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  • R Lee Moore

It hasn't been easy writing lately, which is a shame. It's been a combination of things. The incessant heat draining whatever energy I might have has by far been the largest problem I've had to overcome. And it hasn't been easy. When you're tired and worn down all the time, it's very difficult to find any motivation at all to sit in front of a computer and actually get anything done.

Which is a shame because it's not like I haven't had this newest novel on my mind the whole time. I have, it's been its usual constant gnawing at the back of my mind this whole time. I've gone through scenes in my head, plotted out conversations and interactions between characters, but unfortunately that hasn't really translated into getting much if anything done.

Hopefully though, with the heat gradually slowing down and everything else in my life dulling down to a slow roar, I might be able to get back to some sense of normality when it comes to my writing.

The good thing is, I've actually managed to get quite a bit done the last few days. Got a small bit of writing done on Friday night, and a great big chunk done tonight (so far), so the whole thing is trending upward now. Which is a good thing.

I did have to go back and re-familiarize myself with all the trouble Heaven has been getting herself into and figure out what I was doing. That's the hard part about taking any sort of break at all. Is getting back and figuring out what's already been done, figuring out what the plan was, and then realizing how much the plan and plot has changed just because of that break.

Like I said, I haven't exactly put the whole thing out of my mind this whole time while I've focused on other things, but I haven't exactly gotten anything down on paper either. In my head, and in the notes I've jotted down here and there I've actually worked quite a bit on the story and the characters. So things necessarily have to be altered from what I've already written just a bit. It just hasn't translated into getting put down into words on paper which, sadly is how novels are actually written. You can have a whole novel written up in your head, but until its on paper it doesn't mean anything.

On the bright side, it has allowed me time to think about the characters themselves, how I see them, and where I want them to go. Heaven especially. She's a hard one though, because her growth has to be both logical and earned. She's been through a lot in her life and can't just get over all of that and turn into this shapeshifting badass without her having gone through all the work to get there. Well, you can, but it would come off wrong and it wouldn't make any sense whatsoever.

Her personality and the relationships she's in also have to dictate how things progress. I can push her a little with Flavius, give her good examples to look up to with Sasha and Kendra. I can show her bad sides with say Kore and Tara, especially Tara, but ultimately she has to be the one who has to take the steps. And taking those steps in a realistic way so they're natural is the hard part.

She's generally a bit skittish, but she does have a little bit of a temper to her and she'll throw herself unthinkingly into a fight if someone she cares about is in danger. Problem with that is, I can't keep relying on that to move her forward. Can't keep having her fling herself at people because she's trying to save other people, because she's not going to actually learn from that. All that is just instinct. I want her to actually figure things out on her own and grow from what she's learned. That's the hard part.

Thankfully, I've managed to roll a lot of scenarios around in my head, that is hopefully going to get her moving in the right direction. I don't think she'll ever be in the same category as say Sasha or JD is with their confidence and their strength. But she can get to a place where she's comfortable and finds her own place in things. Where she can do things on her won without relying on others for her safety and protection. Though, it is a dangerous world so that sorta thing is always gonna be there in some capacity or another. Thats just the nature of how the supernatural world works.

Besides, she doesn't have to be the strongest most fearless person out there to be a good character and to be who she needs to be. Having people stronger than her around doesn't make her weak, and running off on her own doesn't make her strong.

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  • R Lee Moore

So, in my writing, the Point of Divergence was at the very beginning of Sherman's March to Atlanta. That still turned out the same, maybe even a little faster due to the events that happened. In my world, Vampires, and shapeshifters, maybe even magic has always existed. It was kind of hidden, but it was there. it was real. For America, that was an old world problem. Something for Europe and the rest of the world to deal with. that particular plague hadn't spread to North America. Or so they thought.

Burning down the wrong plantation in northern Georgia dissuaded them of that notion rather quickly. It ended up with vampires and the like having a quasi independent legal status in a series of Preserve's throughout the country. So now, you have vampires living out in the open in the United States. How is that going to change how internal American history progresses. Does the westward expansion get slowed because suddenly the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers turn out to be more than just a really cool and intimidating name?

Certain events will still have to happen. If for no other reason than to give a sense of the familiar to anyone reading the stories. And some things have enough momentum behind them that even the presence of werewolves isn't going to stop them from happening. They may just be changed a little. Native Americans may still end up on reservations, but if they had shapeshifters in their population it may have taken a lot longer, and in a lot of cases ended up with a stronger bargaining position. In my world, they're still there, they're just a lot more independent and stronger than they historically were. A treaty is less likely to be violated when one side has people who can turn into giant wolves or bears, etc.

I like starting off relatively small. I focus on the United States and how the country reacted to supernaturals first. The creation of the Department of Supernatural Affairs (with a little blending them with Pinkerton Detective Agency style work after the Civil War). Various anti supernatural laws where certain places a shapeshifter is gonna be shot on sight no questions asked. Innocent or not. And it's not just how the government is going to react, its how the people are going to react. Some people won't really mind a new group of people in society, but history tells us that's not going to be the general opinion. Suddenly segregation and all that went along with it get's added to an entirely new group of people.

Some people, especially in modern times, are going to build an overly romanticized mythos around these creatures. Whether that image is true or not gives good writing opportunities. But look at it this way, look at how popular media portrays vampires in the real world. There's always this element of sex and seduction mixed in with the horror and the violence. In my mind, vampires are going to play off that. It makes their lives easier if the general public views them as quasi celebrities and sex symbols. Hell, the Preserves are tourist attractions. Come on in, see and experience the creatures of the night up close and personal. Just be sure not to look to hard at everything else that goes on. Sex sells, and vampires are fully willing to take advantage of that. If your food comes to you, willingly, you don't have to sneak around the shadows anymore. Well, unless you want to.

Though they're going to make damn sure their adoring fans don't know what really goes on. Bad for business.

So in the United States, the vampires and shapeshifters, constrained as they might be, are going to flourish and thrive.There is likely going to be a hell of a lot more of them in one North American city than there is in all of Europe where they don't have the advantage of being out in the open and not having a stake driven through them at first sight.

A larger population makes them more powerful, and more dangerous.

Will write more on this later, but for now, its a good start.

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  • R Lee Moore

I'm finding that I really like Scrivener. I usually do all my writing in OpenOffice, and it's worked pretty well for me so far. What i'm finding though, is that Scrivener is making everything so much easier for me to deal with. I can plot everything out, and concentrate on a single scene within a chapter without having to worry about everything else around it. It really saves a lot of time.

Which, is really helpful considering I just did a pretty big rewrite of everything already. Amazingly, in spite of the weeks it took me to write the first 9 chapters in the first place, the rewrite only took a couple of days. Part of that is because I already knew what I wanted, and part of it was how much easier everything was with the new program. And I can label everything so I know exactly where which character does what. Real time saver.

So now I've just finished chapter 10. For the first draft anyways. It'll probably be changed and revised down the road quite a few times, but for now its good to go. I got Heaven where she needed to be to talk to who she needed to talk to and now things can move forward at a quicker pace.

She's still grumpy about what I did to her in previous chapters, but she'll get over it. Besides, its a good learning experience for her and she's actually growing as a character and that's important. There are a lot of things going on in her life and she's just going to have to learn to deal with it all while I throw things are her at the same time.

Not sure what I'm going to do with Kore in this story though. So far she hasn't made an appearance, which is fine for now. I've actually got plans for her for the future, just not sure if she is going to take part in what's going on now or not. Besides, she's still sulking. it gives Heaven some good moments to think about with her being absent, but don't want to really drag that out with how important she is to Heaven.

Plus, I did get the chance to remind the girl, that while Seraph may be a sarcastic, self-indulgent debauched lecher, he's still a vampire. And a pretty powerful one at that. He may not seem like it most times, but he's a pretty dangerous guy when he bothers to be.

Granted it wasn't Heaven's fault really that he got that way, but she was there and did sort of peripherally cause it. Good wake up call for her to keep her from getting to comfortable. She knows what vampires can do. Flavius may not be like that, but he does have his own moments. Other vampires don't have the same moral convictions he has.

All in all, it's going good so far. Just gotta keep at it.

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