Another Sunday, another week of Sneak Peek Sunday, a romance writer blog hop. Follow the link back to see what other authors are working on this week (please note that participating authors write in all genres and at all heat levels)
If you follow either of us on Twitter, you may have seen us whining about doing some pretty major rewrites on a story. “Universal Adjunct Hell,” the story in question, was going to be a story about anticipation. Our protagonists — Carl, a young adjunct professor at a state college, and Phil, an older non-traditional student, would acknowledge the mutual attraction but not explicitly break any rules. Instead, they’d spend the last two months of the semester thoroughly enjoying the unresolved part of their sexual tension.
We wrote a first draft, but it wasn’t quite singing for us so we let it sit while we focused on getting other projects out the door. When we came back to it, though, it still wasn’t working.
Writing is a rejection-based business and, sometimes, the no you get is from yourself. So we decided to throw out the story and start again. We’re keeping the characters and the world and even the central conflict, but we’re starting the story much later and we’re scrapping the anticipation angle entirely. After that, all we had to do was turn up the volume on the stakes, and we had something that worked much harder for us.
Of course, I say “all we had to do,” like it’s easy. It’s not, though this isn’t the hardest story problem we’ve ever had to solve. (Ask us, after Doves is out, about The Dinner Scene. That took us weeks.) But the first story ended up being pretty good research, and figuring out what didn’t work with “Adjunct I” led us to what “Adjunct II” needed to be.
So for your comparison pleasure, we present the first three paragraphs of each piece:
Carl has his eye more on the clock than the people with whom he’s supposed to be networking. He just wants to go back to his office and his endless pile of work, assuming his officemates are quiet or absent enough to make that even possible.
But then he sees Phil weaving his way through the crowd, and realizes he’s most definitely heading for him. Carl wishes he could pretend not to have seen him and go back to chatting inanely with distracted, overworked faculty and hopeful undergrads who would make fantastic grad students if the school actually had enough money to fund their research. Because while a conversation with Phil would definitely make tonight more pleasant, it’s not going to necessarily make it easier.
“Professor,” Phil says with a flirtatious smile when he gets to Carl. “I was hoping I’d run into you.”
“We really, really should not be doing this.” Carl says as Phil wraps a hand around both of their dicks.
“Are you actually concerned or is this like your dirty talk thing?” Phil gasps as he starts working them together.
Carl throws his head back and laughs, which just invites Phil to suck bruises into his neck.
I am picturing Carl as the Carl in Love, Actually now and that’s a pretty great start to my day.