Vampire Novelist Denise K. Rago

I needed to make my ending more dramatic and resolve alot of loose ends. Books really do sell on their endings so I needed mine to be more believable. I killed off a character whom I loved. It broke my heart but I did it. I feel like I betrayed one of the main characters by ending the life of one of his closest friends. I am in the midst of rewrites so perhaps I will decide against it and come up with another ending but as it stands right now, he is dead as a doornail.

I have not posted in some time spending much of my free time finishing my novel and working on rewrited before it goes to my editor. A bit intimidating but necessary to make my novel the best it can be.

Tall and lithe with flowing blonde hair to his waist, Christian is a loner. He is pensive, smart, and secretive, with soulful, dark eyes. He is trying to redeem himself through love. His last attempt was in the 18th century. It is time. He once owned a studio in Paris, where he would paint portraits of the aristocracy. Presently, he lives in New York City. He is an art collector who wanders the halls of a world famous museum which is right outside his front door.

He lives with his one and only best friend, Michel Baptiste. A childhood friend from France. Their lives continually connect through women. Women they have both loved and shared between them. Christian is an interesting blend of arrogance and reticence, self-doubt and confidence, lonliness and a love of humanity, despite being immortal. He keeps his deepest emotions to himself though they are never far from the surface.

His favorite clothing to wear (though not necessarily together) are: white shirts with lace sleeves and collars, brown jeans, a long black coat and cowboy boots. He parts his long blonde hair on the side, leaving half of his face in shadows. He is mysterious and passionate, loving books, art and Central Park at night. He hunts very little, and loves even less, until a young mortal woman crosses his path…

I have just finished Immortal Obsession – actually I finished it about a week ago and now I am asking myself is it really finished, how do I know it is done? A wise friend replied “you will know.” Shit, do I know or do I just think I know?

I have to edit the epilogue and then plan on letting it sit for a few days while I mull it over, trying to figure out if it needs more. Then I will reread it. We have no objectivity with our own work so as much as I try to look at it from a distance, it is impossible.

Two writing buddies have the first three chapters to read and edit. I want the first three chapters to really grab the reader, though I suppose they must grab a publisher or an agent first! In some strange way I feel that now the hard part begins, selling it

I believe I am at the home stretch with my novel. I am not limiting myself to a specific number of chapters or pages. I am trying to write the story I believe I was meant to tell. Then I will put my novel down for a few days and let it “stew” in my heart and soul. Once I feel enough time has passed I go back and reread it to determine if it is indeed “finished”. It has been almost two years since I began Immortal Obsession. I guess my only question is: is this the novel I envisioned when I began writing? Based on how I answer this basic question determines the outcome.

I write in layers. In other words, I start with a few chapters and a chapter outline. Then, I begin to add more chapters to move the plot along and thus my outline changes. I call it “flushing out” scenes because I write a thumbnail sketch of the scene and then go back to bring it to life. I hear dialogue in my head as my characters converse with each other. I hear the tone of their voices, see their faces, what they are wearing, and I try to capture this all on a piece of white paper with black ink, bringing the world of my vampires and to life. Sometimes they surprise me with their motives and their evolution.

I have know the ending of my book for some time now. I have in mind a trilogy of books and I know the conflict and the challenges Christian is faced with as Book One ends. I also trail my characters. I will read my novel and focus on one character, what are they doing, where are they, what are they saying and feeling throughout the entire novel. Then I trail another just to make sure their lives make sense and they are consistent within the inconsistencies of their lives. Where do conversations end between them? What is really being said – what has been left unsaid? Did I capture their essence? If not, then I need to go back and write more or rewrite a scene until I get it right.

It is thrilling, writing a novel, fraught with edits, rewrites, and changes in direction, as characters explode on the page, coming to life, dictating their own fates. It is a magical process , writing their story. I believe I am just the conduit to get them out there to you.

It is an important task and I cannot let them down.

I am at that point in my novel where I am asking my characters, ok now what is it that you want? All conflicts have been laid out, I hope I have kept the reader riveted, and I now have to resolve all of these conflicts and ready the reader for the end. This disturbs me a little bit because life isn’t really like that. If you look at your life up until now as a novel – title it whatever you wish, give yourself a chapter, say for each year of your life, and you follow writing guideslines, such as the first four chapters lay out the premise, introduce all the relevant characters, describe their problems, etc. Then you reach the middle and all conflicts are laid out – now wait a minute I am sorry but that is not like life.

New conflicts with lovers, family and friends can erupt at any time because hopefully we change and grow and if we do not stay the same, the people around appear differently to us and hopefully they can change with us. All characters just like all people do not necessarily evolve. It is a fact of life. And, who says everything gets resolved in the end. Is life like that? Did you get the chance to say goodbye to someone who dies suddenly, or what about someone who died a slow death? Were you able to tell them everything you needed to say, or better yet resolve the conflicts between you both? Sometime we just can’t work things out with another person so we resolve them within ourselves. As writers we must write an ending that makes sense – yeah, I understand that but how much of our lives do not make sense? Have you ever lost some to a death so senseless that 30 years later you still don’t understand the why of it? I have and if you are honest with yourself, things have happened that are forever disturbing, baffling and sad.

Sometimes there is no resolution, only acceptance.

Anyway, no matter what formulas we follow our novels can’t be like real life – it just doesn’t work out so neat and tidy. Maybe that is why I am struggling to write something vital and realistic yet not too formulaic. Ah, the life of a writer.

Characters, just like real human beings, do not always make the best decisions. They say and do stupid things, rationalize their behavior and fall in love with the wrong people. I am at a point in my novel where Amanda, my antagonist, realizes she is in love with two men who are physically and emotionally very different. She needs and wants both of them, but for very different reasons. Is this good for her? What will it do to the friendship of the two men involved? Emotions are a powerful thing and no matter how much we try to suppress them, they rule us. I have tried to spare her this pain but this is what she wants and I cannot deny her this for it is her journey.

I love to write and I would do anything to just be able to write all day but reality creeps in and I find that work, family and friends takes up alot of my time. Then when I do sit down at the computer I try to put in a few hours of quality writing time. When I took ballet class and performed in recitals the formula was something crazy like 1 hour of rehearsal time for each minute of a dance piece. It could have been more hours but my point is that writing takes time and as we get older time just seems to slip by faster and faster.

I usually rough draft something out – say a chapter, then I tweak it and eventually I edit it again. I am finally tweaking Part Three of my Four Part Novel Immortal Obsession, but it takes time. I try to balance all the parts of my life. I try to cheat time and not give up too much to write but who am I kidding? No one can cheat time – maybe vampires can but not us mortals who give their blood, sweat and tears to create something of lasting value, something that may get printed and may get read.

It is a lot to hope for but I am driven to create so every time I sit at my computer I give more blood, drip more sweat and spill more tears all for the sake of a dream.

My on-line writing course ends this week. Where did the last eight weeks go? I have enjoyed it thoroughly, improving my own writing, while critiquing my classmates work as well. It has been very time consuming yet I have made cyberspace friends, I feel my writing has improved and I have a clear direction for my novel.

I will miss our weekly schedule of submissions to read, plus the thrill of tossing out questions for to group, never knowing what type of response I would receive back from them. It is not for the faint hearted. They were tough but I know it helped me grow and isn’t that what it is all about – finding the right words to tell your story, to bring your characters to life?

Damn right it is! Thanks guys!

I have been taking an on-line writing course for 5 weeks now and I must confess – I love it. I wish it would never end. I have gotten so much feedback on Immortal Obsession, most of it good I must admit. I still don’t have an adequate ending. I hate happy endings. Life just doesn’t always work out that way you know? At best we endure and if we are really lucky we find love, a sense of inner peace and happiness in one form or another. I love writing more than most anything else and perhaps one day I will be able to devote my day to this creative process.

The class liked Christian and Michel, my two immortals. I like them too. Perhaps one day you will meet them!

Set in present day New York City against the backdrop of Central Park and the West Village this is a story of two vampires and two mortals whose lives become intertwined. The wake of events changes their lives forever.