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And all my bones began to shake, my eyes flew open

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November 9, 2009 | 01:15am
Mood: glorious
Music: Florence + the Machine - Blinding

Okay, my novel is more chick lit than romance. And I'm okay with that. Really, I am. I just... don't like arrogant assholes, and that's basically the love interest in every romance out there. Fortunately, I just hit 25,000 words written this month (about 4k on this novel), so hey! I'm not a total failure.

THE EXCERPT!!!! PLZ DO NOT STEAL THX!!
(Also, ladies, SOME QUESTIONS:
Is this relatively realistic? Does it sound like the protagonist is a woman? Does the guy sound like he's attractive/arrogant/your typical romance novel love interest? Does the humor seem forced at all? Seriously, any help/criticism you can give will be much appreciated. THANKS!)


"So tell me about yourself," he said invitingly. "Dr. Diesfeld mentioned you worked at Gloucester, Roy, and Buckleman. Did you know Jeffrey Buckleman?"

Well, hell. Of course he'd bring up Jeff.

"Yes," I said, unable to disguise the ice in my voice. "Yes, I know Mr. Buckleman."

He looked interested. "Really! Did you work under Jeff, or under one of the other partners or associates?"

Fortunately, the phone began to ring, saving me from having to answer. "Sorry, let me just get this," I said while picking up the phone. It was Lisa down in HR, telling me to try to bring down my documents when I had the chance, and how was the office, and then she went on about Theresa in Accounting's marital troubles until I interrupted her and said I needed to get back to work. Then she said that she would see me at lunch. Apparently Michelle had been busy. I looked up and was startled to discover that Holloway was still standing in front of me. Paul, that is. Holloway.

"Lisa Jackson?" he asked, amused.

I nodded ruefully. "I don't even remember meeting her before, though I know I did," I confessed. "She just started talking--"

He laughed. "She does that," he said. "Now, where were we?" he asked, his voice deepening ever so slightly. He sounded downright seductive. I was mere seconds from flinging myself across my desk and gasping out, "Take me, take me now!" when he took a few steps toward me. Dear God, he wanted to have sex with the door open?

"Tell me," he began, his voice more seductive than ever. I don't have any condoms in my briefcase, do I? I mentally shook myself. Of course you don't, you don't do that sort of thing, but for this man, well-- "Are you doing anything for lunch today?" Sweet Jesus, he wanted to go to lunch. Him. With me. Together. I was screwed, possibly literally.

That thought felt like a cold bucket of water had been dumped over me. I may have found him attractive, and I may have wanted to see what was under that perfectly fitted Hugo Boss suit, but-- it was a bad idea on many, many levels. After Jeff, I'd sworn off dating coworkers. Not that what we'd had was dating. Well, okay, it was dating, because it definitely wasn't screwing. Not technically, at any rate. Nothing ever went in. I had morals, damn it, even if I was a horrible person and a failure at life. I'd learned my lesson. Jeff made sure of that.

"I-- I--" I suddenly remembered that I'd be meeting with Michelle, Sylwia, and probably half of HR and Accounting for lunch as well. "Actually, I have plans for lunch."

"How about dinner?" he took another step toward me. To get any closer he'd need to circle my desk. Or get on top of it.

"I'll be busy," I said. That was a lie.

He looked pensive for a moment. "Are you doing anything Friday night?" he asked me.

Was I really that hot? Don't answer that. "Sorry," I said. "I have plans." Another lie.

"All night?" he asked, skeptically.

"Yes," I said. "I, um, will be going out. With friends," I added. That was also a lie. Odds are I was going to get Chinese take-out and watch the Colin Firth version of Pride & Prejudice for the ninetieth time. Maybe I could invite Tim and Joe over and we could play drinking games until we either passed out drunk, or the miniseries finished, whichever came first. Actually, that sounded like it would be a good time. Maybe that wasn't a lie after all. I made a mental note to call Tim.

He paused. "Are you trying to avoid going out with me?" he asked.

My eyes flew up to meet his. "No," I said defensively. A lie. "I'm just really busy," I continued. Another lie.

"Because it sure sounds like you're trying to avoid a date with me," he said.

"I think you're insecure," I said. Did I seriously just say that? His gaze sharpened and I knew I had.

"Have you heard anything about me?" he questioned me, a serious tone in his voice.

My brow furrowed. "Um, no--"

A confused look crossed his face. "Then you should go out with me," he said.

"Maybe next week," I said. I wasn't entirely sure if that was a lie or not. I'd see how I felt about my job then.

"Excellent," he said, a satisfied tone to his voice. He glanced at his watch - which was gold and covered in crystals and looked like it cost more than what I made in six months - and said, "I should get going. I'll see you later," he said, making it sound like a promise. The look in his eyes made it extremely clear that he fully intended to fulfill his promise. At that, he turned around and left my office, an arrogant stride to his step.

I watched him go, admiring the fit of his pants. When I was certain he wasn't coming back, I dropped my head to the desk. I wanted to screw the most attractive man I'd seen in months - years - and evidently he wanted me too. Or he was a creep. With my luck, he was probably both.

But man, was he hot.

Well, crap.



While writing tonight I developed a newfound appreciation for the song "Blinding" by Florence + the Machine. I mean, I love her entire album (BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR), but that song-- oh my god. I want it to be played at my funeral. If that isn't a compliment, I don't know what is. (Click to listen on YouTube.)

No more dreaming of the dead as if death itself was undone
No more calling like a crow for a boy, for a body in the garden
No more dreaming like a girl so in love, so in love
No more dreaming like a girl so in love, so in love
No more dreaming like a girl so in love with the wrong world

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Comments {10}

oct_sky

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from: oct_sky
date: November 9, 2009 08:33am (UTC)
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more more, i want to read more. =)
i think it seems reasonably realistic...the humor is very good. i know i laughed out loud at least once.
the guy comes off cocky and attractive and the woman comes off insecure and "burned". idk if thats what you were going for but thats what i got from it and I really enjoyed it.

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Adam

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from: aodh
date: November 9, 2009 09:00am (UTC)
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ah, thank you for reading! And commenting!
I'm glad you want to read more... that's what I'm going for ;)

That's exactly how I wanted the guy to come off! And the woman... well, she's definitely insecure, and at least in some aspects she's burned as well. Sounds like I nailed the characters. excellent :D
thanks again!

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walking and thinking

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from: karmaforone
date: November 9, 2009 04:18pm (UTC)
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1) there's a lot of adverbs that don't need to be there. we know the phone ring is convenient because of context, and we know she's being apologetic because she said sorry. it's a minor detail, but it slows down prose.

2) "some other people i didn't know about." i'm assuming this is office gossip. not to say all women are into office gossip, but if this is chick lit, the protagonist usually cares about dumb bullshit, and so do the readers. make up stuff, even if it's only for one sentence. this gives your story credibility.

3) put "circle my desk" before "get on top of" because the latter is more extreme, and therefore funnier & more logically put last.

otherwise, yes, it reads exactly like chick lit. congrats!

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Adam

(no subject)

from: aodh
date: November 9, 2009 06:57pm (UTC)
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thank you very much for the detailed response!

1) Excellent point regarding the adverbs. I've made the changes you mentioned, but I'll be going back to fix up the rest in edits.

2) You make a good point regarding the gossip - and in a scene a few pages later there's quite a bit of it. A sentence has now been added. ;)

3) I actually made that change after I posted this entry, but I didn't change it here. Psychic!

I don't know if it's a good thing that it reads like chick lit or not, but I'll take it. Thanks again! (Are you doing nanowrimo this year?)

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walking and thinking

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from: karmaforone
date: November 10, 2009 02:00am (UTC)
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you said you were trying to write genre fiction, right? there's no shame in writing chick lit as long as you know it's not going to be masturbated over by literary critics. (though you could attempt to be what cormac mccarthy was to pulp westerns to chick lit ... unfortunately, i think that title will go to a woman. sorry.) i'm thinking of writing some ya fiction. i just recommend doing it under a pen name if you want your actual name to have any weight as a legitimate literary force later. stupid, petty rules, but literature is written & read by stupid, petty people.

i want to do nanowrimo so bad but i have no time. i should be writing this short story for class right now. plus i'm applying for mfa programs. and WHOOP WHOOP away i go!

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Adam

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from: aodh
date: November 10, 2009 02:21am (UTC)
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to be honest, I doubt my writing will ever be masturbated over by literary critics - I like reading and writing YA (my one true love, hah!), chick lit, fantasy, mystery, etc. I could always try to bring change from the inside (well-written romances? Possibly an oxymoron!) but frankly, it doesn't matter to me. I fully intend on writing under a pseudonym - probably multiple pseudonyms, since I write in a variety of genres. Besides, "Adam Miller" isn't a very memorable name. Plus, if I ever get chick lit/romance novels published, it'd be stupid to use my own name - I'm too male for the genre. In other words, don't be surprised if I'm published as Mila Adams or Ada Mills or, like, A.T. Miller or something.

Sorry you don't have the time to do nanowrimo. I've been there. I'll try to write enough for both of us, okay? hah. What MFA programs are you applying to? (I have a friend at UMKC.) Good luck with your writing + grad school applications!

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Tess

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from: mintsonpillows
date: November 9, 2009 05:33pm (UTC)
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The phone call kind of confused me because I thought a new character had entered but I don't think one had. I'm sure it's realistic I mean I'm pretty bias, my life is boring so reading something like this makes my life somewhat eventful. But it does seem like a woman is the POV here. I'm glad you made it so she was thinking "Oh I want you" but saying no, if that were me I'd be more of an asshole.

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Adam

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from: aodh
date: November 9, 2009 07:03pm (UTC)
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No, the phone call was from a character who had been mentioned a few pages earlier. (This was just an excerpt from a few pages into the story.) By "realistic" I really mean - does it sound like it's a woman and how she might think? (Probably not, but whatever.) I'm glad it does sound like a female POV. Yeah, I don't know if I'd be an asshole in that situation, but I wouldn't be as nice as she was. He's not the love interest, but she will go out with him... eventually. Just to show how much of an asshole he is. ;)
Thanks for reading & commenting! :D

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savagewoman

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from: savagewoman
date: November 10, 2009 01:37am (UTC)
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She swears a lot for a 'chick lit' protagonist, but that's not a bad thing. (the term chick lit bugs me; no one calls what John Grisham writes dudebooks, do they?)
The phone call excerpt could indeed use cleaning up a tad, for some reason it doesn't read quite as smoothly as it could. The 'Now, where were we?' bit is possibly a tad too heavy to really fit in to the rest of the story, the tone feels different.
The guy's not yet too arrogant, but it's something to watch out for, many guy characters in romance type stories are so intolerable no real person would ever date them... I don't think your main character sounds especially broken or anything, she just sounds like a normal person who's had normal person's problems in life. Which is good, I hate how some writers feel the need to damage their woman characters.
All in all, not too bad at all :)

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Adam

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from: aodh
date: November 10, 2009 01:53am (UTC)
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I've actually read that what I'm actually writing is "dick lit" - guys who write chick lit. (I hate the term too, but I kind of prefer it to "women's fiction" or whatever.) You're right, she does swear a lot, but that really depends on the person, right? I know some women who curse more than I do (which is saying something).

The phone call... yeah, I need to work on it. I've gone ahead and made a note of that. Hopefully I'll figure it out later. The "Now, where were we?" is supposed to be a slight shift in the tone of the story (his voice deepened and he sounded seductive), although maybe it would work better if I put a transition in. Maybe...

'He laughed. "She does that," he said. He shifted positions slightly. "Now, where were we?" he asked, his voice deepening ever so slightly. He sounded downright seductive.' Or something like that.

The guy is supposed to be painfully arrogant, sexist, etc. He's supposed to be a typical male romance lead, only he isn't the guy she ends up with. (She'll fool around with him some, but eventually end up with a guy who is, well, normal.) I don't want my MC to be broken by any means - not in this story at any rate, haha. She's just... normal, I hope. Maybe a little idealistic. Her main problem is that she over-thinks everything. (like, um, me. D: )

Thank you for reading/giving me ideas! :D

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