"Lover Eternal" is out today, and J.R. Ward's been kind enough to celebrate the day with us by guest-blogging.
Read the review at Romance: B(u)y the Book
J.R. Ward is here for a LIVE blogchat at
4.00 pm EST TODAY!!!
So I tried to think what I could blog about that was fresh and hopefully interesting. After going around in circles for a while, I decided it would be cool to give a bird’s eye view into what writing LOVER ETERNAL was like for me.
I always knew Rhage was going to be after Wrath... Wait. Maybe I should explain something first. The Brotherhood books are not stories that I feel like I think up. It’s more like they’re downloaded into my brain in a series of pictures. I see the scenes, hear the voices and write what I see. (If I’m not faithful to what I’m shown, the Brothers clam up. Just refuse to talk to me until I come to my senses and do what they say.) Anyway, while I was writing Wrath, Rhage came and set himself up as the next in line.
I was bummed.
Rhage was not my favorite Brother by a long shot. He’s just too beautiful and sexy and all that. I mean, how accessible is perfection? And perfection is boring really: not much there but eye candy and good times, you know? But hey, I don’t argue with the Brothers so I went with it. I wrote Rhage’s outline (which was about fifty pages long) and what excited me about it was the parts that involved Butch and Marissa. See... originally, I thought I could do Rhage and Butch together. NOT. I got 200 pages into the book and realized that Butch’s story was so compelling that it was overshadowing Rhage and Mary.
So I cut Butch out.
It was horrible! I was fascinated by him and Marissa! But... lo and behold, with them gone, Mary and Rhage started to really sing. And I began to see the other sides to Rhage. By the end of the first draft, I thought... man, there’s a lot more to him than those looks. And Mary, Mary had my heart from the beginning. *sigh*
I put the two of them in a drawer for two weeks.
Then I was on to revisions. The way I work is I lay out the first draft, take a break and then revise, revise, revise, smoothing out the scenes and the images and the words until nothing annoys me or feels like it doesn’t go far enough. By the time one of the Brotherhood books heads into production, I’ll have gone through the manuscript fifteen or sixteen times.
It was during the revision process that I fell in love with Rhage. I saw his sacrifices for Mary and his Brothers and how much he cared and the emotionalism and I just... yeah, I fell hard. So by the time I was ready to send him off to my editor, I was just amazed by him. And embarrassed that I didn’t sense his depths in the beginning. I was also on pins and needles. LOVER ETERNAL pushes the envelope in some places and I was worried I’d have to pull back. Or, OMG, what if my editor didn’t like him?
She LOVED him. Said his was a powerful and erotic love story. And what did I do when I heard that? Had a migraine from relief.
Then I started to trim. These Brotherhood books are big. Rhage is about 130,000 words or 510 pages double spaced in Times New Roman 12 font. And this was after I cut about sixty pages from him! I will say that most of these deleted scenes, though, went into Z’s book (and bear in mind, this sixty page hair cut was after I’d taken out Butch’s parts.) One of the things I like about the Brotherhood stories is I get to have so many points of view. I think that gives depth to the story and the folks in it. The key is balancing the various arcs so that the reader isn’t scrambled.
Rhage's final product is something I am very proud of. He took about nine months to write from start to finish. If I counted the hours in a lawyerly fashion, I’d say maybe 1,000 went into him. And when I got his cover for the first time I was thrilled! I think the art department at Signet/NAL is fabulous and really did him justice.
So that’s the road to Rhage! I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about him and Mary or the Brotherhood or writing in general. And I’d like to thank Michelle for inviting me to come on to blog!
Encore! So I'm wondering, J.R. ... with a wicked skull trim and a marvelously hideous scar, could our boy Nathan ever be the Z of your dreams?