I dedicate a portion of my day to professional development. This is when I seek out writer-to-writer articles, blogs, etc. This is a throwback to my days as a research assistant. I want to learn my craft and I know I have a lot to learn. When I go to bed, I want to have learned something new or in at least one way improved during the day.
Sometimes, I find tidbits of information and make me raise an eyebrow. I've been a long-standing proponent of: Tradition isn't necessarily the best way to do something. It is, merely, the way something has always been done.
I've also always bought into the idea of (please allow me to quote one of my old history professors) "You can be a PhD and a SOB at the same time." Thus experience does not equate to someone being correct.
In the wee hours of this morning I worked on my professional development instead of typing the synopsis for Full Circle. What? You're not accusing me of procrastinating, are you?
"While working on my craft," indignation dripped from her voice, "I discovered a few articles that made me raise an eyebrow."
Here's my disclaimer. These writers might be correct. I might be wrong. Far be it for me to question the words of seasoned, popular and experienced writers. I'm still going to question their words, but I know I shouldn't. (End disclaimer)
This article states:
One of the many virtues of the romance genre is the certainty of a satisfying ending. All problems and difficulties will be resolved by the last page of the book; decency, determination, courage, and love will prevail. The romance novel allows us to feel vicariously in control of a positive outcome. In today's world, the guarantee of a happy ending is no small thing.
This article states:
But with it, we get the happy ending that is essential to a romance, paranormal or not. And even though providing that happy ending is often tricky for the author, it's our responsibility to find a way. If we don't, we're disappointing our readers.
That's it. I'm screwed.
No one told me that romance novels must have happy endings. The only thing that I promise my readers is a good story. A reader once told me, "I like your stories, because you surprise me. You might kill a character, break up the couple or allow the hero to fail. I don't know what to expect with you."
I didn't know that in the world of romance writing all stories had to have a happy ending. What if a happy ending doesn’t fit the story? What is a happy ending anyway? Could someone define that for me?
If a happy ending means every piece of conflict is solved in favor for the hero and the couple stays together to ride off into the sunset. Then, I need to hang up my keyboard now. Sometimes my heroes fail. Sometimes my couples don't stay together or fail to get together. I have one story where I don't think the reader is going to want them to stay together. No, no, I'm not glorifying domestic violence or anything, but it's not a healthy relationship. Or is it?
In Tainted Past, the relationship is normal, healthy, and supportive. The kind of thing we all want and warms our hearts. The triad of men is cute, funny and they do honestly and openly care for each other. Isn't that just so freaking sweet it rots your teeth? Well, I'm writing this so we know there must be more.
The problem is that it's built upon a lie and the person lying doesn't know he's lying. Is the "guaranteed" happy ending the triad staying together even with it being twisted or is the happy ending the deceiver finding out his true nature and leaving everyone heartbroken? If he finds out what happened to him, it's ass-whooping time not hugs and kisses time.
Also, why do we have to promise happy endings? Why does everything have to work out in the end? Why can't the hero fail?
Who fell down on the job and let our hands get tied like this? I've not been writing that long, I know it's not my fault.
Needless to say, at this point, I was getting pretty nervous about my writing career. There's nothing wrong with happy endings per se, but the concept of guaranteeing one is terribly limiting. Could it be that these writers don't write my most recent genre of romance?
With renewed hope that I wasn't screwed, I looked for and found an article about vampires.
This article state:
The main thing to remember in writing about a vampire hero is that he must be sympathetic and romantic. Dark and tortured by what he is, separated from the rest of humanity by a secret he cannot share, he still yearns for love. He craves that one woman who can see past the monster to the man inside.
My vampires in Full Circle break that mold. Yes, they're sympathetic, romantic ( Shush, Tami! They're romantic in their own way.) and sexy. Some are "dark and tortured" and some aren't. The rest of that…well…I'm screwed.
At this point my stubbornness kicked in and I came to a conclusion. I'm going to write my stories the way they want to be written. I'm not going to hammer in a sex scene if it doesn't fit. I'm not going to force a happy ending if it doesn't serve the story. I'm going to use double negatives if I think it makes my point better. (snicker)
I'm not alone. Nearly all the writers I've met break these molds in some way shape or form.
Come, my convention rejecting friends, let us be screwed together.
Today's "Word of the Post" comes from The Phrontistery again.
agraphia -- inability to write
Minutes become hours. The cursor blinked at her teasing her with hidden promises and taunted her by constantly showing her void of productivity.
No words found their way onto the screen. Thoughts slipped through her mental fingers the moment she noticed them. She feared that she'd become
Sorry, writer's block. That's all I have. Agraphia strikes again.