When Your Characters Argue – With You!

Issue #76
Blog #16-2018
Section: From the Author’s Desk
Blogger: Joseph Clay

In the blog titled From the Desk of Joseph Clay – Author: What Happened – Writing is the Easy Part – So I Thought I wrote the below statement,

“Most of the time my writing keeps me halfway sane, but lately it’s driving me crazy as the characters from The Bet are taunting me almost daily.”

#7.1 Dark MistressThen in Writing Update/WIP 5-31-18 (Playing Catch Up) I wrote,

The Bet is a love story with an erotic twist that came out of nowhere after arguing with my characters. It has been a problem since it’s conception, draining the blood of life from me every step of the way.”

I have had readers and faithful followers want to know what I was talking about or implying. They also brought up the fact that I never alluded to it again and left them hanging.

That’s what writers do, we make you want to flip the page to find out what happens next.

Both statements above are referring to the same subject matter, The Bet….

How The Bet came to life.

EAP FB (2)First thing I need to disclose is that I love Edgar Allan Poe. Any chance I get to write like Poe and/or use his style I jump on it, more times than not this gets me into trouble, as I’m no Poe.

From the manuscript West on the East – Noon Judgment I had to cut a whole chapter due to content and I needed to also get rid of some characters. That chapter dealt with two female leads that played off each other and intertwined through a couple of chapters filled with erotica. The tale of these two ladies would be a nice addition to the Erotic Tales of Joe. However the chapter was too long to be a short story. I kicked back and weighed my options.

I quickly thought of titles for the separate tales. “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” and The Secrets of Delilah”. Now all I needed to do was figure out how to get them separated. I poured a glass of bourbon and lit a cigar.

My brain kicked in and I snapped my fingers as I thought, That’s it, I’ll do it like Poe did!

From the bookcase I removed The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. I flipped through the pages till I found “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”. Then I found the sequel to it, “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” I read and studied how he pulled this off.

I sat down in the front of the computer and began, writing  “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story”, first. “The Secrets of Delilah” would be the sequel. Both stories would have a definite beginning and end, but one would be the continuation of the other.

Well that was the plan.

I finished “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” and placed it into The Erotic Tales of Joe short story collection and began working on “The Secrets of Delilah”.

This is where the characters began taunting me as The Dark Goddess of Writing descended to mediate.

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The Characters continued to whine about how what I was doing wasn’t going to work, separating them was a mistake and they should remain together. To my surprise The Dark Goddess of Writing agreed.

The more they taunted and complained the faster I wrote, out to prove my point. The two stories were tying in great as I began laughing at my characters and The Dark Goddess of Writing as they were now chanting

“Joe you are no Poe,” over and over.

I continued writing as I returned the banter and drowned their laughter out with my own.

Laughing at them was a mistake. Once I got to the end of “The Secrets of Delilah” the struggle became real. Although the stories had meshed and “The Secrets of Delilah” was a sequel of “Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” the ending didn’t feel right, for either story.

I reread Poe’s tales again…and again trying to figure out a solution to my dilemma.  I left the story to stew as I worked on something else.

The characters from The Bet made concentrating on any other work impossible as they taunted me each day, to put it all back together and make it a novel.

This battle went on for weeks, the characters calmed a bit as I admitted that one or both of the stories endings had to change to make the tales work. That’s when The Dark Goddess of Writing’s stepped in and suggested I review the outlines of each tale as one.

I walked away from the tale for a couple of more days as I thought about The Dark Goddess of Writing’s proposal.

Once I decided to return to the tale I walked over to the white board. I studied the outlines for  them. As I began to look at the story as one outline I started shaking my head. The Dark Goddess of Writing and the characters were correct.

There, right in front of me, was a chapter that had all the components of a great erotic love story. All it needed was a few tweaks and the word count would come out around 100,000 words with an ending that would be closer to what I wanted and one that would do the story justice.

“Learning to Please – Christina’s Story” was removed from The Erotic Tales of Joe and The Bet was born.


I finished the manuscript on September 10, 2017, with a word count right at 103,500 words.

The Bet headed to the editors, on September, 17, 2017 for a manuscript review. The manuscript was returned to me on October 3, 2017.

The blood had continued to flow. The editor hated it in more ways than one!

Now you know the story behind my comments made in the previous blogs and The Bet. It is an interesting one to say the least. The manuscript is not in Category 9 as of yet. I have it in 8, while I ponder if I want to fix it, let another set of eyes look at it or what.

Read, Writing Update/WIP 5-31-18 (Playing Catch Up), for the explanation of category 8 and 9.

Hope to catch y’all later,


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