R. Renee Vickers is in the house! For those of you already familiar with each of us, that’s probably a cue for you to run screaming away. (Go ahead — it’s so close to Halloween I doubt anyone will notice). For anyone brave enough to stick it out, may I suggest ridding your mouth of all food and beverage before you continue? Because if you spit it all over the screen, I am SO not gonna try to hide my laughter. Mmkay?
Welcome, Renee! Let’s start in a strange place, shall we? (Trust me—no one who has spent any time here will be surprised). Your blog is called “Muse Ampoule” . . . while you do explain on the blog what’s behind the name, would you please share this with our readers? How did this particular phrase meet your acquaintance?
MuSe AmpouLe: a hermetically sealed small bulbous glass vessel that is used to hold the creative solution for writer’s block. Prepare the needle and yank your pants down folks; it’s time for your injection.
Ha! That question is usually followed with “how the hell do you pronounce it?” MuSe AmpouLe (pronounced like: muse-am-pool ) is a pen name I use in writing forums. I came up with it in one of those desperate for a catchy forum name moments, when having a lame pen name was not an option. So, with a flourish, I flung open my handy-dandy Random House Word Menu (one of my favorite word resource books) to a random page and blindly put my finger down on a word I’d never seen before, ampoule. An ampoule is a sealed glass vial used to transport liquids for medicinal use (injections). After playing with a few combinations, the word ‘muse’ was the only one that seemed to click with it. What could be a better medicine for a writer than being directly injected with muse juice?
The name has really stuck with me since and several of my forum pals have addressed me as Musey-poo on and off the forum which tickles me to no end.
Musey-poo! Buuahahaha! *hic* Buaaha-*hic* Um, okay, so if one writes erotica, dare I ask what the chemistry of “muse juice” might be? OMG, I see a whole blog on this: genre muse juices. And, Renee — or musey-poo … whoever you are — I hereby invite you for a return trip to guest blog all about it. Buaah–*hic*—hahahaha!
While I try to straighten my skirts (rolling around on the floor is heck on a petticoat), why don’t you tell us about the first story you wrote with the idea of having it published. Are you still pursuing publication for this one?
The first story idea I had that hinted it may be publication worthy is still in the works. It’s a YA, paranormal fantasy involving a 16 year old werewolf assassin set in a modern day, feudal, Japanese alternate universe. I’m about 30k words into it and unfortunately it frequently gets put on the back burner for smaller, more immediate projects; but every time I think about this story my heart races a little. I’m still very excited about and by it. So yes, absolutely, this is a project that I am looking forward to finishing and getting it ready for publication.
Oh, I bet it will be SO good! I’d probably finish it and start sobbing when it was over — such a strong connection, and when you write it, it’s done. *Wail* (I am such a schmuck).
Which genres are you drawn to as a reader? Do you prefer to read in the same genre as your WIP or do you mix it up?
My favorite genres to read are dark fantasy, science fiction and erotic romance. I’m not limited to them, however. Generally, if I pick up a book, sample a few pages and find myself being drawn in I’ll read it. It just happens that most of the books on my shelves are of those three genres. I’m the same way with writing, I find myself writing in those genres, but I’m not limited. If it’s interesting and works for the story, I’ll dive right in.
That’s quite a menage of interests, LOL! Looking back over all of the intimate moments you’ve created between characters, which scene would you most like to experience for yourself? What makes it so alluring?
This is going to sound lame, but it’s the first kiss. The first kiss between two characters who are unable to resist each other any longer. That’s the one thing in my stories that make me sigh and give me butterfly tingles all over. The passion of the first embrace and the exploration that happens after just does it for me. Being a married woman, the chances of being able to have that first kiss again is slim to none so fantasizing and making my characters act it out is the next best thing.
Dude, way to wreck the beauty that is a happy marriage! LMAO! No, seriously, I totally get what you mean. Those tingles should be bottled and sold right next to the muse juice! *Ahem.* Clearly you’re a woman of great patience (she hasn’t tried to hit me with anything yet, y’all) so here’s a timely question for you: Have you ever battled with any of your characters over their personality traits? If so, who won – you or the character?
They win. Hands down every time. Yes, I have scheduled interventions when their “personalities” aren’t working for me. Sadly, none of these meetings have ever worked out. My characters usually storm off after listing a bevy of unpleasant places where I can stick my complaints. Maybe I’m too soft on them, but I see this as a team effort, and considering how much I torture them I’ll allow some concessions. If they want to have a personality quirk, so be it.
I have to say, I’m surprised. Glaring at them doesn’t work? Because really, I’m starting to squirm a little. (*coughs*) I’m not calling you a pushover or anything, but out of curiosity, have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn’t like it? Are you glad you did (or didn’t)?
Actually, no, not as of yet at least. (knocks on wood…please karma, don’t take notes) Mostly, I’m my own worst enemy. I’ve gone through and tossed 90% of a story, on more than one occasion, because I got to a point where it didn’t mesh for me. And well, one small change avalanches into tossing 6k words into the recycle bin. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m a horrible writer, but I’m a fairly keen re-writer. Sometimes it takes me writing it all out to realize just how much of a story is unnecessary crap. There’s one thing I keep in mind with everything I do, nothing matters except for the final product. Criticisms, 3rd, 4th or 10th rounds of edits, writes and re-writes and endless hours of moaning and grumbling about odds and ends; none of it is worthless, none of it is regrettable when you’re able to carve a compelling story out of thin air.
Owie. Brutal! But that’s excellence, for real. How do you keep track of plot elements or twists? Which of your plots has been the most challenging for you in that regard, and why?
*frantically flings papers in the air in a search to find the elusive plot note* Keep track? Sure I have it right here…um…well maybe not. I have a few techniques for this. With larger pieces I typically set out rather extensive outlines and the twists are engineered and scheduled. (whether my characters follow my outline is a different story) Shorter pieces call for some major improvising so keeping track of twists is a little trickier for me on those. Sometimes I use a program called One Note which is essentially a digital notebook complete with pages and tabs and pretty highlight colors. I also use lots of index cards and scrap paper, but those are nowhere near organized!
(SO with you! *Guffaws at the notion that anyone can really be organized with small pieces of paper*)
I’m working on a detective piece that has been a little challenging to keep track of because there’s a good bit of jumping around. I came up with the plot then broke it up into bits and scattered elements throughout to weave the story together. One Note has been very helpful keeping all of the elements straight for me.
Detective story, eh? (*Loves suspense!*) Let’s dish on your current projects, shall we?
I’m working on a couple of pieces at the moment. One is the detective story which I’ve set in Charleston, SC to give a local flare. It’s about two detectives on the case solve a string of brutal killings all while realizing the bond between them is growing into so much more. The other major piece I’m on right now is a fun 10k word piece about Lesbians and Zombies. I’m hoping to have both pieces finished before the end of the month.
Wow. Talk about both ends of the spectrum! And you’re finishing both by the end of the month? That’s awesome. Then you can watch my kids some for me, right? Where’s one of those dratted scraps of paper? I need your address! Uhhh. . . . Okay, she’s edging toward the door. Oh, Renee! *whew — caught her!*
Thanks so much for having me here with you today Sarah! I really appreciate the opportunity you’ve given me to get my voice heard.
(She’s still trying to cut out, isn’t she?) Totally my pleasure, Renee! Kick back and stay a while — someone is bound to pass by with drinks eventually. And before you sneak out the back door (or, uh, the nearest window), I’d like to implore you to come back and tell us about your new book, SLY’S SURRENDER, after it hits the shelves. And … yeah, we’re totally waiting for the Muse Juice post. Just sayin.’