Competition for Attention

Well, I am blocked.  Or…at least one story is blocked.  I’m trying to finish the manuscript for The Accidental Witness so that I can pass it off to my beta reader who is ever so patiently waiting for it.  It’s a bit of a departure for me as it involves law enforcement agencies, a money laundering trail, and the Russian mob.  I have a really great contact who is answering my technical and logistical questions regarding all things Bratva (think Cosa Nostra but in Russian); however, I must ask the questions through “a handler”.  The research process has become very James Bond/Godfather-esque….and should prove to be an intriguing interview discussion….should I ever reach the point of getting interviewed by someone when I finally release this story.

I have the first half written and know how it ends, but right now, my brain is just not firing on all four cylinders regarding getting from the middle to the end.  To further complicate my writer’s block on this, NaNoWriMo is coming up.  (That’s National Novel Writing Month for you newbies.)  October is spent planning your NaNo project, then November begins the monstrous insanity of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.  It’s stressful; it’s crazy; it’s frustrating; it’s AWESOME.  I have had the idea for this year’s NaNo project for a number of months now, and my NaNo characters are already trying to talk to me.  And on top of THAT, my NaNo project has somehow morphed into a SERIES, AND I’m co-leader this year for our regional group.  YAY!  So all things NaNo are just filling my mind and imagination… thereby putting The Accidental Witness on the backburner, which is certainly not what I WANT to do.  I WANT to finish it.

I had a friend suggest this weekend that I just set it aside until after NaNo.  I see the point in that… I do.  And truthfully, it may indeed be for the best at this point in time.  That being said, I must confess that I am an extremely stubborn soul, and I want to dig in there and “just do it”.

Perhaps sometime in the next two weeks, the muses will descend again, and inspiration will strike.  I’m still hoping for that.  If not…this WIP shall be put aside until after NaNo.  Fellow writing peeps—how do you guys deal with blocked stories?  Or multiple story ideas competing for imaginative attention?  If you have advice or suggestions, I’ll be over here—the one staring at the computer screen, silently begging words to magically appear.


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The Elusive Mr. Darcy

I don’t think any lover of romantic literature can speak about the quintessential and unforgettable heroes of this genre without having Mr. Darcy (from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) come close to the top of the list.

Tall. Handsome.  A Man of Means.  Proud.  Slightly Brooding.  Need a visual?  Take your pick—Colin Firth from the original A&E mini-series, complete with “wet t-shirt scene”. (Stuff of dreams that was.  Oh mercy!)   Or— Matthew McFayden from the Jon Wright production a few years ago.  (That end scene at dawn when he comes across Lizzie walking the fields.  Delightful.)

Sorry… there was a thud.  That was me swooning.  I do love a handsome, brooding Englishman.  However, men of that description are in quite the shortage in eastern North Carolina.  More’s the pity.  Sigh….

But I digress.

Although I have interests in several genres, I am currently working within the romance genre.  I think it begs the question—am I writing Mr. Darcy?  I think there may be small hints of him here and there in my male characters.  So far, they are all tall and handsome.  Although the romantic heroes I’ve written so far are typically of the average professional variety (no millionaire tycoons, etc), they are all quite proud and have a bit of masculine arrogance, so that’s a bit Darcy-esque.  They all, so far, are perhaps a bit brooding.  They have things going on under the surface that the heroine doesn’t immediately understand—also reminiscent of Darcy.

So what makes my romantic heroes something different than just an homage to the famous Mr. Darcy.  For one thing, Austen’s Darcy is a bit unapproachable.  My male characters, with one exception, are a bit more outgoing and social.  They also are written with quite a sense of humor. I love to laugh, and I try to infuse as much humor as possible into my characters and my stories.  I think that’s one of the defining aspects of creating a character that feels real.  Feels human.  Mr. Darcy is always so very serious, and while this is certainly a necessary virtue, I find my characters tend to temper their dispositions with a bit more levity than Austen gave to Darcy.

Have I found Mr. Darcy?  In real life or on the page?  On the page…I find I’m not really searching for Mr. Darcy there.  So far, I’ve found some romantic figures that are as wonderful, as swoon­-worthy, and a bit more real than Mr. Darcy.  I hope my readers will find the same when these characters and their stories are finally released.

Well, I admit that in real life, I have not yet found Mr. Darcy.  Perhaps a Mr. Wickham or three, but no Mr. Darcy.   Before anyone comments about there not being a “Mr. Darcy”, let me state that yes, I am aware that Mr. Darcy is fictional.  Hence the reason I won’t find him here on this earthly plane.  However, there is someone out there.  Tall (maybe). Handsome (in my eyes).  A Man of Means (works towards his dreams and goals and is gainfully employed).  Proud (of who he is and will be).  Slightly Brooding (only on occasion to lend that “quizzical brow” look).  So I continue to keep an eye out for him, the elusive Mr. Darcy.  Not The Mr. Darcy.  But rather, My Mr. Darcy.