Saturday, 25 October 2014

NaNo


November 1-30 is National Novel Writing Month, often referred to as NaNo. Writers around the world sign up, inspired by the challenge and friendly sense of competition, to write 50,000 words within thirty days. Two years ago I played along on a writer’s forum, in what we called Mini-NaNo, with a goal of 25, 000 words. I managed approximately 30,000. I was working full time, so I was pleased with that accomplishment. 

This year I officially signed up, fully intending to run the gauntlet, but have since bailed. I thought it would be just the kick-start I need for the sequel to Raven’s Path. My husband thought otherwise. Apparently, I become a little obsessive under deadlines and he’d rather that I be willing to leave the computer once in a while and enter the real world. And, spend some time with him. After almost 30 years together, how can I not be charmed by a man who wants me to be present in his life?

So, no official Nano for me. I wish all fellow writers a great month of November and the best of luck if you are participating in Nano. I will strive to write as much as I can in the coming month and will post my count here. But, if the number does not go up exponentially, know that I am sipping a glass of wine, watching winter burgeon beyond the window, snuggled warm and safe in the arms of the most endearing man I've ever known.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

In Praise of Praise

http://tessadare.com/
I took a course last week at RWA (Romance Writers of America).  The course, facilitated by Tessa Dare, was Writing Historical Romance for the Modern Reader.  Tessa led us through an exploration on the influence of pop culture, etiquette, customs, gender roles and sex, historical vs modern language and incorporating historical events, people and places. 

All of it was fabulous stuff, providing fodder for thought.  Tessa’s insight and experience sparked much conversation and other members contributed thought-provoking responses that added to the level of learning.  The section on language and dialogue had me hunting through Raven’s Path with an eye to ensuring I had not overwhelmed the reader with colloquial dialogue.  I was very satisfied and stimulated by my new learnings. 

Then, it got better.

The final assignment was to write a summary that “reflects your niche in the historical romance subgenre.”  I did and this was the response.

Rose, thank you so much for being part of the course! Just from this message alone, I know I love your voice. So many beautiful turns of phrase: "history the soft shimmer of backdrop." - lovely! I wish you the best of luck with both of your projects.

Tessa

The course was great but the praise—wow—now that’s motivating, especially coming from an author I respect and enjoy.  As a beginning writer, I sit in my own little world, isolated, full of hope and self-doubt.  When grey thoughts crowd in, I will pull out this simple paragraph and remind myself that someone has seen a glimmer of talent.  And that glimmer can begin to twinkle, burn brighter and glow blazingly somewhere in the universe that is my future.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Genre. Such a little word, such a big decision.


What genre classification is Raven’s Path? 

Set in the Ohio Valley in 1750, it revolves around real events and real people.  Ana and Brandan, however, are entirely fictional.  Their relationship is a primary focus and there is a satisfying ending.  It’s just that it’s not tied up neatly in a ribbon.  Threads are left drifting in the wind.  It is intended as the first in a trilogy.

Diana Gabaldon, who resists the classification of romance for her Outlander series despite the relationship development between Jamie and Claire, points out that “Real romances don’t have sequels, because once the couple are firmly together, the story’s over.”  Of course Diana’s books, I think, actually defy classification and should be given a genre all their own.

Surfing for further clarification merely added to the confusion.  One site said that if you take the romance out, the story should stand alone if it’s truly historical fiction.  Well, dang, the leftovers in Raven’s Path would be a sad, dry little tale.  It is the characters who breathe life into the historical events.  Others say it is historical fiction, quite simply, if you have used real events and people.  But, can’t you have those in a wonderful little happily-ever-after romance too?

Over at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University I found this breakdown:

Romance
The love story is the primary focus of the book, and there is a happily ever after. Getting two people together is what the book is all about.

Historical Romance
Romance novels set in any time period prior to 1945, and taking place in any location.

Historical
Takes place during a real period of history and deals with real events and details, even though the story is fictional.

Clear as mud, right?  I do believe I have written a Historical, Historical Romance. J

All I know for sure is that last week’s separation anxiety has been resolved.  I do not wish to say goodbye to Ana and Brandan at this time.  And, so, my journey with them will continue.  Book two, here I come.

Oh, and if anyone has any sage advice on what to label Raven’s Path, it would be much appreciated. J

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Letting Go


I marathoned this week.  I know, not a real verb, but it works better than using it as a noun because I didn’t run a marathon, I sat one, in front of my computer.  I had planned on winding up revision on Raven’s Path by mid-October.  I finished on the 2nd.  Euphoria swept through the house.  I shouted, my husband cheered and the dogs romped with joy at the noise—and at the fact that I was finally getting up off the couch.

Thanks to beta readers from Germany to California, Raven’s Path is stronger and leaner.  I culled over 4,000 words, leaving it now at 118,000 words.  I have tightened my characters, analyzed dialogue, added beats, taken out beats, looked for too much tell and replaced with show, searched my “ly’s” and my “felts”.   Check, check and more check.  I’m done.

So, what’s next?  Seek representation?  Look at publishing houses directly?  Self-publish?  It’s not that I haven’t done my research on all of the above, I just haven’t quite made a decision.  I tossed and turned all night.  In the morning, I decided to put it back on the proverbial shelf.  I’ll go through it one more time, in a month or so.  Will I find anything earth-shattering to work on?  I doubt it. 
Maybe I’m afraid of the next step.  After all, this one is my first born.  Maybe, I’m just not ready to let it go.