Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Quiet Joy of Writing Romance

Yes, I haven't posted for a while.  I'd apologize, but I'm writing a book, so most of my writing energy goes directly into that.  Writing, for me, is oddly exhausting for something I do while sitting in a chair, but that's neither here nor there.  There's something going on in this book that I don't know if I've ever done before.

This new book has a genuine, old-school, will-they-or-won't-they kind of romance in it.  And it feels really weird to type that.  @_@  Especially for Shiloh and Alexi, whom I've been writing in one form or another since 2002.

I've blogged about sexuality issues in my writing before (and I will again, I'm sure), such as me realizing that Shiloh needed to come out to herself in Skyborne.  But I wanted to do something different in this book.  I wanted to start it out with Shiloh both knowing and accepting her sexuality, so her feelings for Alexi weren't some surprising thing she had to figure out, but instead just one more thing to worry about due to a host of other issues.  Family politics and arranged marriages tend to play havoc with one's life, and throwing demons into the mix only makes things worse.

So I went into this knowing it would play out differently than the books I've written with these two characters before.  And you know what?  It's an odd kind of delight to write someone's slowly developing feelings for another, the constant wondering, the undertone of questions and desires despite the two of them spending a great deal of time just trying not to die.

It's not that I've never written a romance before; I've written everything from simple blossoming of first feelings to long-established relationships to married couples to seductions to angry shower sex.  I've just never written something that feels so much like a traditional romance.

To be honest, I've never been interested in books where the romance is the plot.  There has to be something more to the story than just seeing if the characters will get together.  But as I write this book, I'm slowly understanding the appeal those stories have for so many people.  As much as I enjoy the rest of the story so far, I find myself really looking forward to the moments between the two main characters, and watching things play out between them is ridiculously fun.

I'm already planning to set aside a longer-than-usual writing session for the scene when things finally come together, as if there's any scene I won't be able to stop until it's done, it's that one.  Can't wait.  ^_^

Alternate title for this entry: "NOW KISS"

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Starting Anew.

"Overcome fear, behold wonder."  --Richard Bach

This is never easy.  Hell, I don't even know where to begin talking about it, let alone how to get it across in a way that'll make sense.  And I'm pretty sure it's different for everyone, yet at the same time, I think if we all talked about it, we'd all understand.

I started writing the new book tonight.

It took longer to actually get my ass in the chair and start than I'd thought.  When it's time to write, there's always a dozen and more different things I can do really quick before I start, and those stack up quickly.  So I had to make myself not do them.  Then I had to find a song -- I've developed a kind of ritual for writing, and part of it involves finding a song that fits the story and playing that every time before I start.  Since today was the first day, I had to find the song.  Took a guess, found it on the first try, and it worked surprisingly well.  Seemed like I was prepared.  So I started.

I then spent the entirety of the first page beating down my internal editor with a mental plunger, telling myself to just keep writing, that anything bad could be fixed later.  No,  I didn't want to know that I was taking too long to get to the big moment of the first chapter.  No, I didn't want to know about the 250-word mark that would be crucial later for queries and pitches and what-have-you.  No, I didn't want to know that things were already going too slowly.  Just write, I told myself, I had to tell myself.  Just write.

And now, 2500 words later, I'm more than a little relieved.  What I have isn't spectacular but it introduces the two main characters and the main antagonist, and most importantly, it gets the story started.  Now that I've started, I can keep going.  Now, when I sit down, it'll be to pick up where I left off.  It's a lot easier to put one word after the other when there's already words in place.

The thing is, I knew I needed to start this tonight.  My life has this tendency to go well except for the things I want most -- I've got a good job that pays me plenty, I have some of the greatest friends and family anyone could ask for, and I generally don't have too much to worry about.  Except this.  Except writing something that will get my career started.  I know I'm exaggerating, but it constantly feels like I'm failing at the one thing in life I want most.

And three nights ago, I put Skyborne behind me for the last time, and made a wish for my success.  A strong wish.  A wish that won't come true without a lot of hard work on my part.  So three nights later, I knew, I had to start.

Here's hoping it works.