What was I thinking? I've spent months working and reworking an outline for a romantic adventure serial, and then weeks more writing the first draft. (I've almost finished part 1.) Now I'm neck deep in fashion, jewelry, romance, and understanding the desires of women (that's a losing battle right there!), and telling all of this from a female perspective. I've learned a valuable lesson: Writing romance is hard!
Certainly I've written romance and sex scenes before, but from the male perspective. Now I need to get inside a woman's head. I thought I knew what women find romantic. I thought I knew what women want from their heroes. I thought I knew how to make female readers tingle all over as they breathlessly turn the pages of my tale of love lost and love gained, and hot trysts in the night beneath the stars...
What was I thinking?
I have gained a gargantuan respect for romance authors. It's not at all as easy as they make it look. Hour after hour I sit at the keyboard, out of my depth, spinning my tale of a desert princess who is in love with a man she cannot marry. I pause after very paragraph and run over the rules in my head. Who knew romance has such strict rules but it does. The hero and heroine must think about each other constantly. Everything they do must be with the other in mind. I must tease the reader with an upcoming night of passion and then tear my lovebirds apart. Oh the pain of the separation. But they must come back together. They must have a happy ending but the reader has to sincerely worry that they won't. I must torment my couple, putting every obstacle in their way, yet let them sneak hurried kisses every now and then, until, finally, nothing can stop their eternal love.
Or something like that.
Truth is, I'm winging this one in a way I have never winged a book before. I know I am breaking a few of the rules of romance, and I think it's ok. The story will make up for it. The reader will forgive me as long as I deliver on my promises. I have never been so tortured at my keyboard, never felt so terrified of writing. Why did I think I could write a romance? From a female perspective? What made me think that, as a man, I could write sensuously?
What was I thinking?
Truth is though, even as I agonize over every page, I am thrilled by the challenge. This is the hardest writing I have ever done, the deepest I have delved into that abyss known as a woman's emotions. If I can pull this off, I will be so much stronger as a writer, so much stronger at character development. But do I really know what I'm doing or am I making a big fool of myself? I have to put enormous trust in the women of my writing group, and my critique partners and beta readers. I am certain they will laugh and tell me what a woman would really think, what she would really do, how she would really feel. I will listen, and nod, and learn, and rewrite. I might even understand women better after this experience, and I'm sure my wife will appreciate that.
I think I can pull this off. My confidence is shaky but it's there. Look for my 3-part serial in 2015. Then you can read for yourself about my desert princess, Majara, and her adventures on the way to true love and self-determination in a world dominated by men. Then you can judge for yourself whether I did pull this off.
A male fantasy writer penning a romantic adventure?
What was I thinking?
I think every genre can be a challenge to write if you are somewhat unfamiliar. And, if you want to do it right.ReplyDelete
Sounds like fantasy to me. What a great learning experience.ReplyDelete
Good luck, Graeme! I know all the agony over each page will be worth it in the end.ReplyDelete
Haha! Sorry, Graeme, but this made me laugh. Sounds like you're working it out, though. Good luck :)ReplyDelete
I'm trying, Gwen, I'm trying. The joke could still be on me. This could turn out to be a facepalm of a romance ;)ReplyDelete
You are going into dark corners if you are trying to understand women...I didn't think men could do that:) This is a challenge and congrats to you for attempting it.ReplyDelete
You may never be able to find your comfort zone again. And that's a good thing.ReplyDelete
Hat's off to you, and best of luck
Well, h#ll yes! Why not?! I agree, writing romance is very challenging! And it doesn't have to follow the old school trope either. You could always do the alternate voice thing. I'm doing that with the historical paranormal I'm writing now. One chapter from Fiera's voice, the next from Peter's... and so on. I had to chuckle when you mentioned you were knee deep in women's jewelry. I think you do just fine with the push pull of two tortured would-be lovers. You worked it well in Necromancer! I can't wait to read this next project! Good luck with it, and yes, it is fortunate that there are women in your writers' group. :)ReplyDelete
Courage like that, not to mention the work involved deserves to succeed. Fingers and toes crossed for you (and your star-crossed lovers).ReplyDelete
wow, you folks are so supportive. Thanks for your votes of confidence! :)ReplyDelete
You're a brave man and this will craft you into an even better writer. Romance is difficult, and that's sometimes why I give way to UF instead of PNR. You can do this! And I know UR will happily answer any questions with a round of bears and chocolate. :)ReplyDelete
Sounds tough, but it also sounds like you're up to the challenge.ReplyDelete
Great post. I didn't realize there are SO many ins and outs of getting romance right, but I'm sure you can do it. Your crit partners/betas will tell you when something doesn't ring true, I'm sure. And keep in mind--not every woman is the same. Wait--that just made it harder. :)ReplyDelete