Confessions of a How-To-Write-Romance Junkie
Pssst. I’ve got a confession. I’ve had a life-long affair with pens and paper, books and…well, men.
So the day I combined them was like emerging from a fog. I remember the moment when the desire to become a writer first hit me. No, it wasn’t during a snowstorm, but a rather dull, quiet time in my life. A time when the voices in my head grew louder and refused to be ignored.
Imagine my relief when I discovered I wasn’t psychotic at all. Nor were the men I dreamed about a subconscious sign of an unhappy marriage.
Sharing the characters that lived in my imagination however, required a lot more nerve. These were fictionalized people that I’d conceived in my head and painstakingly attempted to paint on paper.
Not soon after submitting, the rejections started to fill my mailbox and with them came a growing uncertainty. Maybe I couldn’t write after all, at least not well enough to interest outsiders. So I turned to books, but not for pleasure. This time I was searching for power, for kernels of knowledge, guidance I could use to spin that golden yarn.
Anyone who’s ever searched this topic knows there are literally hundreds of books available on how to write a romance. Intense classes are taught everyday on ways to create three dimensional story people. ‘Dig deeper’ became a common phrase. Find the bones. Give your characters flaws. Develop personalities and conflicts that tug at a reader’s heart strings.
I explored hundreds of blog universities and websites all dedicated to the aspiring writer. I discovered- not mastered, mind you- how to write a strong opening and the importance of ending every chapter with a hook. I became pretty good at identifying POV and whose voice I should be listening to in any given scene. Notes covered my computer screen, ‘less is more’ and ‘use strong verbs’ ‘patrol for repeat offenders’ and ‘cliché alert!’
The first three to five years into this journey I devoured one ‘How-To’ book after another. Every time I’d hear someone recommend the easiest way to plot your novel, or how to revise and edit the current one, I’d get fidgety. I just knew my manuscript would sell if only I learned what such & such was demonstrating.
But all this research took time. Not to mention the number it did to my self esteem realizing there was still so much I didn’t know. Ten years and I was no closer to learning how to write than when I started. Rarely did I send manuscripts out anymore. I critically judged every line. The word count wasn’t exact, the characters were too edgy. Or worse, the requesting editor was no longer there.
The sands of time were piling up and sadly, my fire to write for publication had started to fade. I knew a manuscript needed to be fresh…original, capable of blowing some unsuspecting editor away with a WOW! A novel needed to grab the throat of a reader in the first paragraph, better - in the first sentence.
All of this left me feeling very small. My manuscript was far from perfect, not to mention in line with many established authors all competing for a contract. I felt defeated before even starting. In essence, I had become an old horse simply standing on the mark.
So what exactly was this article about and how does it relate to the title? Well, only that I’ve come to believe sometimes we can use research or the pretense of fine tuning our craft as an excuse not to fail. And it occurred to me…has anyone ever learned to swim without getting in the water? You simply have to get wet. Why didn’t I realize that before now?
Bio: Tereasa Bellew writes romance under the pen name Teresa Blue.
I've always had my nose buried in a book and remember the day I was awarded my first library card. I went faithfully on Saturdays checking out my limit. And for awhile reading was enough, until the day it wasn't. For whatever reason, I picked up a pen and just wrote. And I've been at it ever since.
Man of her Dreams, available at most ebook sites.Blurb:
Leslie Stone stumbles upon her fiancé cheating with the maid of honor just days before her wedding. Determined to put distance between them, she heads to the family’s cabin in Sleeping Falls, Michigan. Unfortunately, her car barely hit the city limits before breaking down. And with no money for repairs, the scrolling marquee above the biker bar advertising a mechanical bull riding contest seems like a perfect solution.
Jay Westfield learned at an early age to avoid women who chase the limelight. After all, his mother had been the star attraction in Harvey’s Traveling show. The minute Leslie clears the door in cut-offs and skimpy tank top, things heat up. She’s on a mission and he wants no part of it. The last thing he expects is the attraction he feels seeing her on the back of Old Iron.
Add in a squeezy rag doll named Mr. Jingles, the colorful antics of newfound friend, and the renowned tarot-card reader Madame Luella. Leslie’s about to discover in order to find the man of her dreams she must be willing to believe in magic.
Sensuality Level: Sensual
For a sneak peek into the funny, lovable characters check out my blog
Thanks Teresa for stopping by,