Just heard about this today- it’s a big collection of ebay auctions from loads of romance writers, to support Harlequin Blaze writer Jo Leigh with her late husband’s medical bills. There are some interesting items in there, from signed copies to critiques, and it’s a damn good cause. More evidence of what a fabulous community of people romance writers are, not that we needed it!
In true back to front Mulberry style, I finally really got going with a story on the last day of Nano.
Yesterday I spent sortng out the stuff I wanted to know before I started wriitng, the characters, a bit of their personal and family history, the history and geography of the imaginary European country most of the story will happen in. Then today I started writing.
I actually wrote as much on the new story today as I did on the old one for the whole rest of the month. So it’s just possible that the decision to start on a new story wasn’t so bad. I had fun writing it and the words flowed, not like the struggle I had even getting 500 words a day on the first chapter of the last story. Chapter one done in first draft, and a good start on chapter two, I’m pleased with that.
Of course, it’s going to need some serious editing. I am a very messy first drafter, not an edit as I go person. What I’ve written so far is making me laugh but also shake my head! I like it, but I’ve put so much in there that might be okay in chick-lit but will need to come out for a series romance. The hero doesn’t actually appear until more than half way through the chapter. I don’t even want to go near his POV, and I think with Mills and Boon Romance that’s now part of the expectation. I keep wanting to go into first person and have to translate that into third person. It looks like I’m writing Chick Lit and that’s not what I’m trying to do here!
As far as I know there’s only been one first person Mills and Boon- a Tender Romance by Liz Fielding from 2002 called City Girl in Training. I have it here and I’m going to read it tonight, after I do a bit more on chapter two. I love her stuff, she writes the closest thing to chick-lit that I have read in series romance. I don’t think first person goes down well with series romance readers now. The reviews I read of it were mostly “Great story, BUT….” There’s been such as shift, as so many romances used to be first person, but first person makes it impossible to include the hero’s POV. I doubt Mills and Boon would ever publish a first person story from an inexperienced or new writer, it just breaks too many of the conventions.
I think for now it is so important that I just write the story however it comes, and worry about whether it’s Chick Lit or M&B after there is a completed first draft to play with. It feels like its a tricky balance between pushing the story into a form that doesn’t suit it or my writing style, risking ending up with a dead and voiceless story full of cliched plot devices and cardboard characters; and letting the story take it’s own form and direction and grow organically, at the risk of ending up with something so mutant and disorganised that it won’t be editable into any sort of story at all.
I think I am still in the early exploring stages, finding what I want to write, finding where my voice fits. Playing with the story, going where it takes me, could be a fun journey that will let me know where my writing belongs. If it ends up being a Mills and Boon- at last I have something to use my Comps Slip on! And if it turns out to be chick-lit I can submit it for my RNA New Writers entry next year, if I manage to get in this time. That’s how Katie Fforde first got published – not that I am claiming to be even a tenth as good a writer as she is!