Traveling Through An Americana Fairytale

AF_CoverNow that I’ve got my “Americana Fairytale” first beta notes back from Cate Ashwood the revision can begin in earnest. Currently, I’m aiming for a November submission time, but we’ll see about that. What have I learned from Cate’s notes?

I should never ever try to write a novel in a month

I’ve been a fan of NaNoWriMo for years. I’ve participated over ten years, and won eight. And what have I done with those stories? Put them on my freaking shelf. The only story I tried to do anything with was “Chasing Sunrise” but it pretty much-needed huge rewrites before it was halfway any good.

I’ve joked with everyone over the years that my first drafts are disasters. And they are. Wanna know why? I wrote them too fast. The only thing I could successfully write at ludicrous superhuman speed was the Checkmate series because of a number of reasons. As for novels? No. Nothing doing.

I’ve learned in the past, for me, novels take about three months from Point A to Point B. And I need to stick to that. I spit out “Americana Fairytale” in a month for Camp NaNoWriMo 2011. This was before I knew who I really was as a writer. This thing is so flawed it will make your head spin. A couple of people read the first draft, and like the typical friends, merely patted me on the head and sent me on my way. I cannot express how bad of an idea that is.

A foray into something foreign

“Americana Fairytale” was also my first adventure into writing something along the lines of Young Adult. Hence why I chose the pseudonym of JP Weston over Lex Chase. It’s symbolic of my Dad, James, and my Grandma, Peggy, and Weston is a play on one of my internet handles Westbaylen.

“Americana Fairytale” is high on the light and fluffy, only my characters are in their 20s, and not terribly young adults but new adults. While there is absolutely zero sex in this book, none off camera, and none implied, it’s still one of my romantic adventures. (PS: NOT A SPOILER) But the story is otherwise quite innocent. But I will be the first to admit there is quite a bit of foul language which likely completely knocks it out of YA totally.

It does get better

Now, if you recall, I wrote “Pawn Takes Rook” in December of 2011. I wrote “Americana Fairytale” in June of 2011. From June to December I was revising “Chasing Sunrise.” What does this teach us? Simple.

If we keep going we’ll improve. “Pawn Takes Rook” is worlds away from “Americana Fairytale” in writing skill level. And in that short window of time, I had made it there. Of course at the time, I had no idea if “Pawn Takes Rook” was even worth it. Because…

Sometimes you just need to believe

It wasn’t until I finally got my foot in the door with Dreamspinner Press did my confidence as a writer blossom. Sure, I’ve made some choices that some people have found questionable, and these are people I greatly value… But, you know, sometimes the baby bird has to leave the nest. I needed to believe I could do it. I needed to have faith in myself that yes I am good enough. And I can do anything I put my mind to. Where does that leave me with “Americana Fairytale?”

Even with the rough edges, beauty can blossom

“Americana Fairytale” has been determined it’s going to take vast rewrites and a couple of editing passes at least before it’s ready by November. But it’s going to be okay. I’m already 4k into the revision process, and I have a clear picture of what I want to do. The interesting part is the adjustments to Taylor as well as his sister Tabitha. The story once had the names of Taylor, Tabitha, Charles, and Corentin. Two T-names and two C-names. That’s just how it worked out and it sounded good at the time. But I realize that would drive readers batshit.

Visualizing the Fairytale

Daniel Tighe as Taylor Hatfield

Taylor not only became a guy. But he became this guy. A lovely model named Daniel Tighe:

Taylor’s beloved baby sister also became a dude too. Tabitha’s new name is Matthias and instead of a delicate flower, Matthias is a rising star in the ROTC and destined for a prestigious military career. Taylor on the other hand, contrasts his baby brother as the fuck-up theater major gay son that can’t get anything right, has no ambition, had no direction, and is a laughing-stock. Matthias just wants the best for his older brother, even if Taylor can’t see it.

The other factor in this is Corentin. Who’s a whole lot of dreamy in that scruffy way. He’s kind of a shit, and attractive in that way that leaves you feeling dirty the next day. But I have two small issues. For the “Americana Fairytale” comic I did for my school’s magazine, I based him off Bobak Fedowsi, awesome mohawk and all.

Bobak Fedowsi as Corentin. Is he not dreamy?
Bobak Fedowsi as Corentin. Is he not dreamy?

But here’s the other problem, in the book I originally set out to base Corentin on the certain scruffy handy-man appeal of Henry Ian Cusick of ABC’s “Lost” who played the resident toys in the attic character Desmond Hume. He wasn’t my first pick but he was the closest to what I had in mind. Long scruffy hair, plays off the sweaty dirty look well, looks like he could be a reasonable redneck. The only problem is in all of his images from “Lost” he looks completely psychotic, or there came the season he was super metro and rocking out scarves, bitchin’ suits, and pimp shades. Anyway. It’s a long story. But when he was cleaned up for promo shots it still wasn’t quite right. See here:

Henry Ian Cusick as Corentin. He's pretty dreamy too, right?
Henry Ian Cusick as Corentin. He’s pretty dreamy too, right?

So, that is the drama of Corentin. Column A or Column B? Who do I choose? Is there a right answer? A wrong answer? Who would you choose for a dashing rogue to sweep off a boy princess’ feet?

I can see the unanimous answer from fans of Disney’s “Tangled” as FLYNN RIDER! LOL! ;D



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