It must be Amore!

We've all seen THESE in the bookstores.

Well, it was inevitable that on my search for something to write I would come across the romance genre.  Not just because it is an EXTREMELY prolific category, but because I am a personal fan, if somewhat picky about what I will read.  Recently, my considerate and tolerant mother picked me up a copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting your Romance Published.  It’s written by Julie Beard, an experienced romance writer with a jaunty, easy-to-follow style of writing that makes it seem like getting published is the easiest thing in the world.  (If you just get that pesky novel written first!)

Anyway, it was a great read, and filled with lots of helpful tips, even if it WAS written a few years ago.  The back has entire pages full of publishing companies, literary magazines, and websites that are resources for the aspiring romance novelist, which I may try to become shortly.  (Not to worry– if I DO write a romance novel, there is little chance that I will stick to just that genre, even if it does sound like a great one for someone just dying to see their name in print!)

The book covers a lot of things, among them the fact that there are two types of romance novels– the kind that they sell in bulk every month under a name like Harlequin Silhouette, and the single-title kind.  You’re more likely to sell your story if you’re

trying for the every-month one, but those have pretty clear guidelines, and unless you stick at it for a long time, you’re probably not going to be rich and famous anytime soon.  (Of course, romance guru Nora Roberts, one of the biggest names in the business, started out selling stories like these, so like I said, if you keep at it…)  It’s harder to get your single-titles sold, but the chances of bigger notice and reward are higher.  They are choices that need to be weighed certainly, especially if anyone reading this is considering pursuing this writing venue.

So, anyway.  I’ve never read any of the in-bulk romance titles, though don’t get me wrong, I’m sure many of them are good books.  There are many people, and not just women, who faithfully buy every single one of the released sets each month, and eagerly await their romantic  fix.  But I tend to like a little more meat in my story, not just bumpin’ uglies.  (Needless to say, erotica isn’t really my cup of tea either, though if that’s what you’re into or what you write, there ARE certain publishers that would be happy to cater to you!)  Danielle Steele, another heavy contender, tends to write stories aimed at a slightly higher age bracket than I occupy– namely 30’s, 40’s, and occasionally 50’s, mostly women who have been married and are either divorced or widowed getting a second chance at love.  They sound great, but I go more for Nora– 20-somethings, usually (although not always) first-timers, with a great story to accompany all the smoldering looks and lingering passions.

A lot of people say that romances are easy to write, that they work off a pre-set template… And they would be half-right.  There is a template, so to speak.  For example, no killing off the main characters, or making them irredeemable douchebags.  There’s a time and a place for that, but a romance novel isn’t one of them!  Usually boy meets girl, or vice versa, they go through a courting period, some sort of hardship or misunderstanding thrusts them apart, and then they get back together for a finale ending with marria


Nora's books are covered with class!

ge, or at least a proposal and promise of marriage.  (And, depending on the length of your novel, you want to fit an appropriate number of sex scenes in there as well. ;D )

Sounds easy, right?  Well, yes and no.  It’s a lot more than that, especially when you have a lot of people bringing their own interpretations to the table.  There’s setting, characters– not to mention a plot worth following, and side-plots that add to the building story, while leaving your main lovers in the spotlight.  Really, it’s somewhat dizzying when you consider how to meld all those ingredients into the wonderful gumbo that is an excellently-crafted romance novel.

Sorry, I really didn’t mean to blather on so much– I just know a lot about the genre.  (Could you tell?)  My own attempts at romance are distinctly Roberts-esque, but seeing as her romances are pretty much the only ones I’ve read, this is probably understandable.  (Well, I’ve read some stuff from Deirdre Knight, but I’m not sure anyone should be trying to use her as a role-model for writing.  Her Red Spartan series, based around a group of Spartan warriors in present time who can transform into giant birds and have sex, very often and in scenes that use the word ‘erogenous’ seven times, is a source of amusement to my friends and I.  Oh, my bad, they’re the ‘Gods of Midnight’ series.  Right.)

Well.  I guess that brings me to my own novel-writing progress.  Has there been any worth mentioning?  No, not really, I’m still in the thinking stages.  Besides my vampire idea, I also have a demon story, a fairy story, a somewhat religiously-toned story (cooler than it sounds from that description), and a futuristic scifi story, and a romance story– bet you can guess which inspired this post. 🙂

The guy to the left is a rough representation of my leading man.  Except… sort of not really.  He just looked really, really good when I was googling images of Romance Novel covers with Horses.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, and stop it.  Stop it now.  It’s not like that, I swear.

Back when I was coming up with this idea, roughly a couple years ago, Amanda and I were talking about what I should write about.  I’d thrown more than a few promising romance novel ideas around, several of which I still might like to write someday, when I came across my ‘Aimless Rider’ series.  Yeah, series.  Go ahead, groan– I get that a lot. xD

Basically it’s six stories based around a horse farm in Iowa, and the family that owns them.  They can stand on their own, supposing that I got the first one published and nobody was interested in the others.  However, I’d rather they went as a bunch though, because they’re just that awesome.  🙂

I think I’ll save the details for my next mini-update– I’ve rambled on here long enough.  Hopefully you’re interested to hear more.   If not, I’ll write it anyway!

Me~

Book Progress: Uhm.

 

 

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Blogs with a Bite

So, if you’ve been keeping up-to-date with all the latest reading trends, you can PROBABLY name the creature I’ve got here.

YUP.  It’s a vampire.

Now I’m not here to discuss any of those books really, which is good, because there are a LOT of them.  (Twilight, Sookie Stackhouse Novels, Vampire Diaries, etc.)  Vampires are the new cool thing, which is totally understandable.  I mean, they’re undead, but not falling apart like THE Undead.  Stephenie Meyer pretty much ripped apart Vampire canon, so you can go wherever you want with them.  And, Buffy Vampires aside, they’re just kind of… well, sexy.

Go figure.

I guess what this is leading up to was a discussion with myself earlier today while I was thinking about just what I want to write my novel on this year.  After all, I have several books, more than one of which is actually planned out almost in entirety, but if I’m going to be writing something for a year, I think it deserves some real thought.  What do I want to obsess over and plan and WRITE for that long?

Which brings me back to vampires.

When I was in…  Tenth grade?  Yeah.  I’d never heard of Twilight before, though I think it might have been out by then.  And Twilight really was what started the New Vampire Revolution.  (If only I’d jumped on the bandwagon sooner!)  So, my friend Amanda and I had decided to maybe collaborate on a writing project, and we were tossing ideas back and force, when I came up with a Vampire-related storyline.  Now, I don’t want to give too much away, namely because I do plan on writing it someday (maybe once the hype dies a bit so that I don’t look like a crowd-follower!), but let’s just say it was a YA book, possibly a trilogy setup (but could stand alone), and it was mostly set in a High School.

It came back to me when I was reading Death’s Excellent Vacation, an anthology notable because of several popular author contributions, mostly that of Sookie Stackhouse author Charlaine Harris.  (I quite enjoy them, as well as True Blood, the TV show based off of the Sookie books, but then I also like reading Twilight, so there.)  Anyway, one of the stories in the anthology was written by a woman who apparently writes a different series of Vampire-related stories.  Something about her story, the characters, or maybe just the writing, reminded me about this long-ago-conceived brainchild of mine.  And it’s not like it was a half-assed thing, either– Amanda and I REALLY worked on it.  I mean, really.  We had a list of students for the entire High School, a calendar of events with removable sticky notes to catalog main plotlines and events, and extensive character bios.

I’m still not sure what I’m going to write about just yet, and it probably won’t be this, but it’s nice to re-acquaint myself with my older ideas. 🙂  (Especially great ones like this!)

On a smaller note, it was the first day of Winter Semester today, and my first class was Creative Nonfiction.  Apparently, one of our assignments this semester is to keep a blog of a project!  (After all, a lot of people have been getting published this way lately.)  I thought that this was odd, considering I had just decided to start one myself. WEIRD.  Anyway, I’ll have to see if this will count, as I’m doing it anyway…  But I guess this is much longer than a semester, and isn’t really… well, it’s not fast-paced or exciting or anything. xD  Mostly random things I think up, read, and me eventually berating myself for not writing, or not writing WELL, or any number of silly things I will no doubt berate myself on.

Still, I’ll keep you updated, faceless and nameless readers.

Book Progress: Zilch. ;D

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Once Upon a Time…

This isn’t really how people start stories anymore.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve EVER read a story that started like this.

Huh.

Anyway!  WordPress.  Blogging.  I’m unfamiliar with the first, and have tried and subsequently failed at the second.

Man, this place is complicated!

But I hope I’ll figure it out in time.  For the most part, I think I’ve got it down– even if it takes me ten minutes to remember what tab leads to what, and how to add pages on the top.

So, there are a billion places now on this site where you can read my mission statement, and a little bit about me personally.  I guess if you want to know more, feel free to ask, because I know myself pretty well and have no need to expound on it further for my own interest.

What I’m interested in is getting myself to write!

I’ve been reading a book for about a month now, in no real hurry to finish because it isn’t that kind of book.  Not to say it isn’t good– it’s extremely good, actually– but it just doesn’t run on a linear plot like your average book.  It’s called Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, and it’s full of bite-sized chapters that help you reach some sort of enlightenment while forcing yourself to write.

It was recommended to me by my Drawing teacher, actually, while we were discussing my dual love of writing and drawing.  She said that, although it was aimed at writers, a lot of the things it said could be applied to drawing as well.  I think I’d have to agree.  Really, it makes writing a sort of zen activity, while also helping to open you up while you get in touch with your creativity.  Natalie encourages writing daily, which I also encourage in myself.  (I even started a new journal over my Christmas break, and although I’ve missed about a week now, I refuse to berate myself– that was the promise I made when I decided to try journaling again.)

I guess some of my resolution is thanks to this book, and my (mostly successful) attempts to reunite myself with journal-keeping.  I feel like I need to introduce writing as part of my daily routine.  Not just because it’s a productive and useful thing to do, or so much that I feel OBLIGATED to, but because I feel like I NEED to write.  My innate laziness and resistance to doing anything useful may try to convince me otherwise, but I really do ENJOY the process, even when I want to pull my hair out.

Natalie agrees with this.

So I guess I’m off on my own little self-journey, even while I try to do this crazy thing of writing a book in a year.  Maybe the constant writing will help me discover something about myself.  It couldn’t hurt, right?

Book Progress:  NONE.  I just started– cut me some slack. x)

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