Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Missing The Mark (An IWSG Post)

Hello, all!

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writers Support Group.

I'm assuming that, by now, you're all familiar with this group, but if you're looking for more information or a complete list of participants, please click on the above link.

This month's co-hosts are: Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure.

This month's (optional) question asks, "Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in?"

And true to form, I'm kind of answering this question and kind of not. Because I'm me, and this is what I do.

So I know I don't have a very deep title list, or a title list of any kind (I'm not sure one title can be counted as a list), but all five of my readers will know that I don't exactly write happy love stories. All of my characters are pretty miserable at the end of the first book, and should the second book ever see the light of day (Ha! she scoffed) those five readers will see that no one's getting any happier. It's not looking good for the third book, either (either for the characters, or me writing it...).

Because I am a horrible person who likes to do horrible things to her characters.



But that's another blog post for another day maybe.

Despite my penchant for making characters miserable, this past July, I set out to write a romance novel. Like, a real, actual romance novel with characters who like each other and aren't endlessly tortured, and who maybe have something that kind of sort of resembles a happy ending.

I hit my word count goal on this project (65,000 word) and scored myself a Camp NaNoWriMo win in the process, but the book is far from being finished. Mostly because the story is missing one vital component: THE FREAKING ROMANCE.

Which somehow surprises me. I didn't expect that first draft to be perfect, of course (not that I can really consider it a finished draft, considering that it's, you know, not finished) but I am surprised that I missed the mark so badly. I read the how-to books. I took copious notes on crafting characters and plot. I read real, actual romance novels.

And then I wrote a hot mess featuring two characters no readers would actually want to be together.

Including me.

Which makes me wonder if I'm just not cut out to write a romance novel. I may not be. I may have to take those two characters and put them in another story in another genre. Or I may need more time away from it to give me the necessary perspective to figure out where I went wrong (for example, THERE'S NO FREAKING ROMANCE IN THE ROMANCE NOVEL) and how I could fix it. Or I may need to abandon the entire damn thing in some aligator-infested swamp somewhere (those exist in Florida, right?).

Only time will tell, I suppose.



Thanks for stopping by today. Take care, everyone.

36 comments:

  1. This would absolutely be me if I ever tried to write a romance. I just don't have it in me! I struggle writing any kinds of romance. I guess practise makes perfect, though; maybe I should write more romance.

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    1. Apparently, I need more practice too. :)

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  2. Wow I'm impressed that you went so far out of your comfort zone and wrote that romance. I know I am not cut out to write them. One, I suck at any sort of love scenes, a big problem. Two, I enjoy misery like you LOL. George RR Martin is my idol so that's probably enough said.

    I hope you stay safe there in Florida. Take care!!

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    1. I'm not sure I can say that I wrote a romance, given that the story's unfinished and that there's no actual romance. :)

      We'll be safe—we're watching Irma and preparing best we can.

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  3. Maybe you've found a new genre or a sub-genre? The Anti-Romance. :)

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  4. Writing a romance sounds exceptionally difficult.

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    1. There are authors who do it very well. I just don't think I'll ever be one of them.

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  5. If it's any consolation, I can't write romance either. I think it stems from me being a terribly unromantic person. But I think you can pull it off! At least you know what you're aiming for. :)

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    1. One of my critique partners suggested I was too realistic to write romance. Which I found funny because most of the time, I write fantasy.

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  6. I like Madeleine's idea - and you know, it could be a huge hit. I know I can't seem to write romance - at least not past the glancing at each other part. My two leads in my fantasy trilogy hold hands at one point - that's it.

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    1. I don't think my characters even get that far. They just bicker. :)

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  7. Well, what genre is it? Maybe make the romance a tiny bit of it.

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    1. There's supposed to be a mystery/suspense element, but that part isn't working either. Really makes me wonder how exactly I managed 65,000 words.

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  8. You can just call it speculative fiction, because that's what we call stories which we don't know which genre they belong. :) I love the idea of an anti-romance. That could be because I love torturing my characters too.

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    1. I should look into that spec fiction thing. That sounds just like what I need. :)

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  9. I tried writing a romance novel too, but my couple ended up getting upstaged by another character and the whole thing is kind of a mess. Maybe one day I'll drag it out again to see if I can't make something of it. It was historical and I kind of loved the setting and the challenges facing the characters.

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    1. I like the characters and my basic premise (such as it is), so I don't want to give up on this project completely. I'll just have to keep playing with it until I figure out what it's supposed to be, I guess.

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  10. LOL Someone needs to write a story around your writing career. Make a great satire.

    Christine suggested an anti-romance and that might be a good idea.

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    1. A story about my writing career would probably be titled "How NOT to be an author."

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  11. The problem with romance is that romance readers have a very narrow definition of what it is and what needs to be in it. It's not like fantasy or sci-fi or, really, anything else. There's just no room to play with the characters outside of the narrow specifications of "romance."

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    1. Perhaps that's part of why I'm struggling with this story so much.

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  12. I think your romance sounds a lot like real life. Characters who obviously shouldn't be together could still make for an interesting story. Maybe an anti-romance? :)

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    1. I definitely need to explore this anti-romance concept. That's probably exactly what this story is, and I'm trying to shoehorn it into something it's not.

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  13. I vote for taking some time. You could figure out how to add the romance, or decide "screw romance!" lol I like to torture my characters, too, but then I reward them with the romance. ;)

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    1. I usually do take more time off in between drafts, so I know I'm looking at it way too soon. I just really wanted this project to be farther along at this point.

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  14. LOL. That's funny. I write romance and my current WIP is making me wonder if these two characters really should be together. I'm starting to call them bitchy and grumpy.

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    1. Sounds like we're both pioneering that anti-romance genre. :)

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  15. Oh, I so understand your problem. I have the same one. I'm trying to write a romance, but the characters just don't want to fall in love. I'm still trying the matchmaker's job though.

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    1. I'm still trying, too. Which makes me wonder if that's part of the problem. Forcing characters into something they just don't want to do. I should really know by now that just doesn't work.

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  16. So, it's not a romance novel. OK. What kind of novel is it, then? Contemporary? I'm sure you could call it something and have it fit.

    Write what you love. You don't love this? Cool. At least you tried.

    Oh, and I hope you're safe from that hurricane that I've been hearing about.

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  17. I can't write romance either. I can have two character falling for each other, but you never see either one drooling internally at the other like you see in traditional romances.

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  18. LOL, that sounds like something I would do. But hey, now you have the perfect story to put a romance into. Take two; the revision.

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  19. Congrats on your Camp NaNo win! I'd aim for some time away from the novel while perhaps giving some subconscious thought to how to ignite that romance and what might make them want to or have to stay together. Not all romances need to be hot and heavy. There are readers who like a lighter touch of people falling in love too.

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  20. I usually have characters that end up falling in love, but the romance is just an aspect of the story. Writing strict romances would be more difficult. You could always give it a more generic label, like women's fiction or something.

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  21. Even though I enjoy including romantic elements in my comics, I doubt I'd be good at creating a full-on romance. (I love unhappy endings too much!) At least you were brave enough to try? LOL. Good luck figuring out what to do with this novel!

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