Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What's it all about?

I've been writing and deleting a lot of words on my current ms. Sometimes writing scenes 2 and 3 times. Deleting 1,000s of words and rewriting. This hasn't happened to me to this extent before and I finally decided to step back and think about the problem.

It dawned on me that I hadn't really decided what my book was about. I needed to decide on the central theme of the story and each character's emotional journey. What lesson did each of my characters need to learn? Since I'm writing short contemporary romance, those lessons and the theme needed to unfold in the interaction between my characters. I think this revelation is going to help me stay focused on what the story's about.

This is such a problem in this particular book because when I started out, I set the story up as a much bigger book - with individual issues and growth that resolved themselves through interaction with the important people in their lives and not each other. That's a mistake I won't make again.

In thinking through this process, and I've mentioned this before, I wondered if I shouldn't be writing Superromance or even single title contemporary. Give my characters a bigger canvas to explore their issues? I've spent the last two years entirely focused on short contemporary and I've learned a tremendous amount. With two editor requests to see my next project, I didn't want to switch gears just when I was actually seeing some positive feedback and feeling like I might actually know what I'm doing.

I had a conversation with one of my Success Teammates, who works full time and has an enormous amount of ideas in different genres. And she wants to do them all and believes she can - all she needs is to carve out more time. And I know she will because she's that kind of person - she gets things done. I'm also reading a book about "Thinking Big" and suddenly it occurred to me that I could do both.  Yes, I could write short contemporary and longer books. There's no reason I had to make a choice. That made me feel excited in a way I haven't been for a few months. Why limit myself at this point?

I know what you're thinking: Anne you write very slowly. How's that going to work for you, you ask.

Well, one of the things I've learned is if one thing doesn't work for you, try something else. Come Sept  I may change one of my cardinal rules of working on only one project at a time and start working on two. I have an idea for a contemporary series. Just a little gleam of an idea but it's exciting.

I plan to give it a three month trial and see if at those times when I'm struggling to figure out what to write on my current project, I switch to something else. Maybe early morning hours for new words, first draft writing? And the evenings for revisions, rewriting, synopsis, plotting, etc? Might work. But if it doesn't I'll try something else at the end of the trial period

So, do you want to write in more than one genre? One project at a time or more than one? Would you LIKE to do it differently if you had more time?

And do you start with a "Theme" as a framework for your book?


Cat Schield said...

Anne, writing for Superromance is big book in scope but not so much in size. The length is 60-65k. Not the 75-85k they used to be. It might be a good exercise for you to switch to something completely different for a book.

I did that when I switched from Desire to Special Edition for a story. I loved writing about the family relationships and it showed me how much fun it would be to eventually write a single title with subplots.

Good luck with trying something new. Can't wait to hear how it works out.

Anne MacFarlane said...

Cat, I think part of the problem is that I'm just itching to do something different.

I just read Kristan Higgins newest and loved it.

Janet said...

I say "Go For It!" You've mentioned before on your blog about how this story seems 'bigger' than you first envisioned. It seems to be begging you to add the layers, the complications, the secondary characters.

And you have "Success Teammates"? That sounds so cool! And the book "Thinking Big" sounds like a great read (author?).

Keep us up to date on how the trial goes - looking forward to your progress and process, Anne :)

Anne MacFarlane said...

Janet, I belong to a Success Team that meets every two weeks. We help each other reach our goals. brainstorm challenges, celebrate success.

And "The Magic of Thinking Big" is by David Schwartz.

Kelly Boyce said...

I like the 3 month trial. And you're right, why limit yourself? There are all kinds of stories to tell and if they interest you and you want to try something new - I say go for it. And the next time you see your Success Teammate, can you please inform her she is a completely deranged and that getting up at 5:30 am is sheer lunacy! ;)