Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Flashing Cursor

I have this idea in my head, but I’m having trouble getting things down on paper. So I spent the last two hours staring at a flashing cursor and writing things in my notebook.  I have character names, ages, and professions.  I’m having trouble with the location, but I think I’m staying local in this one—it will cut down on my research.

But I am considering a big change.  My unsold manuscripts, the one I’m shopping now and the one that almost made it, were contemporary single titles.   One is 110,000 words and one is 95,000 words.   The stories are complex, multi-layered, have a good group of characters and are getting me nowhere.  So I’m wondering if I have to bite the bullet and write for the category market.  My word count would drop some, my stories would be more focused and I might actually have a chance to sell. 

The problem is I don’t know if I can do it.  I’ve made it a point to start reading more 'traditional' romances.  Sorry lit snobs, no bodice rippers.  Instead of my usual fare of Luanne Rice, Kristin Hannah and Susan Wiggs, I’ve been devouring Kristan Higgins (love her books), Jennifer Crusie, and Susan Mallery. They write well, their characters are vivid and the stories are fun and well-crafted. The books tend to be a little shorter, have fewer sub-plots and fewer characters.  They write straight romance and they are funny.  Really funny.  And I don’t know if I can be funny.  Damn.

You want an abusive ex-husband?  Done.    An orphaned kid? I can do that.  A stalker?  I’m your girl.    But I don’t know if I can write humor. 

The flashing cursor awaits.  I have the idea, and a general sense of how I should proceed.  I’ve even mapped out a simple plot skeleton, which I never do, to keep me on track.  I’ve eliminated extraneous tragedies, and I’ve basically decided that the female main character has only one enemy in her quest to find true love—herself. 

Kind of like me in my quest to be published.   Damn.

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