Hey everyone, I hope this post finds you well, and you’re having a good week. I just wanted to inform my readers that chapter 8 of Game of Power will be delayed until next week. It’s a little longer than the others. Chapter 8 will have 3 (planned) scenes and the previous ones had either one or two scenes. We’ll get to see Bella again, this time at police headquarters, we’ll meet her fellow detectives and find out about them a bit more. I showed some in chapter 2 during the search. We’re also gonna meet Bella’s family. If you have not read their limited biography, you can check it out here. Another scene is a little more secret. My readers will start to see Bella attempting to connect dots and seek information on her brother’s killer. Thanks all for reading and your support!
Okay, big words as I sit here typing this with a glass a cabernet at just ten after eleven on a Tuesday night protected in my self-made gilded cage. Part of me realizes that writing takes me out of that cage and open to exploring people and topics I am otherwise uncomfortable with when hiding out when I was too scared in the past to allow things that tested my conscience and my faith. As a writer, I know we want to be heard and connect with our audience, at least that’s what I’ve always been told. Yes, I think you should know your audience and appealing to them is certainly a part of the overall “guiding light” to be a great writer. I don’t think we should get so hung up on creating stories or characters we think the masses will flock to. As I began my new project Reign: A Game of Power I knew out the gate I was writing a story I felt an intense desire to tell. I created characters that I felt were realistic and complex like real humans. Not everyone in this world is likable, no one is perfect, and sometimes we do some really messed up things to ourselves and others, myself included. I felt like I had an obligation to be as real and raw as possible. Did I expect people to dislike some of my characters, yes I did, but I didn’t want to sugar coat anything. Do I expect to get backlash for some of my future storylines and subject matter? Yes, I do, and that’s okay because I’m doing a disservice not only to myself but my readers if the only material I put out contains characters and plots that are Disney-perfect. It underestimates the intelligence of the reader when you try to handle the serious subject matter with kid gloves.
I implore anyone who reads this not to get caught up in making characters that are always likable, above reproach and darn near perfect. Do the opposite of what’s expected. Maybe the star of your novel is a sex-crazed foul mouth bitch who sleeps with other women’s husbands, but she’s a really good detective trying to solve her brother’s murder (shameless plug see my character Bella’s bio here), Or maybe your protagonist is a major power player who will sacrifice his scruples to get what he wants. Sure, some of my characters are more likable than others, and some are entirely vile, I know this, and I’m the one writing it, but what I like about each one is that they’re all human with many layers. We’re hypocritical, we’re liars, we step on the little people to get ahead, we can be ruthlessly pragmatic, and sometimes we have sex people for some material gain; maybe we’re not on the street corner doing it, but the exchange can go down in many ways. However, even if some of us are all those things and some of my characters are all those things, the possibility of goodness is not automatically or eternally erased. I write this all to say if you’re not going to be honest in your writing, what’s the point in doing it? Don’t be afraid of harsh criticism or potential backlash. Be raw, be bold, but don’t be scared to put yourself out there because it makes you uncomfortable.
Okay, that’s it for this collection of rambling thoughts. I’m not quite done with my cab and I want to pull up Netflix and watch my favorite snobs Frasier and Niles. ‘Until we talk again.
I know it’s been months since I talked about my upcoming story for TS4, Reign: A Game of Power. I’ve suffered from an incredible case of writer’s block, although I already had a few chapters written. I think because I am such a perfectionist and I often fear that one small detail that may be incorrect, people will single it out, and that would be the one thing they would focus on. Maybe it’s because I see some small flaw either in my writing or pictures and I obsess over it until I can get it fixed, get it “right.” In truth, that one thing or maybe two or three aren’t such a big deal, and all the pressure and anxiety I have caused to myself has been self-inflicted.
I obsessed over my writing style, how I would explain things in a way that made sense to the readers, what would the characters’ end goals be? How would I get them there? It wasn’t easy for me to get inside the heads of my characters this time around. In the past, I knew who they were and what they wanted. This time around, it took more time for me to learn their personalities and once I did that, I faced another roadblock, how could I convey their feelings and motives? What is true for them versus what I wanted?
The common theme in Game of Power is just that: power. What do we do to get it? Do ideals get you the thiAll Postsngs you want or need? Or does one need to be a ruthless pragmatist to get the job done? You can’t get to the top in this climate by adhering entirely to ideals. Life has taught me that through a means to an end, sometimes have to do the opposite of what we want or what is ideal in order to get what we need. Class, affluent vs. poor, politics, big business, and sacrificing your scruples are all subjects and topics I plan on writing about in this new story. One of the things I think that hits closest to home for me is the topic of mental illness and how it takes over one’s life. I know all about how it feels as I have struggled with depression since I was eleven years old. I want to confront my hypocrisies within myself; how I’ve had to sacrifice my ideology at times to survive. I feel as if I need to write characters dealing with the same struggles as I believe it will be cathartic for me. To be completely honest and raw isn’t always easy.
One of the first storylines for Rico Thomas, probably the most pragmatic of my main characters is his pursuit of a hostile takeover. As Rico is a business consultant, he helps his clients through his mergers and acquisitions expertise among other many talents and services his firm provides. I’ve always been fascinated with stories of corporate power, boardroom politics, and the decisions that go into taking over a company or the reasons behind it. Is it only money? I would venture to say no, but I think power plays a big hand in that. The two are very connected in many ways. You can be rich but have no power, but money can buy influence and in turn power. Later on in the story, Rico will consult on a political campaign, and I think this will start to open up and expose the seedier reprehensible side to politics. Rico is politically neutral; his only interest is in helping his clients, even it means fighting against what some people see as “his own.” Rico, however, has no shame, he has no use for it, nor does he let his background and ethnicity control his decisions. I look forward to getting to this part of this story and introducing more of the main characters.
A lot of other things made me nervous as well; such as certain “controversial” topics we often don’t want to talk about or explore. It makes us uncomfortable makes us feel less sure of ourselves and the world around us. I have always been interested stories, movies, and books about power and political intrigue; especially in the American political system. As with most things in life, we can find a connection even when it seems to be even closely related. So much of what makes up the fabric of America is race, politics, class, and social systems. They all tie into one another. For me, talking about racial politics isn’t always so comfortable when exploring it with other people; more when I was younger. But as someone in their late 30s, I understand more about the world, how I see myself, how I look at my race in this society and what it all means. I do not have the same struggles as maybe a woman in her early twenties has; dealing with identity issues and their place in the world. I wanted to write about some of the current topics on some of the class and racial politics in the US, but it was never the main thing I wanted to talk about in this story. I didn’t just want to write from one lense either, but to explore what someone else from the other side may think or how they view things through their own eyes. Is it always black and white? Experience and life have taught me that no, it isn’t. There are no heroes and no real villains in this story. I feel like the characters all have their reasons for pursuing what they want and employing the means to get them. I can’t stand in judgment to them. Maybe that thing that makes one uncomfortable needs to exploration to understand it and deal with it head-on.
When it’s all said and done, I hope to make a story that I can be proud of and say fear didn’t stop me from looking at all sides or presenting different arguments in many situations where there is no clear right answer. Very few things in life are black and white for most people. I am ready to get back on this ride and make something that can resonate with my audience. Thanks for coming along with me.
I can attest to the above quote. When I was writing Reagan Leeds: Run The World for nearly two years, there were many periods I felt very alone, which is not anything I’m not used to anyway. I’ve always been a loner, and as an introvert, I enjoy my own company.
I can remember times of being up until the wee hours of the morning (like right now) working on Reagan’s story, either editing, taking pictures, or shooting out paragraphs. I could leave the surrounding world around me and enter into another one entirely within my mind. I felt my characters’ emotions, and I empathized with what they were going through. Some of my characters made me angry, even though I was the one writing the story. Even Reagan herself wasn’t always my favorite character, but if she were to be real, she had to be realistic and have layers to her personality as we all do in the real world.
I did push myself when I wrote for Reagan and the other characters, but I’d always felt I was a bit PC at times. But now with my new story, Reign in the works, I want to get out of my comfort zone and write the story that I feel is true to life and resonates with me. Many subjects I’m uncomfortable with exploring, but I feel as if I must.
I am not going to rush this new story, and it has been taking me longer than I thought to publish the first chapters, even though I have some that are already written. I want it to be right, but sometimes I trip myself up with thinking things must be perfect. That is one of the problems as face being so alone in my head as I create. I think I make up all these rules to hold myself accountable to, but they aren’t that important. I’m such a perfectionist, and I fear that may hinder me in the long-run.
I am going to task myself with a commitment to write at for at least an hour every other day in the coming weeks. I think it will get better once I have content out there for everyone to read.
All the best,