Vampire Novelist Denise K. Rago

  • by Denise K. Rago

Christian is the main character in my current novel. He is full of contradictions for a vampire; reticent, introspective, a recluse who prefers books to women, art to blood. How does he do it? I suppose he has tried to overcome his predatory nature as best as someone in his position can and though he will never be mortal again, he carries remnants of that existence inside of him. He lives for books and art surviving on as little blood as possible. It’s not a matter of denying his nature, it’s more like controlling it and after several hundred years he is quite good at it until a young woman comes along who gives him hope….

I have done it! I sent my novel to all my workshop classmates via e-mail. My work is now out there for them to read and to critique. Suppose they hate it? Suppose they love it? Anything but indifference, please! I am ready to have other eyes look into the world of my vampires. Will they find them as lovely and deadly as I do? How would they improve them? Will I be able to take their “constructive” comments and make changes to better the story? I will keep you posted as I go along here. It’s all new to me yet I am thrilled to have started this process. I hoped to become a part of an on-line writers group for about a year now so perhaps some writing mates will come out of this class. I know I will grow as a writer and isn’t that what all writers want – to create a better story?

I’ll let you know.

I am about to embark on a quest that is every writers dream and their worst nightmare. I am taking an on-line writing class. I submit my novel and receive my classmates novels in return and get down to the business of reading, editing and commenting on anothers work. I am sure there are stringent guidelines. I would like to think that someone would be as honest yet as kind as they could when reading my novel. I try to extend the same courtesy to other writers as well. Having others read my novel is scarey to say the least. Only one person has read my work and I handed it to him hesitantly. What if he thinks I am a total nut or worse, what if he hates the story? I am exposing my psyche and my inner world. All artists put themselves at such risk when they bare their souls. Whether it is through dance, paint or the written word we toss ourselves out into the ring for all to see and sometimes it aint’ pretty. Perhaps e-mailing my novel to my classmates is less intimidating than handing them my work in person. There is still anonymity on the internet still I dread yet am thrilled about receiveing their feedback. I write about vampires, superhuman beings that are at the top of the food chain; beautiful yet deadly creatures, yet faced with submitting my work to my classmates – I’ll take facing the vampires anyday.

Anyone passing by I would love your feedback. Who do you allow to read your writing? How do you feel submitting it to strangers to critique? Do you ever get over the initial dread of exposing yourself to a stranger? Is it worse letting loved ones read your work as opposed to strangers? I would love to hear from you, even you vampires.

How many of you writers find yourselves so immersed in your characters that you can’t seperate youself from them? At times I find myself distracted to the point of not being able to think about much else. I am working out scenes between characters, listening to them laugh, talk, fight, resolve things. I once read something to the fact that a good character is one that has been lived in by the author. You take that character with you and try to imagine them in certain situations: buying groceries, standing in line at the bank, wandering around a museum, etc. This is how you bring them to life on the page. If that is the case my characters are jumping off the page! They live with me 24/7, much to the chagrin of my husband who finds himself asking me on more than one occasion “where did you just go?” How do I explain to him that I inhabit two worlds and I try to balance my time in each one. Is that creativity or schizophrenia? I am really not sure.

Ah the life of a writer.

A belated Merry Christmas to all. As we rapidly approach the New Year I am thinking about my New Year resolutions. The few that come to mind year after year are the always the same:

1. Continue to be a good person.
2. Exercise more.
3. Write more.
4. Grow.

This year I have added – get my website up and running so I can begin to post bits and pieces of my current novel.

Happy New Year!

For all you creatures of the night this is the day you have been waiting for- enjoy it. Personally I love more daylight and less night so summer soltice is my favorite day of the year.

Happy Winter to all!

Florida was gorgeous. 85 degrees and sunny. Nothing like writing on the beach between reapplying sunscreen and going for long walks to collect sea shells! I think I have the ending of my novel in sight. Already thinking of a sequal which may not be a smart thing to focus on right now since I have to finish this novel and then comes the fun part – editing. My female lead has become the lover of one vampire and caught the interest of his best friend, anther vampire of course. Kinky I know but hey, this is where this novel had taken me. Once I have it all written I ususally put my pieces down for anywhere from two weeks to a month and then I pick it up again. Somethings are glaring and only by rereading it after some time has gone by do I see errors in plot that I may have missed the first time. The big questions for me concerns what I am visualizing vs. what is on the page. Is it clear? Does the piece say what I want/need it to say? Are the characters three dimensional or are they flat? My main character has enough problems having not one but two vampires in love with her….such is the life of a story book character.

I am taking a few days “off” and heading to sunny Southern Florida. I love the heat and the sun and before winter truly sets in I need to wear shorts, watch palm trees sway and use suntan lotion once more. I am taking a few chapters of my current novel with me. It doesn’t have a title though I can see the cover image in my mind. I am wrestling with the ending and I am hoping that some sun and surf will inspire me to write a decent ending for my novel. I usually take a legal pad and write long hand – I don’t know what it is but there is something cathartic about the act of writing. Obviously I am using a computer now and I do most of my writing on a keyboard but when I sit myself down in a beach chair near the waves I want a pad and pencil. Seems odd to be writing a novel about vampires while basking in the sun but I get to combine three of my obsessions: the beach,writing and vampires. I thought about getting an alpha smart keyboard so I can write anywhere but I still prefer long hand. See you all next week.

It was just my husband and I for the holiday so we went to another family members house to celebrate. Usually we have a houseful of guests, 20-25 people but yesterday there were only 14 of us and it felt just right. Halloween through the New Year’s Eve is my favorite time of year. There is always one moment when it sinks into my thick head that the Christmas season is upon me. It has nothing to do with shopping or hearing Christmas music; it’ a moment when I feel the Christmas spirit. We have all had holidays that are better than others and it is moments I recall that stay with me, like opening a closet in my parents house as a child and finding Christmas presents, or wondering why my oldest brother who was home between semesters from law school did not share my zeal to wait at the Christmas tree at 5am with my two younger brothers to open our presents. He sent us back to bed; or the first year I experienced Christmas after my father had passed away only two months earlier or spending the holidays broken hearted over a lover affair that was not meant to be, or the year my grandmother died at 1am on December 26th.

There are moments we all carry with us from year to year – this is our own personal history and for better or worse these memories stay with us. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year. I hope you all did as well.

I haven’t been writing as much as I would like to these days with Thanksgiving coming up this week, family commitments, etc. It’s a tough balancing act. I had written out my novel using plot points for each chapter and I have been living with these characters for over a year now but as I hit the home stretch I am not satisfied with what I have written in terms of the last few chapters. I decided to put it down for a while as I mull over how I want my novel to end. I don’t want to kill anyone off (well one or two characters maybe) and I am not sure if my two leads finish this novel as lovers, friends, enemies or what? Writing gives you only so much power over the lives of your characters and then they start fighting back. Once I get my website up and running I will be posting snippits of my current novel and other short stories I have written. I find my two main characters doing a push me pull you, come close go away type thing as I struggle to come to terms with their relationship. Maybe it’s up for grabs and my novel should just end after a crazy few days in the life of one mortal woman and the vampires she had become intwined with. I hope once I post pieces of my novel I will get comments, suggestions, etc because I think it is helpful in the early stages of novel writing to have people you trust critique your work. Anyway, I shall do my best to pick up and see where my characters take me.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.