The Year of Writing Romances

I began writing my first romance novel last year for NaNoWriMo. By the end of November 2014 I had written the requisite 50,000 words-- one novella of 40,000 words and the beginning of a second in the same series. By the spring I had drafted all five novellas in that series.Over the summer I started a new series of three novellas and finished drafting those in October. In other words, I wrote eight novellas over the course of twelve months. Not because I had to (I had no external deadlines) but just because it was that much fun. Along the way I've learned a few things as a newbie novelist:

  • I'm capable of drafting one book in one month (okay, a short one, but still...). Like discovering I can read two books a day, I sometimes amaze myself.
  • Writers need readers. Duh. I knew that. I teach that every semester to my own students. But I didn't realize how very much I missed in my own writing until I hired a freelance editor to help me with one of my novellas. Wondrously, painfully eye-opening.
  • A corollary to the above points: Drafting is fun. Revising is hard. Getting feedback on your work is downright miserable, but necessary.
  • I got better over time and practice and continued reading without even realizing it. I love it when that happens!
  • Writers have tics. I explain too much and describe too little. I skimp on transitions, which leaves my characters in danger of what one editor called "mood swings."
  • I have vocabulary tics too (just ask my editors!): especially sighing, chuckling, smiling...(yes, these are romances). And I use too many ellipses and exclamations points, BTW.
  • I even have plot tics! Heroines wake up the morning after and flee the scene (the heroes never do that. That would be douchey). Dates seem to always go like this: hero shows up, couple is tempted to stay home and make out, they drag themselves out, then get turned on during meal and hasten home to do it. Why I write these scenes over and over is a mystery to me.

To be continued...!