Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Of Soul Mates and Nausea

I’m struggling.

See, I’ve decided to write for a line of romances that takes a lower word count (most romances require 70,000 – 100,000 words, this one only requires 55,000). As homework, I promptly headed to my library and checked out about 25 books in the two similar lines I’m aiming for to get a better feel for the kind of story and writing that the editors want.

Can it be possible that the editors want sappy romances with little plot or conflict? That’s the impression I get from the two books I’ve read so far, and one of them had such potential in the plotline. That potential was utterly lost in the writing. The story is unbelievable and improbable, and the writing (if I do say so myself… uh, I guess there’s really no other way to say it, is there?) is … well, really, really awful. It’s so full of clichés and overused metaphors I can hardly stand it.

The hero, from the moment he meets the heroine, knows somehow that she’s “Meant For Him” – i.e. soul mates. The heroine feels exactly the same. And they harp on that fact over, and over, and over…. ad nauseum.

The conflict between them falling madly in love and living HEA? What could it be that’s strong enough to keep even soul mates apart? Why, he’s ten years older than her, of course. Serious stuff. I mean, what a scandal if they should be married, huh?

So, now what? Good grief, I can’t write crud like that … and I know – she’s published (this author actually has several books published in this line) and I’m not, so clearly I have no business criticizing her.

Then the question for me needs to be this: Am I willing to write for the market instead of writing what’s in my heart if what’s in my heart will probably never be published?


That’s almost as tough to answer as that old chicken and the egg question.

And, no, I’m not going to include this book in my reading log. If I ever get it up and running.

But that’s another story.

Hey! I know… I can write about a heroine who is trying to learn HTML and the hero is disgusted by (albeit terribly attracted to) a woman who can’t grasp basic computer languages. He’s knows that they’re meant for each other, but in all his imaginings, his soul mate speaks HTML fluently. It’s a deal breaker. She will, of course, break through this barrier by applying herself diligently to her classes because, she knows in her heart that they are soul mates.

I’m going to get busy on that one right now. I think it shows promise.


Al McCartan said...

Oh Blogger! I know how you feel. When I worked for the Sydney Morning Herald one sweet lady from our classifieds Departm,ent left a bunch of M&B books in the canteen. I grabbed a couple, as did a colleague and after reading them, I discovered very little plot. Same storyline in the two books and: The phrase "Sardonic Grin" appeared no less than ten times. After that, my colleague, Heather and I went through every book we could get to count cliches and how many times phrases such as Sardonic Grin, appeared. right proper little crits we became.
Despite the hype that goes into the writers' guidelines, I'm still not convinced.
Having said that, the company is still on my wish list. A "buck or two" in the bank is a "buck or..."
no matter from what legal source it comes.

Charity said...


I wouldn’t worry so much about trying to fit one line. But then the “write what you want and put a commercial spin on it later” hasn’t really worked for me, so who am I to say? LOL

Single title is more open and will give you more options. And I’m not sure I’d go with what the Big H has on the shelf right now. They seem to be changing their focus for all the lines on a yearly basis (if not more often). They’re the ones chasing the market. They don’t know what they want these days.

singingkitty said...

Write what you want and shop it around... even if you have to write the crap first so you get a pyacheck and can say you've been published. Some editor somewhere will see the uniqueness of your stuff and want to publish it.
Most readers (me included) thrive on individuality.
I've never really liked romances for the exact reason you said: no plot. I would totally read one that actually had a plot.
Like I said, write what you want.

Jim Edris said...

Ten YEARS! Horrors! I guess that puts me completely out of the running! My wife is 54, and I'm 74, so I suppose we must commit dual murder/suicide... or something sorta similar. On top of that, she's a Filipina, and I'm an American, so we have cultural tensions between us, not to mention the normal character and personality problems of any relationship. Wanna do a biography? It should be a real whoopee-do!

Anonymous said...

incidentally, there is a banal answer to the old chicken and egg question. The egg came first, but it was not a chicken's egg. Good look on the birth of your romance.

darcy said...

well, hello there, maria. welcome to a life of thinking up witty junk to say ;^)