority of the contract is basically a long list of your legal rights and expectations, the legal rights and expectations of the publisher, royalty percentage agreements, and a whole bunch of other legal jargon that, although quite simple, is not necessarily interesting enough to go into serious depth here.

It’s still a long way to go to be able to hold my own book in my hand. It could, and likely will, be two years before I am able to have that. First, we will be assigned an editor to whom we will be accountable to as we begin a long series of editorial revisions. We will have deadlines and we will have them aplenty. Between these rounds of revision, there’s nothing to do but keep on keeping on. I will keep working on Tyranny Hall, my solo project, Kim will continue working on hers, and God help us, we’ve been throwing around the idea of a sequel (a trilogy, actually) for Beautiful Monster~but that’s another blog…

I realized today that I’m glad Beautiful Monster is the one that got the gig. Not only because I love the story and feel it is substantially stronger than The White Room, but also because I don’t want to do this alone! This is all very intimidating to me still, and I am lucky to have someone to go through this with.

A lot can happen in the time it takes for this to really be a “done deal,” but I feel like I can at least exhale a little now. I have wanted this so badly for so long, and now that it’s here, I can’t help but feel a little exhilarated. I’m too tired to celebrate tonight though. I just want to sit here in the dark and mentally replay what a wild journey it has been thus far. I can’t think about the deadlines right now. I can’t think about the marketing plans, and the book sales, and my future as an author. I can only be right here, right now, taking a big deep breath and saying to myself that no matter what happens from here, someone finally thought I was good enough to take a chance on~ I can look at myself and say that I have worked very hard for this, and it hasn’t come easy, and I didn’t give up.

In a way, I think that’s all I ever wanted.


After ten years of dreaming about it, seven years of preparing for it, and almost three years of ruthlessly pursuing it- I’ve finally done it. It took me exactly 190 rejection letters between two completed novels, but I have at last been offered a contract. It wasn’t for my first novel, The White Room, which was ultimately rejected by the two publishers who were recently interested in it. Instead, the offer was for Beautiful Monster, the horror story which I collaborated on with Kim Williams-Justesen~ a fact that, given the gruesome nature of the novel, surprises me. But that’s beside the point.

What happened: On the eleventh of May (my birthday!) we submitted the story to a press I’d come across through a strange chain of events two weeks before. A day after the initial submission of the first three chapters and the last chapter of the book, we received an e-mail asking for the entire manuscript. We’ve been down this road before, I thought, bracing myself for the agonizing coming months I’d spend waiting for the eventual, “thanks, but no thanks.” But… that isn’t at all how it played out. Instead, just a couple of days later, we received an e-mail congratulating us. Our novel was accepted for publication. I didn’t get the e-mail. I got the news in a phone message from Kim.

What it was like: It was unreal. I guess if I had to compare it to something, it was a little bit like being on an airplane when it climbs or drops several hundred feet in a matter of seconds. Your vision swells, your stomach lurches, your heart does a somersault, and your head feels like it’s imploding. I don’t think I took a breath for several minutes after I heard the news. I sat down, suddenly unsure if standing was such a good idea. In her message, Kim said she’d forwarded me the e-mail. I got on the computer, logged into my account, and there it was. I blinked at it. I read it three times. I logged out of my e-mail and back in again to check it a fourth time. It was still there. I picked up my phone, went to my voicemail, and listened to the message one more time. Nothing had changed. We’d just been made an offer.

That was when the bliss hit me. Bliss may be a strong word, but I think it’s deserving of its placement in this context. My body tingled and my mind raced. I wanted to jump out of my skin, but in a good way. I wanted to leap from my chair and run into the streets, thrusting my glee upon anyone within a five-mile radius. I could not sit still. I had nowhere to go, so I grabbed my phone again and began texting the news. I later learned that in my excitement, I’d made several errors in my efforts, sending the message, “We just got offered a contract on Beautiful Monster!” to my dentist in Utah, the landline of my poodles’ vet hospital, and, I’m pretty sure, to a woman I’ve never met named Joyce whose number is in my phone because six months ago, she was handling my property out-of-state. But I didn’t care. I was spreading the joy.

You’d think that after all the months and years of working for this very moment, waiting for it to be realized, the bliss would last longer. It doesn’t. I think I squeezed about ten wonderful minutes out of the whole deal before the doubt started in. The doubt is mean and ugly and wants nothing more than to crash your party. No sooner had I hit the send button on the fifth or sixth text to anyone within send-button range when the doubt began creeping in. It told me it wasn’t real. It told me I was being scammed. And worse, it told me that now I was going to have to go back and explain to everyone I’d texted that it was a false alarm. The sting of that blow was very real to me then, and I briefly considered sending out a mass Just Kidding! Gotcha! text to all my contacts.

Suddenly, I doubted everything from the reality of the e-mail to the legitimacy of the publisher. I’d researched the press before submitting of course, but now I was obsessed by the idea that I’d somehow missed something vitally negative about them. I got on the computer. I spent the next several hours combing through their website, researching their authors, and looking for holes in their plans to rip me off. I googled their reviews. I visited Editors and Predators. I read everything I could. I found nothing that supported my suspicion that this was some kind of scam.

We got another e-mail from the publisher saying we’d be receiving a contract in the next few days. We also got our author guidelines and editorial formatting forms, which I believe is for e-book formatting. By now, I’d talked to a friend of mine, an author who has been in the business for about twenty years. She had a little experience with the press and knew someone who had substantial experience with them. The conversations that ensued calmed my mind enough that I made peace with the fact that until I saw the contract, there was no reason for me to neither celebrate nor mourn.

In the days while I wait for the contract, I am surprisingly peaceful. If this is a good gig, then great! And if not… I am out nothing. It is during these days of waiting that I believe I have probably grown the most as a writer than I ever have before. I’m realizing during this time that even when the dream comes true, there’s still the reality to be reckoned with; as soon as a wonderful thing happens, there begins the threat of the next potential great disappointment. A lot can happen between the signing of a document (assuming we sign it) and when the actual book is produced, and somehow, I’m okay with that.

All of a sudden, I’m not fighting anymore and this is new territory for me. I think I’ve finally given up. I don’t mean to say I’m quitting. I mean, I think I gave up the control that I never had in the first place. For the first time in years, I don’t care whether or not I get published. I’m turning my attention back to my writing, back to my life, back to the things I love. And for the first time, I’m realizing how hell-bent I’ve been on this thing… for the first time, I understand that even when it does finally happen, it doesn’t actually fix anything. Until now, I didn’t even know I’d been trying to fix anything.

I’m standing here~ facing, for the very first time, the reality of a dream I’ve been entertaining for ages… and I don’t care about it anymore. I realize that I love my writing and that’s all that matters. Above all, I realize with painful clarity all of the unnecessary pressure I’ve put on myself~ the tremendous weight of my self-imposed demands… and the unreachable heights I’ve set for myself.

I haven’t talked to many people during the past few days. I’ve been quiet and withdrawn, but I am at peace. There’s nothing to say. There’s nothing to do. I am tired, as if all the time I’ve spent working for this has finally caught up with me and is taking victory over me. I’ve been sleeping a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever been as exhausted as I have these past few days. I feel raw and weak, but I am finally at peace with the world around me, and at peace with the knowledge that whatever will be will be, and it’s no longer up to me to try to force it.

I’m optimistic about the contract. I don’t know yet whether or not we will sign it, but I feel good about it so far. Whichever way this goes, this experience has been nothing like I thought it would be. It is… real, and somehow I guess I never thought it could be. One thing is certain though. This is not the final destination I somehow thought it was. This is just the beginning. I’m as curious as anyone to see how this plays out.