Anyway, meanwhile the Cassanova dwarves' plans are in doubt, I'm determined to spare my kind guest any trouble. She's entering the cave like a Rock Star, through the backstage door. (Yes, there IS a backstage door to the dragon cave. Mythic creatures cannot be too careful in modern times.) So ladies and gentlemen, here she comes -behind the smoke curtain- the one and only
The 13th Floor series stalled several times as I started to write it. The protagonist in the first book isn't a chatty guy. Marc would glower and grunt, but I couldn't get him to talk. I tried all the techniques of finding your character's voice, but none of them worked. I wrote out some history, a day in his normal life, and a few mundane conversations. Marc refused to play along.
What sort of writer was I that couldn't get my own character to speak? I doubted my ability to get a grasp on any story at all. Wallowing in self-pity wouldn't get me anywhere, but for several weeks, wallow I did. What if I couldn't write a male protagonist? What if I fell into a rut and I couldn't climb out? I almost gave up on the series.
Yet where the popular techniques of finding your character's voice didn't work for me, I discovered a different route. I went to the secondary characters, and through them, the story blossomed. My villain loves the sound of his own voice and believed the tale was all about him. Marc's lady friend, Mae, was much kinder. She helped me see what lurked beneath Marc's tough, silent exterior. With her help, Marc's voice became clear, and the story poured out of me.
Each novella in the series held its own challenge. The two biggest ones came with books four and five.
In 1304 – THE HARBINGER, I take the reader out of our world and to Olympus. While it's fun to write about a legendary place where the gods make their home, I still needed the story to link to the others. At first, I couldn't see a way to do it. I was going to ruin my series halfway through because the Greek Gods demanded a challenge. And really, you don't say no to someone who can wield a lightning bolt or turn you into a poodle.
The story itself appeared separate from the rest of the series. I agonized over how I would connect it. Bring a character or two from the other stories up to Olympus? No. That wouldn't make sense. Did I want to bring a fight with the gods down to Earth? No, that wouldn't bode well for anyone. Besides, there was enough going on already in the city of Carmine.
Hm, oh! What if the gods already knew that? What if my protagonist's presence on the 13th floor was planned long before the events of the series took place? A connection! Instead of trying to move characters or places around, I found an answer that was there all along. (And no, I can't tell you. You'll have to read the series to find out what it is!)
With the fifth book, I wrote a hollow first draft. I couldn't get a grip on why it didn't feel right. Harriet is my favorite character in the series. I heard her voice clearly, and I knew her story. Yet why did it feel wrong? Was the series going to fail before I even made it to the end? What a pathetic writer I was to not even be able to write about a character I adored.
This time, it was my critique partner that shone the light on the problem. It wasn't only Harriet's story. It was Harriet's and Kiral's tale. It wouldn't be complete without his point of view. She was right. I rewrote the novella from two points of view, and it came together. I hope you're lucky to have critique partners as wise as mine.
I'm certain that I'll struggle and wrestle with my doubts with every story I write. Yet with each trial, I will prevail, because I'm determined to be a writer. There will always be a way to overcome problems even if you can't see them yourself. Be patient, flexible, and listen to your peers. Always persevere.
Title: The 13th Floor Complete Collection
Author: Christine Rains
Genre: paranormal romance
Release date: October 13th, 2013
Six supernatural tenants
Living in a haunted apartment building
On a floor that doesn't exist.
Six novellas telling their tales.
A retired demon acquires a price on his head.
A werewolf is hunted by her pack.
A modern day dragonslayer misses his target.
A harpy challenges Zeus for the soul of the man she loves.
A vampire is obsessed with a young woman he can't find.
A banshee falls in love with someone who's death she has seen in a vision.
And a sweet ghost must battle a primal monster to save them all.
All the stories take place at the same time intertwining their lives together on the 13th Floor.
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. When she's not writing or reading, she having adventures with her son or watching cheesy movies on Syfy Channel. She's a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. The 13th Floor series is her first self-published series. She has eight novellas and twenty-one short stories published.
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(What do you think, girls? Diamonds make Tassin, Sessin, Milin or Pancholin look more like Thorin?)