This is rather long and I apologize for that in advance. But it's a community for talking about writing, isn't it? So there.
After 15 years of writing, I'd say I'm definitely a writer, even if all I've published is one minor article in a local newspaper, a few reviews in a super-indie publication and tons of fanfic online. I've never really taken my writing seriously enough to try to make money off it, but I'm going for it at last this year for National Novel Writing Month.
I know - NaNoWriMo is usually for bad writing, but it's a good excuse to really work hard every day and get a first draft done from start to finish. I have a lot of research and planning to do first, even though all I'm going to attempt is a romance novel. I figured it's got to have a better chance of being published, considering the huge percentage of the book market romance novels dominate, and from what I've seen Harlequin doesn't exactly mind "beginner" errors.
I got a hold of some romance novels for researching the genre, though before I got them I had already got excited and begun to plot - a plot that I now see I can' t possibly use... Believe it or not, I had never before read a bona fide category romance novel. My first one was Linda Lee Guhrke, and I found it so-and-so, but having since read two others I now see that in its genre it was quite brilliant. There are very clear rules and there seems to be a formula for plot points that I intend to calculate by pagecount next. I want to do the genre justice. It's actually interesting to write such specific genre fiction, as the challenge is to make it original and still make it fit.
I face several challenges in writing this:
- I will want to improve on the clichés, and that's a difficult balance to keep - I don't want to sound like I'm mocking the clichés the reader is likely to love.
- I really hate the way the heroes are written. I don't find them attractive at all. I don't know how I'll be able to write one of these silly characters and still like him.
- The man will have to be stronger and more capable than the woman, and that needs to be one of his appeals. This offends my feminist sensibilities somewhat.
- I will have a lot of doing trying to stop myself from subverting the clichés (my first urge is to write this about a middle-aged overweight couple who are so mundane it hurts, and show the beauty of their love while they munch on industrial cookies on their tacky 80s pattern sofa).
Pretty much the only thing I'm sure I can ace are the sex scenes, and even there I think I'll need to hold myself back a little. There's also the problem that I'm not at all used to writing novel-length fiction; I tend to peter out long before 10,000 words. The longest I've written so far was 45,000 words.
All this makes me think I should just write the novel I want to write; it's got more of a chance to be actually finished, but pretty much zero chance of being sold, despite probably being a better book.
What do you think I should attempt? Mundane romance (this is the idea that fires me up) or something I can actually sell?