Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Finishing the manuscript

This must be my twelfth novel or so (I stopped counting after ten and not all of them are in print yet), but I still get a chill when I write the magic words "THE END." This week I finished my current manuscript, temporarily titled CAPTIVE. It doesn't mean that my job with this book is done, far from it. What I have now is a relatively polished story which went through my critique group chapter by chapter and was rewritten at least five or six times. But it will take me another month to polish it to the point where I am comfortable showing it to a publisher or an agent. A novel is never really finished. These are Zania and Svend, the heroes of this story. Arent't they gorgeous?

I had given myself a deadline, to complete the novel before the year was over, and I made it. I usually do. Self discipline is an important factor in a professional writer's life. The deadline is part of the motivation to write, and when I do not have a contracted work to deliver on a specific date, I still give myself limited time. I try to write a chapter a week, and that equals two novels a year. This forces me to make my writing a priority, to focus on my story and my characters. I work better on a deadline.

But I'm always a little sad when I leave my characters, and I tend to linger at the end, just to spend more time with them. This particular story involves characters from different parallel universes, collected by an alien race for pure profit. What if you woke up thirteen hundred years from now, in a parallel universe that treated you as a slave?

Wounded in an attack on her military convoy in the desert of her native Earth, Zania awakes in a sterile, non-violent world, where mating is prohibited and violence and passions have been bred out of the population. A clandestine fringe, however, pays royally to watch forbidden entertainment. A captive from an era where humans still mated, Zania is expected to perform for them. As a soldier, however, she will never submit. When, in the arena, she faces Svend, Viking warrior and sex champion, her first instinct is to fight. No matter how handsome or kind, she hates a man who doesn’t value his freedom. Svend understands her reaction. He also knows that unless they give a good show, imminent death awaits them both. And on this seemingly peaceful Earth, deep trouble is brewing, and no one is safe...

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