Writing & Worrying

I’ve started working on a third romance novel. If you read my news earlier, I signed a 3-book deal with Kensington e-books. I’m ahead of schedule on deadlines, so I can do happy dances and buy a special bottle of wine. I can celebrate. But once Monday morning looms again, I’ll be back at my keyboard, trying to pound out 7 to 10 pages to finish a new chapter. It’s what grounds me.

So why the “worrying” in my title? I’m ahead of schedule and happy with the book I’m working on. But… I’ve never been good at writing the same-old, same-old. I really enjoyed writing the first romance. It has a lot of humor, which I didn’t think I’d be good at, but it fit my two protagonists. I was “hearing” them in my mind, so the humor just came. The second romance had a smart-ass protagonist, so she came up with comebacks that I’d never think of on my own. But both romances followed the norm. Boy and girl meet. There are sparks, and eventually they get together. A proven formula. So what did I do for book 3? Fiddle with it, of course. Lord forbid I should feel comfortable and repeat what had worked for me.

One of the things that kills book series for me is when I feel like the writer found a formula and I can memorize the rhythm because it’s the same, book after book after book. By the time I’m on the third book and I feel like I’ve read it before, just with different names and settings, I’m done. Now, mind you, most of these series run a long time, so readers obviously don’t have a problem with it. But I lose interest, and it’s the same with my writing. I like to change it up. For this book, I want the protagonist to be interested in the wrong guy, but it’s made it a challenge to find a set-up that lets the reader know the right guy is in the wings, but neither of them know it. I have the first fourth of the book finished–at least, a draft to work with, and I’m still doing the juggling act of Paula saying “I want him,” but the reader knows she should kick him to the curb. And it’s been fun.

I might have to tweak my early chapters, but my daughters kissed quite a few frogs before they found their handsome princes, (and even then, one of the princes didn’t work out), so it’s a pretty normal happenstance. I just have to make it work.

By the way, I have three Mill Pond, short-short romances on my webpage, if you’re interested:
http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/. You can click on them at the end of the left column.

https://www.facebook.com/JudithPostsurbanfantasy

Twitter: @judypost

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13 thoughts on “Writing & Worrying

  1. Hey Judith, I took the time to read some of your writings, I found some very interesting and others amusing. I am a retired Navy Pilot that has been force back to college to pick up a civilian trade. I am studying medicine right now but like most people I long to write that all time novel or at the least a paper back story. I am currently putting a story on my blog in my spare time please stop by and take a look at it, I would really like to get a professional opinion on what I can do to make it better.
    See me at http://www.BushGod.com

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    1. It’s hard to start a new career. Good luck to you. I followed your link and read what was there. It’s a good story. You have some grammar mistakes, so you’ll want someone good at copy editing to look it over for you. Also, you’re writing it in present tense. One of my friends writes in present tense and sold her YA novel, but most editors are critical of it now. But the story sure holds a person’s interest. Good luck with your writing!

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  2. As much as I like reading books in a series, it can get dry. My favorite for regency is Mary Balogh. Her characters are more rounded with issues that are recognizble even though from two hundred years ago. To get out of the rut of same old-same old, some writers chose to do only a few books on a theme so it doesn’t get repetitive. I try to keep in mind that the character’s problems have to be big, painful and stressfull. Hey, I think this just gave me an idea. Bye.

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  3. I know I shouldn’t be jealous but I am! I have 2 romance novel drafts, one of which HM@B wanted (with edits), but at the same time Ants got kidney cancer, the first of many diseases, and of course we had baby Ming. Btw I love otters!

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    1. Life can knock writing right out of your life at stressful times. I know. It happened to me, too. I came so close to selling a mystery, but life interfered. By the time I got back to it, editors and styles had changed. But you still have all those skills, all those talents. They’re waiting for you to pick them up. And anyone who loves otters has to be a remarkable person!

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  4. I find your comments on what “kills” a book series, because there are so many things that kill series, and sometimes they’re even contradictory. An author following a set formula can do it. But sometimes I find authors deviate too far from their formula and mix things up too much, and then it feels like I’m reading a totally different series (not what you want!). Like all things, I guess moderation is key. It sounds like you’ve found a happy medium here 🙂

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    1. I hope I’ve found a happy medium, but I’m too new at romances to know for sure. I love reading series and following the same characters until it feels like too pat of a formula, but I agree with you. Writers can mess with the formula too much and ruin things, too.

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