Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday Thoughts with Kiernan Kelly

Dreaming Up a Plot

It’s my opinion that stories - at least until they’re written down and completed -- are like dreams. They’re ethereal will-o-the-wisps, fluttery, fragile things that exist only in the mind of the writer. Again like dreams, they morph and change, sometimes without warning and often to the author’s surprise. These changes, mind you, aren’t always welcome, either. Like dark specters in nightmares, they can be frightening, and have been known to cause authors to run crazily around their office, shrieking and wildly flailing their arms.

What? Is it just me who does that? Um, okay. Moving on, then.

The birth of a story, at least in my experience, rarely takes the path I initially envision. In fact, it often ends up vastly different than I intended, sometimes with little resemblance to the original idea. 

My process, such as it is, usually works like this:

I wake up in the morning after a rather steamy dream with what I believe will be a most brilliant idea for a story. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, the story is about a firefighter with a really big hose.

Yeah, I went there. So sue me.

In my fledgling story, the firefighter works in a two-story firehouse (think Ghostbusters Headquarters). Just before his shift ends, the fire alarm sounds.  Rather than take the stairs, he opts to slide down the firehouse pole to the first floor where the truck bay is located. It’s against company policy because sliding down the pole is dangerous, but he really, really likes the pole. A lot. He likes the feel of the pole in his hands, the solid girth of it. In fact, in his off time, he likes to polish the pole, and especially likes to ride it.

I write m/m romance, so there tends to be a lot of pole-polishing-and-riding in my stories.

 Anyway, he slides down the pole and reaches the first floor just as the truck is ready to pull out of the station. He jumps up on the back of the truck just as it starts moving.

But wait! Something is wrong. As I’m typing, I suddenly realize my firefighter didn’t make it to the truck in time. Instead, he’s lying in a broken heap at the bottom of the pole, moaning in pain. He’s fallen and broken a leg.

Don’t look at me like that. It’s his own damn fault - it’s against company policy to slide down the pole because something just like this might’ve happened, remember? The captain is going to have kittens when he finds out, for sure.

Luckily for our klutzy hero, the paramedics on duty haven’t left the firehouse yet. Rocco, the hot new paramedic, the beefy one who works nights as an exotic dancer, rushes to Gary (I’ve decided the firefighter’s name is “Gary,” but like everything else in the story up to this point, it’s subject to change).

Gary is moaning and pointing to his leg, which he’s snapped in two like a dried-out wishbone.
Hold up. No, it isn’t broken. Compound fractures are not only gross in real life, they require things like surgery, and pins, and casts, and tend to make for clumsy, painful sex scenes. I change it to a really bad sprain.

Actually, maybe it’s just a bad bruise. Gary is a bit of a whiner.

In fact, Gary isn’t really a firefighter at all. No, he works for the town’s Department of Public Works but always wanted to be a firefighter, which was why he was hanging out at the station during his lunch break. When the alarm went off, he waited until the firefighters were all on the truck, and then slid down the pole.

Because, evidently, our Elliott (Gary’s name is now Elliott, by the way) is slightly batshit crazy.
No, not batshit crazy. He’s eccentric, that’s it! And rich, because wealthy eccentrics are as adorable as fluffy kittens.

Elliott is an eccentric billionaire who bought an old firehouse because he’s always held a fascination with firefighting, and slid down the pole because, really, what else would an eccentric billionaire do if he owned an old, two-story firehouse with a pole in it?

Rocco isn’t a paramedic, by the way. His name isn’t even “Rocco” anymore. It’s Geoffrey, and he’s Elliott’s valet. Geoffrey is secretly in love with Elliott, which is why he stays even though Elliott is eccentric and always doing stupid stuff like sliding down firehouse poles.  That, and because his employment benefits are really stellar, and the job market for valets for billionaires is practically nonexistent these days.

And that’s my process, in a nutshell. The story I end up writing is vastly different from the one I originally had when I woke up. It’s like the voices in my head are constantly carrying on a psychotic game of telephone.

Kiernan’s newest book is The Curious Case of Winter King, which releases on January 25th, 2016 from Dreamspinner Press.

The Curious Case of Winter King

It’s 1968, and Winter King is a young man with an exceptional paranormal talent for healing. Michael Westfield is a scientist charged by the government with capturing and bringing Winter in for examination. When Michael realizes the military wants Winter only to weaponize his power regardless of the consequences, his priorities shift.

And when they discover Winter isn’t the government’s only target, Michael and Winter band together to free the others and find somewhere they can hide from a government bent on hunting them down. Their plan takes them across the country from the Haight in San Francisco to Fancy Gap, a small town in Virginia where others with talents similar to Winter’s are being held against their will.

Along the way, they touch the lives of ordinary people with King’s extraordinary power and find an unexpected love growing between them that makes the success of their journey even more vital. Because if they fail, their love is not the only thing in jeopardy.

Kiernan Kelly lives in Florida among the alligators and palmetto bugs with her husband and a Shar Pei-Labrador puppy who thinks she’s a person (the dog, not Kiernan. Kiernan knows she’s a person. At least, she is after she’s had her daily dose of caffeine). Kiernan spends most of her time writing gay erotic romance while chained to a computer in the dark recesses of her office, which her children have dubbed, “The Gay Cave.”

1 comment:

  1. Lol. Oh my god. Wonderful. What a scream. I enjoyed your post immensely. :-) lol. Yes the writing process is all that. You described it so well. I was laughing out loud. :-)

    I also liked the sound of your story. Interesting ideals. Thanks so much. Excellent.

    Aloha Meg Amor :-).