Anita Blake, James Patterson and Dodge Ball

This has truly been an interesting week. We used to have a mice problem. Now we have a dead mice problem. The one thing that still rings true, the fact that we can’t find them. You should see people roaming through the hallways sniffing like hounds.

Yesterday I thought the rain was going to wash me away. It rained continuously for hours. The lawn in front of my apartment was flooded. I had to decide whether or not to wade the yard or the path…I chose the yard.

Today was the infamous dodge ball tournament. Don’t you love United Way Week? Jeans, Food, Fun…what more could you ask for. The games were hilarious. I find it most fun to sit on the sidelines and laugh at people. It’s a great way to get rid of pent up tension between co-workers.

Now that I am finished with the first draft of the novel I am taking some time to catch up on my reading. I need to get away from the novel…let it sit, so that I can come back with a fresh perspective and make revisions. I have probably 20-25 books on my shelves that I haven’t read…and I added one more to the list this morning! But most of them, with a few exceptions, are in the genre of what I write. Why? Because I like it. I write what I like to read and I read what I like to write.

Except that I want my writing to stand out…and I am realizing that my rough draft feels a little…what’s the right word…flaky for me. It’s too girlie, too soft. I want it to read more hard core, more thriller…more suspense. Imagine taking something like 24 and crossing it with Anita Blake. I think she is a good example because she based her writing off of Hard Boiled Detective Novels. It is much more present in her earlier work…but it still makes her books stand out from the other vampire novels. What is another way to describe it? I want my books to be less like Charmed and more like Dark Angel, Less like Buffy and more like the 4400. But those are sci-fi shows?! Yes. I know that. But it isn’t the sci-fi element that makes these shows different. It is the political and sociological backdrop. It is the government cover-ups and conspiracies, it is the multi-layered plot and does not rely upon a big bad mystical villain. Even LKH’s books do that. The villain is always some preternatural creature. In my books, there are many villains…sometimes/most of the time they are man made.

So in light of this…I have started reading an anthology of suspense and fiction short stories called Thriller. I have only read two stories, I really liked one and did not like the other…so I can’t yet tell you if the book is worth it or not. But it is edited by James Patterson…and he has these great little blurbs at the beginning of each story which talk about the author, their writing style and the premise of the story. Those are fun. I think I will also play around with one or two short stories. My three year plan says I should have two publishable short stories circulating by December. Gotta get cracking. It will be nice to have a break...even if it is a working one.