With his trusty companions Shoulda, Coulda, and Woulda….

I should have kept that notebook. That damned notebook that is in one of two places;

1. A berth on board the USNS SATURN

2. One of the rooms on the ninth floor of the Twin Towers apartment complex outside of NAS BAHRAIN.

Dammit. Dammit. DAMMIT!

Why did you leave me!?

In that notebook was my retelling of the Red Riding Hood story. It was the product of being really, really, *really* pissed off at my boss. Well, technically, he wasn’t my boss. He was a ride-along because he was taking the place of the man who was the boss over the whole detachment. *My* boss was perfectly fine with me listening to an iPod on watch so long as I was calling in contacts and not falling asleep.

Long story short; I got my ass chewed for an hour because I wasn’t doing my job correctly. By the guy who wasn’t my boss.

The ending of my Red Riding Hood story saw everyone die. It was the stress relief I needed. And the best thing I’ve ever written.


Or, at least it is in my head. As I remember it. It’s probably crap, but as I remember it, every word went down exactly where it needed to go and the story was. freaking. perfect.

Halo and everything.

If you didn’t get it the first time..

And then I lost it. Or misplaced it. Or forgot to pack it. Either way, it’ gone. The story stayed with me, however. Thank the gods of writing. And has mutated again and again and again. It became Old Ipswich Road; same idea as my original story just more complicated. A Salem Witch Trials story with werewolves in it. Old Ipswich Road morphed twice over and then became Blood on the Quarter. Then it was added to. I felt that the story didn’t have enough ‘umph’ to it, so I took another short of mine, ‘Summer Rain’, and changed that. It quickly became the corner stone of Blood on the Quarter. Elisabeth Reddington is my little girl who can’t die. Melanie is my Red Riding Hood. Their stories co-mingled, the plot became stuffed full of other ideas (Prohibition, Steampunk, Dieselpunk, werewolves, zombies, etc.).

And I wound up with this.

The exact opposite of that one saying.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know what happened next. Blog entires. Roundtable Podcast. Story separated. Yaddy yaddy yadda. And still I’m sitting on Blood on the Quarter, thinking about it. Wondering what I could have done. What I should have done. What I can do with it now.

And that’s the question, isn’t it? What CAN I do with Blood on the Quarter? Well, I CAN do a lot of things. What I WANT to do is something else.

I WANT zombies. I really do. I also WANT werewolves because that’s how the story started. I WANT steampunk because it’s a fun genre to write in. So many possibilities, so many ways to mess with history.

And so many ways to mess yourself up if you’re not careful.

In my head Blood on the Quarter was part of a trilogy. Three books, one story. Of course each story would take place in a different time but they would be connected somehow.

Remember that post about my special kind of crazy? Welcome to it, folks.

Anyway, you’re probably sick of my rambling. Of the crazy that permeates this poor little blog. I’m surprised it doesn’t already have a giant, pixellated teddy bear with a red bow that it clings to when I’m not updating it.

I’ll make you feel better.

Good lord I’m whiny today. Is it just me or are you guys seeing this too? Don’t be afraid to tell me if you do. Yikes, I was in a mood when I started this.
So, the million dollar question is what to do with Blood on the Quarter, isn’t it? What is Riley going to pull out if her bahookey to make the two year problem take a hike and the writing begin?
There’s a saying about a butterfly and letting go. Or flapping its wings. Something.


Not that.

Anyway, I was poking around in my room yesterday, remembering that I had a copy of my old story tucked away somewhere, when another book caught my eye. Green, leather bound with one of those book mark thingies, it held scribblings of a story that I started but for some reason or another didn’t finish. Well, I now have both. Both are good. Not the original but good. Workable, even.
What’s a girl to do?
The problem is that I lost myself. Melanie is so much a part of me that her story is, in a way, my story. I’m the kind of girl that spent a long time finding herself, maybe I’m still finding myself, and Blood on the Quarter, Old Ipswich Road-whatever the hell you want to call it-has reflected that shift. Characters found themselves in and out, not really having a home. And I have had so many ideas that get meshed, this one particular story has never had the chance to fully be written.
I want to do so many things, ergo, Melanie wants to do so many things-becomes many different things.
The story needs to go back to its roots. Both stories need to go back to their roots.
Melanie and Lizzie need a home.
The beautiful thing about Steampunk is that it is left up to the author’s imagination to tweak and twist. Mould and shape. Historical figures not essential.
The beautiful thing about the Timepiece Tales; I’ve messed with history and created my own alternate little world.
So now I turn to you. Writers; have you ever found yourself so enmeshed with a character that you were unable to separate yourself whilst writing? Readers; have you identified so much with a character that (Twilight and 50 Shades notwithstanding) found yourself living their life for the span of a book? What did you do? How did you feel?

For myself, separating from Melanie is going to be hard. Not impossible, I think, but hard. And, November is going to be one hell of a month.

NaNoWriMo here I come!


5 thoughts on “With his trusty companions Shoulda, Coulda, and Woulda….

  1. Bubbe says:

    I can’t say I’ve related so closely with a character I’ve written that I found it hard to separate myself. My character Charlie has a sarcastic, sassy mouth. While I can and do get sarcastic in my writing I don’t often voice it outside of my safe circle so in that we’re different. In other ways I wish I were more like Charley – more confident.

    As a reader, I’ve found myself relating to various characters; usually women around my age, though at times I really enjoy a feisty senior citizen. When I’m truly enmeshed in a character I’m reading there’s a sense of disappointment when the story is over.

    Good luck with NaNoWriMo! Remember it’s supposed to be fun!

    1. rjkeith says:

      Thanks, Bubbe! This time, this writing go around, it WILL be fun. Even if I have to keep chanting it in my head. If you say it often enough, it becomes reality, right?

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