LOL. The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear that question is: Oh, sh*t. Where's my outline? In fact, what does make up my outline?
I used to outline, but somehow as I worked through the outline, I would get stuck or I would lose touch with the characters and feel as if I forced them to have a happy ending before they were ready or that they somehow still didn't get their way by the end of the story. (For the record, none of these works are published.)
So I started to write by listening more to my characters and being true to how they want to pace the story. When I wrote this way, the outlines always changed. I learned then, and really early, that I was not one of those writers who outline or plot well at all in advance.
I have to admit that now I'm not much of a person who outlines. Generally, I know what will happen in the story, but twists and turns happen and things change by the end of the story based on how the characters successively evolve through the story.
So what I do instead is start out with characters. I try to find out what their strengths and weaknesses are, what they present to the world and what they hide especially to themselves. The more I know what motivates them, the more I know how they direct and change the story. So in every story I aim to stay with the characters and see them through to their happy for now or happily ever after.
#2. Do You Ever Get Writer's Block?
Do I ever! I get writer's block when I force myself to outline. I almost wish I was one of those writers who can plot, outline and crank out a novel every couple of months. However, I've long realized my constitution and am happy with my process.
Other times I get writer's block are for scenes in which my characters or I do not enjoy fleshing out. Sometimes I get stuck when I don't know my character enough or when I don't want to get into a character's head.
When I get writer's block, I usually take a break from that character or project and come back to it later. In the meantime, I write about the characters that do seize my imagination and demand their story to be told.
So when I got stuck not wanting to get into a villain's head when I was about two-thirds of the way completing the first draft of my first novel Awake, two minor characters within that story started hounding me at night. I couldn't sleep. They demanded their story to be told!
Well, I listened. That's how my first novelette Prison Break came to be, even though I had not intended anything to be published before Awake. Then within that novelette came another story that turned out to be the novella Eat Mì.
By the time I got back to the novel Awake, I realized I knew what kind of villain I was dealing with and how the story would end. I am now about one chapter away from completing the first draft with about a fifth of it already critiqued. I'm hoping I can send it to my beta readers by the end of this month and that I can make a March publication date. If not, the book will definitely be out no later than June 2014.
So I think the most important thing about writer's block is to listen and respect yourself. If you judge yourself or get down on yourself, you're not helping yourself advance. If you don't write, though, then you aren't being true to your nature as a writer. So my best suggestion is to write anyway—only find something that is more top of mind to write about.
#3. Tell us about your writing.
I call what I write HER, short for Healing Erotic Romance. I have a background in the healing arts and have much respect for that field. When we heal, we awaken to our wholeness. Erotica is also so potent. When we acknowledge our whole selves, especially the power and sensuality of our sex and sexuality, we open up to exquisite sensations and the sacred beauty of life itself. When we indulge in romance, we come alive with hope and anticipation, desires felt and desires met.
Thus, my writing is an experiment in combining these three fields. Awake is my first novel representing such an attempt, to be the manifestation of the intersection of Healing + Erotica + Romance. I call these my triple treats.
#4. Tell us about your latest release.
My latest release is Eat Mì. Its alternate title is Eat Me. The latter word in both titles are homophones. I chose the Vietnamese word for "wheat" (mì) with the accent mark in place because the male protagonist in the story is an Asian alpha male. Wheat is a food that entered the Vietnamese diet through the French. The title seemed fitting since the love story is between a European (Irish) American woman (Jessica Wyatt) and an Asian American man (An Tang, pronounced On-Tong). So the representation of an English word and a Vietnamese word side by side in the title spoke to me.
Honestly, I met An after I met Jessica. When Jessica's brother Jeremy (in the forthcoming novel Awake) urged her to get her sexy back after yet another disappointing break-up but instead she went to a sex club, I knew then that I wanted to write her story. I mean, here she is a product of Catholic school upbringing and she somehow gets talked into going to a BDSM club--it was too good a story to pass up! As soon as I knew that I wanted to write her story, I went to a one-year-old's birthday party and on the way home from there An appeared in my mind's eye. I couldn't get either Jessica or An off my mind by that point. So the story began to form.
#5. How can readers get in touch with you?
Goodreads, definitely. Twitter, second. Facebook, third. Those social networks used to show in reverse order for me! No matter how you contact me, though, I love hearing from real people and I really do respond!
Jade Onyx writes about HER ~ Healing Erotic Romance. When not writing, she can be found nursing her newborn. You can expect her to go through bouts of nursing mind in the forthcoming year. Oh, but the characters won't let her forget them, and they insist upon their happily ever afters. So you can rest assured that Jade will be writing. ARCs are available to bloggers and reviewers upon request and approval. For new releases, contests, free book promos, etc., sign up for her email list: http://eepurl.com/Gn81b
Excerpt from Eat Mì
“You can't fool me, missy!” Jen swooped toward Jessica, patted and pinched her buttock with one arm and cradled her breast-to-breast with her other arm. “How about a girl-on-girl dance?” Jen's sly smile made Jessica's cheeks flush. “You know how hot men get when they see this action?” Jen glanced over her shoulder and motioned Mariah over. “Get close and hump me from behind!”
Jessica giggled nervously. “Jen! How do you come up with this stuff?”
“Just relax, missy. We've got you.”
While Jen rubbed her up and down, grinding into her full frontal and on the side, Mariah made her way around Jen to flank Jessica and shimmied her way up and down along Jessica's spine. Pulling Jessica's hips toward her crotch, Mariah pumped and swayed with the music.
Jessica could not help but burst into raucous laughter. In fact, they were all laughing.
A firm hand with an expensive watch shot through the tangle of female pheromones towards her. “May I cut in?”
The throaty voice sent Jessica's heart skipping a beat. Her eyes snaked up the fit arm past the black button vest on his stocky shoulders, past the button white T-shirt that showed up blue in the black light, past his full lips and connected with twinkling cordovan eyes that shot electricity to her brain.
Short circuitry. She did not know when she reached out her hand. She was vaguely aware of Jen and Mariah parting their way to reconfigure their girly arrangement.
The moment their hands met, Jessica felt the zap. She almost retracted her hand, but he held hers firmly and pulled her toward him into a tight embrace to lead her in a dance to their own beat. He smelled of pine and musk, as if he was just getting started.
“You just got here?” she asked, when she finally recovered her ability to speak.
“Not long ago.” His black bangs were brushed to the side, yet several strands flirted with an eye. His hair was long enough to cover his ears and curled out at the ends.
Fuckable. He was definitely fuckable. Dark and fuckable. She ached to pull that hair.
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