As the tagline says, this site is about writing romance, as well as reading and reviewing it. However, I don’t often mention the writing. Looking back, I see it’s been about a year and a half since I’ve posted anything about my writing. So here’s an update, and a promise.
I started drafting a romance several years ago, under the working title Romance 1. During a Nanowrimo, I wrote more than 20,000 words, but the story wandered off in a pointless direction, and since then I’ve reworked the outline to improve the characters and the plot. Meanwhile, to explore other ideas, I’ve written several more outlines or drafts, under the working titles Romance 2 through Romance 5. One of these was another Nanowrimo effort, and two were Three Day Novel entries.
My dictionary of proverbs tells me “Well begun is half done” (and that Horace said that), and “Half a loaf is better than none” (from 1546), but one wishes to finish – and “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride” (from 1628). It’s not as if I haven’t been writing, but I have not spent much time working on the romances, apart from drafting them. Romance 5 is the most complete, however it’s been submitted for the Three Day Novel contest, and waiting for the response is my rationalization for not working on it. Romance 1 is the second most complete, and the one in which I’ve invested the most time.
Last summer I submitted Romance 1 to a Harlequin competition, So You Think You Can Write – Ooooh…Canada! blitz. The benefit of submitting to the competition, as opposed to through ordinary channels, was that it encouraged me to submit by a deadline, and some feedback was promised. Submitting it also gave me a (weak) rationalization for not working on it. The feedback, received about a month ago, was encouraging, though they “decided not to pursue this project.” Among the suggestions was that my characters need to have a greater emotional conflict.
My understanding is that when Harlequin says no, it’s final. They apparently maintain a database of submissions, and a re-submission gets a prompt rejection. I mulled over whether to abandon this story, and focus on one of the others, or revise this one for eventual submission somewhere else. On re-reading my synopsis after several months, I decided I like the story, setting, and characters too much to let it go. I’ve decided to revise it, and earlier today spent an hour working on the outline, to raise the stakes for my characters. Before, they were both single and open to meeting someone. Now one’s engaged, and the other is completely opposed to a relationship. Previously, she was short of cash – now she’s about the lose the farm to a crooked financing company.
After an hour today, I need to keep at it. This is the first week of the new year, and I’m resolving to spend one hour each week working on this story. That’s not much time, but it’s more than I have done in the past year, and I like to keep my resolutions easy and achievable. I considered doing word count instead of time, but with much of the work being editing and revising, time is probably a better measure of progress. I’ll be “slow, but sure” (1562), and, since I am making this public promise, I’ll also let you know how it’s going.