Blog Tag–I’ve Been Hit!
My pal and writing Yoda, Cathy C. Hall, named me in a game of Blog Tag wherein I must answer a few writing-related questions, after which I will tag three other authors to do the same. Since Cathy tagged me, I’m pushing my “critique” topic to next week. This is way more fun. 🙂
What are you working on right now?
I’m editing/revising a completed romance novel which, though already submitted, will benefit from more attention. Fireflies is the story of a young widow who believes her dead husband gives her advice via old documents and papers left on his desk when he died. Will his guidance lead her to true love with the sexy carpenter renovating her kitchen? You betcha. 🙂 I have two other romance novels in the synopsis/outline stage focusing on secondary characters from Fireflies. There’s other stuff, too, simmering on the back burner (YA & New Adult), and I continue to take aim at smaller stuff like memoir and short stories—memoir, because it pays well and short stories because they allow me to flex my writing muscles across multiple genres.
How does it differ from other works in the genre?
Voice (I hope). Romance readers have certain plot expectations. For instance, happy endings are requisite. That doesn’t mean you’ll never find a romance with a sad ending. Certainly you will—just ask Romeo and Juliet. But by and large, romance readers want their characters to live happily ever after. I know I do. Otherwise, what’s the point? So within the myriad plot possibilities that span the gap from the moment boy meets girl to the second they head off into the sunset, the big difference has to be voice. The story is important, but the right voice will give it the emotional impact it requires and deserves.
The truth is, I’m still finding my voice and wondering if I’ll ever be able to pull everything together well enough to make it as fully realized on paper as it is in my head. I know how to write, I’ve got the mechanics down. Unfortunately, that means nothing if the voice is stale, boring or just plain off the mark.
Why do you write what you do?
The short answer is I write romance stories in memory of my mother.
After Daddy died, Mama discovered Nora Roberts and pulled me in. Those romances were a balm for my mother. She loved them, from the dialogue and plots right down to—say it with me—the happy endings. Mama missed the real-life romance she shared with Daddy, and reading romance novels helped her escape to a happy place where people in love always beat the odds and lovers don’t have to say goodbye, inseparable even in death. Every romance I write is for my mother.
To be honest, though, I’ve always loved romance. In my 20s I penned a historical romance novel that will NEVER see the light of day (you’re welcome). But the act of writing it—longhand, by the way—was instructive. For a lot of years I got away from romance, but when Fireflies came to me (it began as a short story for Writers’ Journal) the floodgates opened. But I love writing absolutely everything, even horror. I’ve got more stories in my head across more genres than I’ll ever have the time, knowledge or expertise to write.
What is the hardest part about writing?
The hardest part about writing is living with the niggling fear that no matter how hard I work I’ll never be good enough to achieve my goals. This is more than a little daunting. Some of the most difficult moments are those where all I can think is, “Why are you bothering with this? You’re just not that good.” Pushing through that negativity is the hardest part. And no matter what successes come along the self-doubts always seem to loom larger. So, yeah . . . the hardest part is kicking the negativity out of the way so I can sit at my keyboard and get to work. After that, the hardest part is stopping, because once I get started, once I’m in the zone, it’s tough to step away.
See you next week for the naked truth about . . . Critiques. (Well, probably. As long as I’m not tagged again.)
Have a great week –