Harperpages

The blog of author Harper Alexander


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Restraint – Wonderland Excerpt

It’s excerpt time! Taken from today’s 1,000-word progress on the almost-finished Wonderland! A little mushy, but hey – I’m a sucker for that stuff.

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It was a strangely meaningful concept – someone with the power and aptitude to wrestle sharks, to shred her where she stood if he wanted, but who would never touch a hair on her head. There he was, muscle and power and instinct and blood on his hands, but the ferocity bypassed her. His killer hands rested by his sides, not touching her.

But she recalled a time when they had touched her. When he had taken those beaten-up fingers, capable of anything, and trailed them over her skin with warpaint sentiments. And they had been gentle.

Like a butterfly straining against its cocoon, something nudged inside her, wanting to feel that touch again. There was something in the restraint, in the fact that he could ravage her like a rabid wolf and then his touch registered with the lightness of a feather. It was surprising, confusing, intriguing.

Made her curious what he was holding back.


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NaNoWriMo Butt Kick

There’s nothing like NaNoWriMo, a time when authors far and wide put their noses to the grind stone to crank out 50k words in one month, to kick my butt into gear where writing at least the last 10k of an 80% finished book is concerned. So, yes, I’m using NaNoWriMo and everyone else’s unbridled fervor as the thing that finally leaves me with no excuse not to get this dumb baby done!

That’s right – Wonderland may have missed its summer release, but it’s not as if I didn’t get close, and as of today we’re up to 88% finished. I already know Thanksgiving is going to try to throw a cork in my writing goals over the next couple weeks, but I’m on a pretty good roll right now. The end is so close in sight, maybe I’ll just…get there before Thanksgiving even comes a-gobbling, and flit around the kitchen making pies at my leisure with the smirk of an author who has finished her book.


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Wonderland Progress and Plot Splicing

Wonderland is cruising right along, right about at the 3/4 completion milestone. I just got back from an almost two-hour writing spree at the park, which was just what I needed to clear my head from the work week and get back in the writing groove. Only a few chapters to go, now. And I’m finally feeling like this MC has the depth I’ve been aiming for. Only took a book and a half to get her to this point. Better late than never, right?

My secondary thought of the day has to do with the always multiplying plot-bunnies in my head I can never seem to keep a handle on. I’ve been haunted by the thought lately that I probably already have more must-write book ideas than I’ll ever be able to actually fulfill in my lifetime, not to mention all the storylines that are bound to inspire themselves in the future. This is a very depressing thought. Part of the solution is just to set my life up so I have more writing time, but even then there are too many to ever complete. It’s occurred to me that a more viable solution is to try to combine some of the plots currently pending on my to-write list. I am both really excited and a little skeptical of this idea, as I’ve envisioned some of these storylines strictly in their purest form for so long, but I think combining some of these awesome ideas can only equal more awesome books in the end.

So there you have it, today’s writing tidbits! Time to go type up my progress on Wonderland, and dream of the moment I can finally start promoting the crud out of Paradise because its sequel is finally out. IT’S ALMOST TIME.


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Writing Main Characters – My New Secret

I discovered something interesting the other day. For awhile now, I’ve struggled with my main characters. I have trouble developing them, liking them, making them even the slightest bit interesting at all. I really try, I follow all the formulas, I sit and I daydream and try to get in their heads, try to think about what I’ve loved about past MC’s of mine, try to remember what my secret used to be when I LIVED to sit down every day and get in my MC’s heads… All to no avail. They continue to fall flat, like I’m just out of juice.

Meanwhile, however, there’s always some side character that just happens to sort of steal the show. Their lines are funnier, or cooler; their personalities are edgier; they’re the ones that spark with potential chemistry with the love interest… I’m not sure how or why it happens, but it’s been happening in every story lately. I lifted my pen the other day to point this out to my writing mate, and suddenly realized the key to the problem might lie within the problem. There I was, unable to force the character I was trying to force, while another character stole the spotlight with ease. There I was, beating my head against one and denying another that I desperately wanted to write instead. And I finally realized…if one character is speaking to me, demanding the spotlight, why don’t I give it to her?

I think sometimes, getting ‘serious’ about writing and all of the research that comes with that, all the tips to hone your craft and polish your work, can really work against you. My struggle with main characters these days definitely correlates to realizing their importance. Obviously, they’ve always been important. But you don’t get very far into honing your hobby as a craft without having it officially preached that your main characters really carry the story. So, yeah, somewhere along the way I definitely psyched myself out with the pressure to make them great. It used to come naturally, because there was a time when I wrote purely for fun, purely as an escape, without deadlines or rules or any of these other formulas or pressures to write for an audience. I’ve never done well under pressure. Apparently, neither do my main characters.

So I’m planning an experiment. How interesting would it be to plan a plotline, throw some players onto the board and see who ends up standing out? I don’t think I’ve ever started a story without coming up with the main character first, so it’s going to be interesting. I’m not really sure how to do it, and it might be a disaster. I’m sort of envisioning just writing a chapter from each character’s perspective, and seeing who shines above the others. Seeing whose perspective I’m most drawn to writing. It may require writing continuous chapters from all of their perspectives as the story progresses, and cutting the less relevant ones later, but I’m thinking it might be worth it.

Who knows, I may have just found a loop hole in my characterization struggles. If I can trick myself into cultivating awesome little upstarts on the side, I’m not going to deny them their glory.

How do you deal with mental blocks where your MC’s development is concerned? Are there any tricks you’ve found to work better than others? Leave a comment and let me know!


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There will be no Summer Bummers Here

Back at it again with another chapter! Let’s just say it was a good thing I aimed to give myself plenty of time with Wonderland, and said it would have a summer 2016 release, because whew, has life continued to foil my greatest efforts to write.  Before this week I hadn’t written a stitch in months (yet again) and I’ve been falling deeper and deeper into despair that somehow the whole summer will pass and not only will I have not released Wonderland as promised, but I won’t have made any progress either. None. Zero. Zilch. Natta.

Last time my excuse was my sister getting married. This time, it was planning my own wedding. Probably an even better excuse, but at what point is my life going to open up like a flower blooming in spring for me to just write, and write, and write, unhindered by storms and the sweltering heat of life’s pressures?

Don’t tell me the answer is never. I refuse to believe it.

In the meantime, I happen to still be on track with the generous deadline I gave myself for my current project’s release. I only have 5 chapters to go, and a couple of them are going to be pretty darn short.

I took vacation for my wedding, and made sure to give myself extra time so I’d have a few days to do nothing but write before going back to work. I have about three days left, and hope to do at least a chapter a day.

Once the book is done, I’m somewhat confident editing will be something I can balance easily enough with work. Let’s hope that’s true! There will be no summer bummers here, folks. Wonderland will make its own party, if it kills me!


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Paradise – Now Available!

Paradise 3D Rendering

Paradise is live! I was supposed to promote it all day, but got tied up in some other obligations. Normally I’d insist on making a book release more of a priority, but since this IS the re-release, I was persuaded to let it slide a little. Not to say it doesn’t deserve a little noise, because I’m really excited for the makeover it’s had under new editorship, and am ready to scream from the rooftops THIS IS THE VERSION I WANT THE WORLD TO READ.

I almost feel like this is my writing debut, just because I took the time to make sure this one was done right. MANIACAL GIGGLES.

Okay, back to business (or in other words, back to working on the sequel!) For those of you interested in purchasing Paradise, you can do so here.