Do not read this post if you are a child or very immature!! Contains sexual references!
Okay. Picture this. You’re reading the latest book from one of your favourite authors. You’re loving it, the heroine is someone you can root for, the hero melts your heart and set your loins afire until you’re wishing for a hunk like that of your own... And then this happens.
She felt him plunge deeper, deeper than ever before, so deep she could almost feel him in the back of her throat.
I’m not going to quote and I’m definitely not going to name names but seriously. Something like this was in a historical I was reading, only a couple of chapters after the heroine takes the hero into her mouth and then into her throat. It made me wonder if the author (fantastic woman and great books) has been watching porn. With each novel lately the sex scenes get longer and longer and longer. I don’t know about you, but for me, writing a sex scene is about the sensual touches and the lead up, it’s about the connection you can only get by being one with another person. Sure I have sex in em, I’ve got two blazes on the hard drive, but none of my women would ever think like this, especially not during the act. Whatever happened to the simple stuff?
But then you get stuff like this...
(This is coming...) Bit anti-climactic but I was going to put a paragraph from True Blood, the first book. An awesome bit about a lamb and a wolf but I can’t find the book...
And your faith in good writing from a fairly new author is renewed. (or would be if I could find the damn thing!)
But isn’t that what it’s all about? You like this, I like that, I hate this and you absolutely love that. I’ve met so many people who hated Twilight (mostly because they watched the movie and just didn’t get it) but then I can’t read a John Grisham or a Nora Roberts or a Danielle Steele. I’m firmly seated, front row on the Twilight bandwagon. Every time I see the trailer for New Moon, I have to remind myself that the book is in the room with a light-sleeping two year old and that I have other things to do.
Yes! I do have some will power.
What makes you cringe? What would you as a writer never write? I could never write sweet. I can’t read them, I can’t even look at them. I get angry just thinking of the last one I read so I just don’t go there. I certainly will never bag anyone who does because we are all just so lucky that so many writers and readers have differing tastes. How boring would it be if we didn’t? Selling a book would be easy, writing one wouldn’t be so hard and they would be as cheap as chips. But where would that leave me? I’ve spent the last eight months (not so long when you add up the hours instead of the days) slogging my guts out over my historical. Imagine my horror of if I only got paid peanuts for it and then everyone said, ‘Yeah, I liked it’.
Well, I love it! I love my story, my characters, my setting. I want to get paid good money for it and then I want to share it with women (and some men) everywhere. Writers don’t write for peanuts and for good reason. What we (yes I’m throwing myself in this basket) do is freakin hard! Selling what we have, getting your heel in the door, it’s even harder. Every day I have to convince an agent or a publisher that what I have is unique, that my story hasn’t been done before or it’s a fresh twist on something that has.
It’s exhausting. My eyes hurt. I’m sitting here at the crack of dawn after finishing work at 11pm last night writing my blog so I can get my name out there. I get RSI in my arms because I don’t sit properly but you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is my love. It took me 25 years to figure out my place in the world and now I’ve found it. I’m going to be an author. I’m going to have my name printed on the front of a novel and I’m going to be damn good at it!
*grins and shrugs sheepishly*
Now I just have to convince one of the two agents who have my partial in their trays that I’m passionate and I can do it.
Maybe I’ll send them a copy of the blog...
I have two trains of thought on giving up and walking away. Actually make that three. The first is when to give up on a manuscript that just won't work, won't sell or gives you the heeby jeebies. Do you think there comes a time when an author simply has to admit defeat, say the manuscript demon won and toss it?
Put it away for a few months or a few years. I'm one of these people that gets hit with the inspiration brick. I can try all I want to force the ideas and imagination it takes to come up with passionate, romantic stories and loveable characters but all I end up with is crap. One day I'll be changing a nappy or driving down the street to get bread or even having a shower and all of a sudden, my light bulb turns on and I have something to work with. If you know me, I sometimes walk around in a daze, with (apparently) a grr face. I'm not angry or about to kick your butt. I'm getting an idea and the amount of energy and concentration hurts! So many people that don't read romance (or anything intelligent for that matter) think writing romance is sooo easy and that it doesn't take brains or talent.
Oh how wrong these losers are! I want to hit them in their narrow minded heads and tell them to give it a go. I know some women who took 10-15 years to get published and others who did it early or with their first books but then after a run, something happens. Your agent quits, moves, runs out of cash or dies. Your publisher goes belly up or gets bought out by one of the larger houses and they 'no longer think you fit'. This game is a hard one!
This brings to me to my next train of thought, now that I've waffled a bit. When should you consider changing genres or your targeted line? If you write for Mills and Boon or Harlequin and you know you definitely want a certain line, ie Blaze.
I have two contemporary manuscripts nearly ready to be submitted and while I would love it if both of them turned up with a red cover and a hunk on the front, I know one probably fits better with Sexy or Presents. Make sure you read the lines you want to target. If you aren't having any luck with Regency but you've read hundreds of Georgian or Victorian novels, write one of them! Stick with what you know. If you try to write all the time and never read anything, how will you know the current trends? You could be trying to write a bosom heaving, corset busting, manhood, steely member type of thing only to find they went out with the 80's along with so many other faux pas. If what you're doing just isn't working, put it away and try something else.
Now for that third train... When is it truly time to give up on writing and your dream of becoming an author?
Never, ever, ever, ever!!
Don't let anyone tell you, you can't do it! I recently heard a story from Mary Jo Putney at the RWAus conference and it went a little something like this...
A violinist went to a performance of someone famous (would help if I could remember the name). After the show he went back stage and asked the famous man to hear him play. the celeb said 'sure why not' and listened while the violinist played. At the end of the piece the celeb told him he was very good but that he just didn't have what it took to make it.
So the man went off and was very successful in his day job and his family forgetting about his dream to become famous. Many years later he saw the celeb again and asked him why he'd thought he didn't have what it took. The celeb then said...
"If you had it, you wouldn't have listened to me. You would have worked and worked and worked and you would have made it." (I took a lot of free licence on this :P )
So there you have it. Never give up. If you want it bad enough, take every rejection and build a bridge. Climb over the hurdles and change what isn't working for you. Enter competitions, send out queries and with each new batch of criticism and comments, work on it. Hone your craft until you get 'the call'. Nothing in life is easy and this won't be either. If it was, there would be no satisfaction at the end, you wouldn't get paid for it and every Joe Blow and Tom, Dick and Harry would be published and the quality of books with take a nose dive off a cliff.
Keep at it, work your butt off and one day you will succeed.
Now to take my own advice and finish the damn book so I can indulge in my current obsession for vampires and Twilight (thankyou Stehpanie Meyer). Until next week...
Okay. So opportunity is busy elsewhere at the moment and I have been too. Getting my submissions ready from the RWAus conference and then sending them off. Competition entry's for Australian comps. And then there's work, housework, study and ferrying the brats. I wrote 9000 words last week and did some editing so I haven't been completely dormant. I am sick with a cold, courtesy of my two year old so my brain isn'
I'm a published author but I'm still mostly stumbling about in the dark looking for the right paths so this blog is about that, though sometimes something will give the me the shits and I'll have a bit of a rant. I'll try not to be offensive but occasionally my mouth opens without asking my brain's permission so I'll apologise in advance.