Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Writer's Wednesday -- Who Are Those Guys, Anyway?

Anne McAllister is putting together a new series.  There are lots of new people inhabiting her head, moving furniture -- and brain cells -- around, and otherwise making her crazy.

I wondered occasionally while I was writing my umpteenth version of Lukas Antonides' story, if he was going to be it.  The End.  The last gasp.  I didn't refer to him as "the last Antonides standing" for nothing.

It wasn't that I didn't have ideas for him. It's that he had ideas, too. And so did Holly, his heroine. And so did Grace (don't ask), as did his old mentor Skeet and Holly's friend and sister-in-law Althea.  So, in fact, did my editor. She said, "Cut Grace."  Well, I couldn't cut her entirely. But she has a much smaller part these days.

And eventually, as all good stories do, the book, now called The Return of Antonides (God, I hope not! Personally -- not back to my house, at least), left the room, taking all its people with it.

My brain echoed.  I liked that. For a while.

But then, the door creaked open and some guy stuck his head in.  He reminded me that he was Cole McCullough's brother (from Last Year's Bride), he'd had one heck of a terrible month or two (all my fault -- I could see it in his gaze) and since last year I'd said I'd write him a book, I'd better get on with it.   He was tired of standing on the porch waiting for Lukas and Co to exit the building.  And he needed -- really needed -- a happy ending. Not that he believed in them.

Just what I wanted, a brooding, grouchy Man With Problems invading my head.  But for all that I tried to ignore him, he didn't go away. He hung around, leaned over my shoulder as I prowled through images online trying to see what he looked like.  "You?" I murmured periodically, nodding my head at suitably brooding specimens.

He was silent.  That means no in hero-speak.

So I kept looking.  Meantime I asked him what was so bad about the past couple of months.  He told me.  I agree with him.  I do think he deserves a happy ending (but he's going to have to suffer a while and learn a couple of lessons first).

He also needed a heroine.  She turned up almost at once, as if she'd been waiting for him which, in some respects, I suppose she had.  They knew each other some years ago.  He was her brother's best friend. And, oh, by the way, her brother could use a happy ending, too.

And so could a couple of other guys they'd gone to college with.

Before I knew it, I was having a convention in my head.  All four guys were moving in, banging around, shifting furniture, drinking beer, watching hockey, trying to discover if by coming back to Montana, they can go home again.  But not doing anything to solve their own problems, I pointed out.

That, Brooding Man With Problems told me, was my job.  He looked at me expectantly.

They all did.

I'm tempted to toss them out on their collective ear(s).  But honestly, I'm becoming kind of fond of them.

Man With Problems has had his life turned upside down and a whole lot of things he was sure would Never Happen have just happened.  He's not happy, but he's adjusting -- or trying to. I like him for the effort he's making.  Of course he's not making the one big change that would really make a difference.  And he has no intention of ever falling in love again. Ever.

I guess that's what he and his heroine -- and I -- will be working out in the next few months.

And his friends?  They're apparently sticking around, too.  I think they may be betting on whether or not I can actually find them happy endings.  Right now they're all pessimists.  But I keep telling them, don't bet against me. If I can sort out Lukas Antonides, you guys -- whoever you are -- don't stand a chance!

So guess what Anne will be doing this summer?  Sorting out the Men With Problems (no, that's not the name of the mini-series).  She's got her work cut out for her. But right now she's prowling through pages and pages online and off, ogling handsome brooding men, and some who aren't brooding, and assuring her husband, The Prof, that it's all just work!  She'd show you some, but copyright prohibits -- and she's pretty sure you can find your own, anyway.

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