J. J. Brown, Wordslinger

"I Sling Words As I Go Along."



So, I’ve been working on my Novel in Progress…..

…….and I noticed an interesting connection it had with my saucy speakeasy story.  No, neither story features characters that show up in both tales, nor does the action take place in the same time frame or location.

However, that being said, this is what I’ve noticed.  It’s not the first time I’ve noticed at least one connection, but the others surprised me.

The Novel in Progress is a contemporary tale, with flashbacks to the 1920s via letters and experiences related by other characters.  The Narrator 1, due to circumstances dictated by the story, is a virgin.  I didn’t even realize that until I’d been writing the novel for a about a year and a half – it just never crossed my mind.  She is estranged from her parents and has no other family to speak of, as far as she knows.

And then, I wrote a few of scenes where she interacts with two very different men at different points in the story.  One expresses obvious interest in her, flirts with her, gives her his contact information (which she promptly gives away to another woman, despite her own cautious interest).

The second man is made a prisoner by the same people looking for the Narrator 1, which unites them in their own survival and freedom. There is a moment where both of them become aware of the other, but she blurts out “I’m not ready” and they both back away from it.

Interestingly, “I’m not ready” is the same thing said by the female Narrator 2 in my speakeasy story.  Only, the dynamics are little different, as this work in progress is following the erotica beats.  Where Novel in Progress is set in the Present, with only occasional flashbacks to the past, including the 1920s, the Saucy Speakeasy Story is fixed very firmly in that decade, from flappers to jazz music to bootleg whiskey.

Narrator 2 is about the same age (nearing 30) as the Narrator 1, but her life circumstances are in direct contrast.  She has three younger siblings, of whom she assumed care of when their parents died.  She had a fiancee who died in World War I and has had some sexual experiences that Narrator 1 did not.  She is not afraid of her own feelings or her desires and the man she meets in this saucy tale revels in her own autonomy.

I’ve been working on both stories for the last couple of years.  I ought to have noticed these similarities sooner, but I guess it’s one of those things that you only notice when you’re ready to see it.  The fact that the two Narrators are also so different and so tied to their time and place, I guess it’s not that hard to miss.

I’m amused that I’m writing about two very different women who are separated by almost one hundred years, five hundred miles and life experiences.

What are their similarities?  They are moving from one established role to another, one by chance, the other by choice.  They refuse to compromise themselves to achieve whatever goal they accept.  They’re smart and articulate and the men in their lives respect them.


So, I’m working on my Current Novel in Progress…..

……and overall, it’s a fun story to write. There’s ghosts, a woman who can talk to them and she works in cemeteries and there’s a mystery to solve and, of course, vampires. Not the sexy, tortured hero kind of vampire – I don’t find the Undead particularly sexy or heroic. As far as I’m concerned, they’re animated corpses, just one step above being a zombie while retaining most of their former personalities. The vampires in my story are not nice, not heroic and certainly not sexy. They’re cold, predatory and, in some cases, insane. Major life to Undead changes can do that to a person.

The Narrator/Main Character of the story is fully aware of that danger – she wears a silver crucifix that was instrumental in her first encounter with a vampire. Her favorite type of stake is one made from ash. She sees their predatory nature and has little faith in the truthfulness of their words until her own research or outside evidence corroborates them. Vampires are of the past, living beyond their historical time period. Interestingly, they are also leading her to uncover the secrets of her own personal history.

So, while I’m not a fan of vampires as the sexy, tortured hero, they do have a place in the telling of a story. They are, like ghosts, a metaphor – unseen, unheard voices (ghosts) and the walking, talking voices of the past (vampires) – and that’s just one interpretation on those two types of supernatural characters. There are as many different points of view on this as there are writers, and that’s pretty exciting. I’m well aware that there are readers and writers who love vampires as the hero and that’s all good – I’m just not one of them*.


*(There are, however, some vampire characters that I do like, because of their complexity and interesting development – Angel, Spike, Dracula, Drusilla. Please note that Joss Whedon created three of them.)


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